When it comes to putting your best foot forward sometimes it may feel you’ve put your foot in your mouth instead. When we try to make a good impression on a job interview we inadvertently get nervous enough to stammer, chatter on or pick up old habits and phrases well are best left between texts among friends. It’s hard not to wander off in conversation when you are in a job interview and feel like the questions have put you off guard or that you are taking some test where only a select few know the right answer.
There are things you say and things you don’t say when you are meeting someone for the first time and literally your job is on the line. Job interviews are meant to be conversations about you and about the other person in a way that gets you both feeling comfortable with one another and are able to share important details about your accomplishments, work style and social skills. Yes it is a test but not one where you need to feel “too comfortable” and let you guard down.
Next time you are in a job interview catch yourself if you find you are using one or more of these phrases in any part of the conversation because sometimes being too relaxed might not be a good thing:
1. Will do: Ending your sentences in a phrase that denotes you will take action is fine in email but does not work when you are trying to act professionally and responsibly in a job interview conversation.
2. For sure. Ok I’m not sure when this over used term made it back into the daily vernacular but last time I think I heard this used was when Bevis & Butthead were popular. There is just no appropriate place to end a sentence with this phrase in any conversation job interview or otherwise.
3. Copy that: Unless you are an air traffic controller or are in law enforcement, sounding like you are speaking to someone through a walkie-talkie is not a way to make the person feel engaged or understood during a conversation about you.
4. Trending: The world of social media is taking over “for sure” but not every conversation or subject or individual is “trending” regardless of how “in” this makes you sound. Ideas trend, people do not.
5. Selfie: Yes they made it into the common language but attempting to take one of your self during a job interview would be the height of inappropriateness and believe me, it has happened!
6. Viral: Being enthusiastic about your accomplishments may make you want to “go viral” but it’s best to save that conversation for a medical professional and not your prospective employer.
7. Game Changer: Your job interview may very well be a game changer, but describing your career choices in such a way is not wise if you want to take the “d” out of drama.
8. Chillaxin: You may feel like you want to kick back and sip your Perrier with ease during your job interview but describing your work experience in such a way serves you better if you were applying for a job as a life guard.
9. Man up: Not sure where you’d use this phrase in a job interview unless you were describing your less than amicable relationship with your former boss, but showing how macho you are during an interview is probably not the best place to flex your resume.
10. ‘Aha” Moment: Describing your choice to look for another job as if you found The Holy Grail is not likely to draw you any points. Keep your true “aha moments” and self-realization exercises in private-no one really wants to know how you process your feelings.
Giving yourself permission to feel comfortable when on a job interview is one thing, acting and speaking as if you made a new “BFF” with the recruiter is another. Keep the casual comments for your friends and brush off a few new phrases that will have you turning down job offers left and right.
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