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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

The Art of Appearances

Posted On April 10,2019

How often have you felt that you weren’t being taken seriously in an interview, or that the interviewer wasn’t giving due importance to your exceptional skills and knowledge?
It may have made you wonder if you were a misfit for the role except that you knew you matched the criteria to a T. And despite all your skills, knowledge, and experience, you were unsuccessful at a job interview.
You may have wondered for days, replaying the interview in your mind, ticking off each thing you did well as a positive and still drew a blank as to what you did wrong.
Well, all you need to do is look in the mirror. The mirror doesn’t lie, right? And so it will tell you with brutal honesty, that the only thing you forgot to give due attention to is your appearance.
That’s right! Your personal grooming is an integral part of your persona and what you showcase to the world.
A sloppily dressed candidate will be the one to get rejected, even if they are the perfect match to the given job description and possess the required qualifications. Poor grooming is one of the most common causes candidates get rejected despite being a perfect fit for the company otherwise.
Being well dressed does not necessarily indicate that you have to be glamorously turned out. Good grooming, hygiene and presentability are all that it requires to be well dressed.
Here are a few tips to make you look good – 

• Outfit – Make sure your clothes are well fitting and comfortable. Clothes that are too loose or too tight may look fashionable but also unprofessional. Smart casuals and formals are an ideal choice for interviews. 

• Footwear – Wear appropriate shoes. That means no floaters or slippers. For women, open-toed sandals are okay, as long as they give a formal look. 

• Personal Grooming – This includes everything from your hands and nails to your hair and beard. Keep them clean and neat. For those with long hair, tying them up neatly is a good idea. Avoid eating foods which give off an odour, or if you can’t, carry a mouth freshner with you. 

• Take care of each aspect of your physical appearance and your prospective employer will know you’ve put in an effort to look your best. 

A good first impression is a lasting impression. Remember, to do well in an interview, it is important to look good and let your personality speak for itself. The rest your skills and expertise will do, and in no time, you’ll have the appointment letter in your hand.
Grooming is only one part of your personality when appearing for an interview. Here at Skill Prodigy, we’ll keep sharing more tips and tricks to communicate better and improve your interview skills.

Have you ever been unsuccessful at job interview because of poor grooming? What is the one grooming hack that’s always stood in good stead? Send us your comments, queries, and feedback at

Navigating the Maze of Tenses: Understanding Usage and Meaning

Posted On March 31,2019

A common concern most of us encounter while communicating in an alien language is the accurate usage of tenses. Often, the simple tenses may be easy to figure out. It is the advanced tense forms that induce the heart-stopping stress attacks. However, once you’ve figured out what tense serves what purpose, it is then easy to pick the right tense.

An easy trick to ace tenses is to ask yourself the question – ‘When did the action occur?’

The answer should be such that it directs you to the tense in use.

Let’s look at a few simple examples –
I eat.
I ate.
I will eat.
In the above sentences, the examples are easy enough for you to instantly identify the Simple Tense.
Now, let’s look at the other extreme, where the complexity in sentence construction is enough to make one get lost in the maze of tenses. 

• She has won two medals.
  In this case, the subject is in possession of two medals but, hopefully, may go on to win more. The outcome is not yet over (for we don’t know whether she indeed will win or won’t) but the action is not continuing in the present moment. Hence, the tense is present perfect (note the usage of has) simple.
  If, on the other hand, the sentence was : She has been winning medals this year, then the tense changes to present perfect continuous (also called progressive).

• She had won two medals.
  The action is clearly over (or maybe she started losing then and hence, no more medals come her way). Hence, you instantly know that this is in past tense. The usage of had denotes the perfect aspect. So, the tense in use here is, past perfect simple.
  Had the sentence been: She had been winning medals last year, the tense would be past perfect progressive.
The major difference between the two tenses – perfect simple and perfect continuous, whether present or past – is whether the sentence refers to the outcome or the duration.

If the outcome is what is referred to, then the tense is Perfect Simple.
If the duration of the action is what is spoken out, then the tense is Perfect Continuous. It is important to note here that the time or duration may not necessarily be stated, but implied.

Examples –
• She had been eating when I called. (Past Perfect Continuous, because the action continued for some time (and was interrupted by another action), even though duration is not known)
• She has been calling you! (we don’t know for how long, although it is implied that the action of calling was repetitive and continued for some time, Hence, Present Perfect Continuous.)

Tenses are the biggest tool of effective communication. If used correctly, they put across the message very efficiently. Once you understand them they may even become your best friends!

Here at Skill Prodigy, we’ll keep sharing more tips and tricks to communicate better and improve your language skills.

What are the biggest challenges you face while understanding and using Tenses? Do you have any tricks you use to understand tenses better? Send us your comments, queries, and feedback at

How Easy is it to Learn a New Language?

Posted On March 12,2019

Say 1, 2, 3!

Now, say pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

That’s right, learning a new language is as easy or difficult as you want it to be!

Learning something new is exciting. Better vocabulary, accurate pronunciation, and improved grammar all can help you express effectively and open up a world of shiny new possibilities. And, that is worth every struggle you may have to overcome.

Language itself is always evolving as any good English trainer worth their commas will say to you. This constant evolution (not to mention the heavy dependence on other languages like French and German) can make the process challenging for even those familiar with the language.

Here in India, the unfamiliarity of the foreign language is still not our biggest obstacle. A lot of us already communicate in English, even if with limitations. The intention is to go to the next level of communication.

With a gigantic percentage of the population being Hindi speakers, it is easy to want to approach English with the same perspective. Just think in Hindi what you want to say, and translate into English. Right? Wrong!

If you truly do start translating into English whatever you first wanted to say in Hindi, you’ll truly end up having a Nonsensical Night.

The trick is to stop thinking in Hindi. This is, of course, easier said than done. The only way to do this is to use English even while thinking. Train your mind to conjure up English words even as you organise your thoughts.

Simply said, think in English!

Surround yourself with the new language. There’s a lot you can do without boring yourself to sleep.

Watch movies, TV shows, and songs in English. Read Books. And, also blogs (like this one), articles, newspapers and magazines. Listen to English Podcasts and Shows. (And, if you’re one of those who don’t like watching movies or books, I would have said God save you but now there’s Skill Prodigy to the rescue.)

Communicate in English every chance you get. Speak to family and friends only in English, even if it is in bits and pieces, at first.

Any new project or initiative takes time and you must accord yourself the time and patience needed to improve your proficiency.

The best part is you already know the language – at least, technically. It’s the fluency that you probably struggle with. In some cases, you may even know what to say but the lack of confidence keeps you from actually saying it.

Here, at Skill Prodigy, we plan to put together lots of resources, articles, tools, and mentor sessions to help you through this exciting journey of exploration and learning. Happy Learning!

How easy or difficult was reading this blog for you? Do you have any other tried-and-tested methods to improve your language skills? Share them with us.


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