The five words you should never use in a job interview – and the four-step method to follow that will guarantee you the job.
If you’ve got a job interview coming up, experts have pinpointed five key words it’s wise to steer clear of.
According to Jason Walker, director at Hays recruitment agency, using phrases like ‘obviously’ and ‘workaholic’ could harm your chances of landing your dream role.
Speaking to Seek, the expert shared the five words you should stop using now – and advised adopting the ‘STAR method’ – which stands for Situation, Task, Action and Results – to help you secure the job you want.
Meanwhile Ian Scott, manager at Randstad Technologies, a British-based recruitment agency, suggested a number of other ‘generic’ words to ditch from your vocabulary in interviews.
So, what does the STAR method stand for and how will it bag you the job?
The STAR method stands for Situation, Task, Action, Results, and experts claim this is a good basis for discussing your past experience.
A STAR answer is one where you answer succinctly but directly, by outlining the situation, identifying the task that you set out to achieve, describing your own personal actions, and recounting the results.
This sort of an answer always impresses an interviewer, and is best used after a question that starts with ‘describe a time when’ or ‘share an example of a situation where’.
And what are the words be should be avoiding?
According to Mr Walker, the first word to cut from your job interview jargon is ‘obviously’.
‘Interviews are usually the first time we meet a candidate, so you should not assume that anything is obvious,’ he told the publication.
‘We are trying to get an understanding of experience and how good a fit you would be for an organisation, so steer clear of implying we already know the answer.’
Instead, he suggested listing your achievements and accomplishments that you feel are relevant to the role you’re applying for.
While there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’, Mr Walker said you should refrain from using the word ‘we’ too much when you’re looking for a job.
‘The interviewer doesn’t want to hear, “we did XYZ in our department”,’ he explained.
What’s far more important is the exact role that you as an individual played in a previous company’s success and how you took ownership.
If you can’t help but find yourself saying ‘we’ a lot, try to make a conscious effort to think about your own personal role.
This is one of the most cliched words that gets wheeled out time and again in an interview setting – but not only is it generic, it’s often a lie.
If you think you’re going to be able to ‘woo’ your interviewer by saying you’re a ‘workaholic’, then you should think again, warned Mr Walker.
It’s also not a good word to use when you are asked about your weaknesses. Instead, the recruitment professional advises talking about a ‘nice to have skill’ that you could develop further, like public speaking.
The prospective employer will respect you all the more for thinking about your personal development.
According to Ian Scott, ‘challenge’ is not a word that should be in your job interview lexicon.
He told how phrases like ‘I love a challenge’ are very rarely followed up with a good explanation of what actually challenges that candidate, or ‘examples of challenges they have met.
It’s always better to be specific and use an example, as this will ensure that you come across as genuine.
5. Motivated by Change
Mr Scott highlighted that everyone who is seeking a new job is to some degree ‘motivated by change’.
If you do love change, he said, then it’s important to make sure your story is consistent throughout the interview!