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Mastering Your Interview Language: Words to Say and Avoid

Job interviews are not just about showcasing your skills and qualifications; they are also a test of your communication and interpersonal abilities. Your choice of words during an interview can greatly influence the impression you leave on the interviewer. To ensure that you present yourself in the best possible light, it’s essential to be mindful of the language you use. In this article, we will explore the words and phrases you should say and avoid during interviews to increase your chances of success.

Words to Say:

  1. “I” Statements: Using “I” statements demonstrates accountability and ownership. For example, say, “I achieved a 20% increase in sales,” instead of “Our team achieved a 20% increase in sales.” It highlights your individual contributions and makes your achievements stand out.
  2. “Adaptability”: In today’s dynamic work environments, adaptability is a highly sought-after trait. Emphasize your ability to adjust to new challenges and changes in the workplace. Employers value candidates who can thrive in evolving situations.
  3. “Results” and “Achievements”: Focus on your accomplishments and the impact you’ve had on previous employers or projects. Use these words to showcase your track record of success.
  4. “Teamwork” and “Collaboration”: Most roles require some level of collaboration. Mention instances where you’ve worked effectively in teams to achieve common goals. Highlight your ability to contribute positively to a group effort.
  5. “Problem-solving”: Discuss your skills in finding solutions and overcoming challenges. Employers seek candidates who can think critically, adapt to unexpected situations, and resolve issues efficiently.
  6. “Leadership”: If applicable, don’t shy away from highlighting your leadership experience. Explain how your leadership skills have positively influenced teams or projects and provide concrete examples of successful outcomes.
  7. “Detail-oriented”: Particularly important for roles that require meticulous attention to detail. Mention how your keen eye for detail has led to error-free work and ensured high-quality results.
  8. “Passion” and “Enthusiasm”: Convey your excitement for the role and the company. Use these words to express your genuine interest and commitment. Show that you’re not just looking for a job, but a meaningful opportunity to contribute.

Words to Avoid:

  1. “Weak” Words: Phrases like “I guess,” “I think,” or “I hope” can make you appear unsure or lacking confidence. Be assertive and confident in your responses. Instead of saying, “I guess I can handle this project,” say, “I am confident in my ability to successfully manage this project.”
  2. “I Don’t Know”: Instead of outright saying you don’t know, express your willingness to learn and find solutions. Say, “I’m not sure about that specific detail, but I would be eager to research and find the answer.” This demonstrates your problem-solving mindset.
  3. “Fault” or “Blame”: Avoid assigning blame or discussing past failures in a negative light. Focus on what you learned from challenging situations and how you improved as a result. Highlight your resilience and growth.
  4. “My Last Boss/Company Was Terrible”: Avoid speaking negatively about previous employers or colleagues. Keep the conversation positive and constructive. Instead of criticising, focus on the aspects you enjoyed and the lessons you learned.
  5. “No Experience” or “Inexperienced”: Even if you lack experience in a specific area, focus on transferable skills and your eagerness to learn. Emphasise your willingness to take on new challenges and grow in the role.
  6. “Filler Words”: Reduce the use of filler words like “um,” “uh,” or “like.” These can make you appear less confident and less articulate. Practice speaking clearly and confidently and pause when needed to gather your thoughts.
  7. “Just” or “Only”: Eliminate these words when downplaying your achievements. Instead of saying, “I just managed a small team,” say, “I successfully managed a team.” Be proud of your accomplishments and present them with confidence.


The words you choose in an interview can significantly impact the impression you make on potential employers. By using positive and assertive language that highlights your skills, achievements and enthusiasm, you can effectively convey your qualifications and suitability for the role. Equally, avoiding negative, or uncertain language will help you come across as confident and capable.

Remember, effective communication is a vital part of interview success, so choose your words wisely! Tailor your language to align with the specific job requirements and the organisation’s culture. Practice interview responses to ensure you convey your message with clarity and conviction. With the right words and a confident demeanour, you can create a lasting impression that sets you apart from other candidates.


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