What Not to say in an interview

Posted On April 22,2019

WHAT NOT TO SAY in AN INTERVIEW – A simple guide to the words one should avoid in an interview.


Attending an interview can be a nerve wracking experience for many. Most people anticipate the questions and visualize the interview and even prepare in advance the responses they would give in this scenario. Most interviewees carefully choose the right words to impress the interviewers. Amongst all this, do you consider the words that you should avoid in an interview?

The following are some words and phrases best avoided in any interview:


  1. Hate: Some interview questions might ask you to specify an aspect of work or personality of a person that you find hard to work with. Most of us use this word ‘hate’ to express our degree of tolerance for such things. For example, ‘I hate working without a plan.’  But be warned that when you use this word in an interview, you are categorized as a ‘high risk candidate’. A better phrase to use here is ‘I find it difficult…’

  2. Basically: Most of us have a habit of starting off a conversation with this word. For example ‘Basically I’m good at three different methodologies’. However, this is a word so overused that it lacks to add any meaning to your answer and moreover it diminishes the impact of your answer on the interviewer.

  3. Sure/Kinda: In an interview, when asked of your level of confidence in handling a new responsibility, we tend to respond with a ‘sure’ or ‘It is kinda my strength.’ Though ‘sure’ indicates an ‘almost yes’, it does not convey your confidence. Kinda is a similar word which indicates vagueness and immaturity in communication. Instead, use a clear ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ as an answer.

  4. Things/stuff: When listing your strengths, we sometimes end a statement with, ‘I’m good at handling all the things related to…’. Remember these two words are ambiguous and lack in any specific meaning. This means your statement will appear unclear to the interviewer. In its place, be more exact like, ‘I’m confident in handling customer queries and guiding customers to the right solutions.’

  5. Fired: One aspect of work life is the possibility of being fired from a job. Contrary to belief, being fired does not put one into the ‘no’ pile but, your ability to discuss it diplomatically can. So, in such a situation, instead of using the word ‘fired’, say you were ‘let go’ and that experience has helped you become a better employee.

  6. No: Of course this word need not be avoided completely. Instead, be cautious of the part of the interview where you should not use it. At the end of every interview, one of the common questions asked is ‘do you have any questions for us?’ and in a hurry to end your interview, you say ‘No’. This might suggest that you were not serious about that particular interview. So, have at least 5 questions ready that you would like to know about that organization. If the interviewer answered all your questions during the interview, you could always ask, "What key skills and attributes are most needed to succeed in this job?"

Some other words that might dampen the impression you are trying to make on the interview panel include ‘Honestly’ which might indicate that any information you gave prior to the use of that word might be untrue; ‘addicted’ which has a negative word ‘dependant’ associated to its meaning; ‘likeable’ which is a word that could be used to describe your personality in an informal setting but in an interview, difficult to prove why; ‘intelligent and humble’ to describe yourself as these are attributes evident to others but when used by yourself, seems like bragging.

Have you ever been unsuccessful at job interview because of something you said? What is the one speaking style that’ll always work in your favour? Send us your comments, queries, and feedback at contact@skillprodigy.com.


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