Often, you’ll be able to tell at the end of an interview whether you did a good job or not. If you accidentally managed to offend the interviewer or showed that you’re not qualified for the role, you won’t be surprised if you don’t receive a callback.
However, when you leave an interview feeling really confident and like you did a fantastic job, it can be confusing to hear that you didn’t get the role. What went wrong?
Sometimes small phrases or words that you use during an interview can be enough to put the employer off. Below are some of the most irritating that could be costing you job offers.
1. “I really want this job.”
Employers want to see that you are enthusiastic about the role and their company, but outright saying “I really want this job” sounds more desperate than anything. Desperation is never a good look and it would suggest that you are struggling to get a job anywhere probably because you don’t have the right skills or experience.
Many of us are guilty of saying “um” while we try to think of an answer. It’s a natural silence filler, however, it makes is look like we are nervous and grasping for an answer.
Instead of looking like you don’t have a clue what to say, you can give yourself some time to think by saying something along the lines of, “That’s a good question, let me take a moment to think”. This response shows that you are calm and collected.
3. “Like… / I think… / you know…”
These are other common examples of filler words that you’ll want to avoid using during interviews. Like “um”, these words make you sound unconfident and even a little dim. Not qualities that employers will be looking for.
To help you cut down on using these filler words, practice some interview answers beforehand and get a friend or family member to ask you some questions. It may help to record yourself so you can hear how often you are resorting to filler words.
Passive phrases such as “I think” and “you know…” should also be replaced with more confident and clear responses if you want to impress your interviewers and show them that you know your stuff.
4. “I’m a perfectionist.”
“What are your weaknesses?” is a common interview question that stumps many candidates. Stating that you are a perfectionist is the most cliché answer you can give.
When employers ask this question, what they are really trying to see is how self-aware you are. Can you recognise your weaknesses and take steps to improve them? Be honest with them and explain how you are working on your weaknesses. Saying you’re a perfectionist will only make you look pompous and inauthentic.
5. Hard-working, fast-learner, self-motivated, etc.
Que some more clichés. These may sound like good descriptive words that employers want to hear but they don’t have much substance.
Words like these don’t set you apart from other candidates or show why you’re a good fit for the company. Instead of reeling these off, you should prepare good examples and anecdotes that demonstrate you have these qualities and other skills required for the role.
6. “What benefits are there?”
Of course, you will want to know about the perks and benefits that go with the job, however, there is a time and a place to find out. Asking this question too soon is a big turn off for employers (if you are working with a recruiter, you can certainly ask them).
Asking about benefits too early on can suggest that you are more interested in them than the role and the company. Instead, you should ask questions that get at how you can help the company achieve their goals.
7. “As I already said…”
You may innocently be referring back to a previous example or reiterating a skill, but this phrase can rub employers up the wrong way. It implies that they weren’t listening before and suggests that you don’t have enough experience if you have to refer back to information that has already been covered.
To avoid a situation like this one, be sure to come up with plenty of examples or your achievements and how you have demonstrated your skills prior to your interview. This should also help you to answer questions more confidently.
8. Fired, hate, awful, etc.
It’s important to avoid negative language like this during your interview as no one wants to hire a negative person. Even if you do have to explain a difficult situation that has happened, do your best to be discreet and show that you are a forgiving and generous team player.
9. “I didn’t get on with my last manager”
This is an example of negativity that you should definitely steer clear of. Employers are looking for people who will fit in well with their team and, even if you weren’t at fault, saying you didn’t get along with your previous boss may suggest that you are hard to work with.
Instead, you should focus on what you are looking for in your next role, i.e. a company that offers better professional development, challenging projects and has a forward-thinking team. Be grateful for the lessons you have learnt in the past, and look to the future!
10. “I don’t really have any questions about the company.”
If you don’t ask any questions at the end of your interview it may suggest to the interviewer that you aren’t really interested in the opportunity and that you haven’t prepared well. They want to see how interested you are in the company and what you know about them.
There are plenty of fantastic questions you can ask, so prepare some in advance and show the interviewer that you are enthusiastic about the role.
11. “When can I start?”
This may seem like a cheeky, confident line to throw in at the end of your interview, but it’s probably one that is better to avoid. It may not be received well and could make you look arrogant and presumptuous. Stick to being polite and professional with a, “Thank you for your time today and I look forward to hearing from you soon.”