Job interviews can feel like an out of body experience where you find yourself saying phrases you would never usually dream of uttering out loud.
Everything can be going swimmingly until you inexplicably spill out that you are “intensely passionate about Excel”, leaving you cringing all the way home.
And if it’s not getting overly excited about spreadsheets, many of us are guilty of overusing buzzwords such as ‘dedicated’, ‘motivated’ and ‘team player’ that hiring companies have heard over and over from job hopefuls.
Two managers with plenty of experience on the grilling side of the interview table have now told Seek the five words they don’t want to hear from candidates.
Jason Walker, director at Hays, and Ian Scott, manager at Randstad Technologies, shared the phrases you should be avoiding.
Aside from sending in your CV, an interview is usually the company’s first chance to meet you and learn more about your skills – so don’t assume anything is ‘obvious’.
Jason says the process is designed to gain a better understanding of your experience and how well you would fit in, so avoid using the word ‘obviously’ as it may imply the company should already know the answer.
Companies don’t want to hear what your team did, they want to know the part you played and the success you were responsible for, so avoid phrases like “this year in our department we achieved…”
Being asked for your weaknesses is always a tricky question to navigate, but Jason says you shouldn’t use the question to claim to be a workaholic.
Instead, choose skills you actually have an interest in developing to help you progress, such as public speaking.
Ian says interviewers see “right through” generic phrases that lack substance, and lists people parroting “I love a challenge” as one of the biggest offenders.
He said: “Rarely do people follow this up with a good explanation of what challenges them or even examples of challenges they have met, their reaction to the challenge at hand and the result of their response.”
Ian says there’s no problem with stating that you’re “motivated by change, but you need to ensure the message is true and consistent.
“In my experience, many people become active job-seekers because they have experienced change,” he said. “As human beings, many of us struggle with change, and prefer the comfort of normality, systems, routine.”
Some people are genuinely motivated by change and seek out new experiences, and some aren’t. Either way, it’s better to just be truthful.