10 phrases you should never use in a job interview

When you attend an interview, it’s important that you make a great impression right from the first handshake to the moment you leave the building. There are some things that just shouldn’t be said on the big day, including the phrases listed below. (I’ve been guilty of saying at least three of these in the past. Can you guess which?)

  1. My last boss/company was awful. While this may be true, you should always stick to positives during your interview and avoid anything that might make you sound disloyal or like a potential troublemaker.
  2. It’s on my CV. Your interviewer may have seen hundreds of CVs and won’t remember every detail on yours, even if it’s a strong one. Questions related to your skills are often as much about testing your communication skills as they are about your actual credentials, so make the most of the opportunity to talk about your suitability for the role.
  3. So, what do you do around here? As well as sounding overly informal, it’s your job to research the company before you go to the interview. You should already know how it operates, what its aims are and who its key staff members are.
  4. I know how to use PowerPoint/InDesign/WordPress… The key to giving a good interview is to tell the truth, accentuating your strengths and minimising any weaknesses. If you are asked directly if you are able to use a particular programme or piece of software (or any other type of equipment), don’t be tempted to lie. Instead, say that you pick up new skills easily and would be willing to learn. If you do lie and a test is sprung on you, your words will eternally haunt you!
  5. My greatest weakness is that I’m a perfectionist. Not only will your interviewer have heard this horrible cliché countless times, but it will sound false and pre-rehearsed. Click here for tips on answering the strengths and weaknesses question. Avoid other clichés such as ‘great communicator’,‘team player’, ‘keen eye for detail’ and ‘thinking outside the box’. Use anecdotes rather than clichés to demonstrate your abilities.
  6. I walk around with a clipboard to make it look like I’m busy. Some things are better left unsaid. Make a list of what you actually do during your daily grind so you have plenty to say.
  7. How soon do people get promoted? While it’s fine to show ambition, this could make you sound arrogant and entitled. It’s better to ask what sort of training opportunities are on offer and whether there is potential for career advancement.
  8. I’m really nervous. This will probably be apparent if your hands are shaking or fumbling over your words, but don’t draw attention to it as this could raise doubts over your self-confidence. If you’re not feeling confident, do your best to fake it!
  9. I don’t have much experience, but… If you advertise this, you are suggesting that you’re not a great fit for the role. Instead, use examples from outside the workplace that show you have transferable skills, knowledge and experience.
  10. I see myself living abroad/winning the lottery. If this is your answer to the question of where you see yourself in five years, you are doing it wrong! Do your best to show that you are committed to the company and serious about your career.

If you’re interested in applying for a new role, check out our current job vacancies.

Click here for more career-related tips

Joy Tibbs is a freelance writer and editor regularly who contributes to Premier. Find out more at joyofediting.co.uk and find her on Twitter @joyous25

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