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Ten Words to Avoid During a Job Interview

Can you really ruin a job interview by saying one wrong word? Possibly! Avoid these off-putting terms and wow your potential new boss along the way.

1. Sure - If the interviewer asks if you have done a certain task and your answer is,  "Sure!" their next question is, "and...?" Always give examples and elaborate during the interview, it highlights your experience and makes you more memorable. Most questions asked in an interview should not be answered with one word. Even a, "Can you start tomorrow" should elicit an "Absolutely, I would love to be a part of this team and I could start right now!" It shows more interest in the role and confidence in your own abilities.

2. Kinda - Not only is this not a word, it is already putting the interviewer in a skeptical place. If you have done something, say, “Yes,” and then use examples. Or if you haven't, detail how you have not yet had the opportunity to do that specific task but would love to learn and have had similar experiences that will be an asset to that company.

3. Any curse word - Even in the context of a story, swearing can make you come across as crass, unprofessional and unpolished. Leave out those words or risk leaving the wrong impression.

4. Um - It is hard to avoid filler words, but practice, practice, practice....and then be quiet. Practice interviewing with your friends, mentors and family. When you are in the interview and need a moment to think, just say so or be quiet and then respond. Saying “um” too much could make someone picture you twirling your hair, chomping bubblegum and asking, "Wait, what is this interview for again?"  Every question is an opportunity to highlight why you are the best candidate for the job.

5. Hate - Maybe you did not like a certain job or boss, but avoid using the word hate to describe them. If you are bitter or speaking negatively about a past experience or employer, your interviewer may be concerned about what you might say about them.

6. Age - or marital status or any controversial categories like religion or politics. Discussing off-limit topics can put the interviewer in a precarious position where they cannot comment on what you’ve said and need to redirect back to questions regarding this specific role and requirements.

7. Sorry - An interviewer never wants to hear, “Sorry I’m late,” “Sorry I forgot my resume,” or “Sorry I’m not in a suit.” So of course you could still say “sorry” if you bump into them, but beyond that, set yourself up for success. Come early, dress appropriately and be prepared.

8. Any - If you’re asked, “What kind of company do you want to work for?” Do not answer, “Any that will take me!” Avoid being too broad with your answers during a job interview. Instead, show you are genuinely interested in  this specific opportunity with  this specific company and explain why.

9. What? - You never want to ask, “What does your company do?” Do your homework and have that answer ready in case they ask you. Instead of “what” you can try, for example, “Tell me more about the day-to-day details of the role.” Also, listen attentively so you do not miss a question and have to ask, “What?”

10. No - Always try to be positive in an interview, so as much as you can, use positive words. And when the interviewer asks if you have any questions, the answer is always, “Yes.” You should be so excited and picturing yourself with that company that you cannot wait to ask questions and learn more about the role, the team, the future of the company and how you will fit in.

The moral of the story? Think from the interviewer’s perspective and what they will hear when you say certain words. It won’t matter what you intended if they heard something else. The interview is your chance to convince the employer they just found the best person for this opportunity.