Words and Phrases to Avoid Saying in a Job Interview

By Brian Pho | June 6, 2023 | Job Seekers

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A successful job interview relies on both your ability to convey your qualifications and experiences and the language you use to do so. Certain words and phrases can weaken your message, create misunderstandings, or leave a negative impression on the interviewer. In this article, we will discuss 11 words and phrases to avoid saying in a job interview and suggest alternative ways to communicate your thoughts more effectively.

Overused Buzzwords

Employers are often overwhelmed with applicants using buzzwords such as “synergy,” “team player,” and “innovative”. Instead of leaning on these overused phrases, focus on providing concrete examples of your achievements and how you have demonstrated the desired traits in your professional experiences.

Exaggerated Abilities

It may be tempting to embellish your skills or use phrases like “expert” or “master” to describe your abilities. However, interviewers can easily detect exaggeration. Be honest about your skills and focus on discussing your accomplishments, willingness to learn, and potential to grow within the organization.

Negative Language

Avoid using negative language or expressions that may cast doubt on your confidence and abilities. Phrases like “I’m not sure,” “I think,” or “I guess” can undermine your message. Instead, assertively communicate your thoughts and ideas using positive language and being direct.

Slang and Informal Expressions

Using slang or informal expressions can be detrimental to your professional image during an interview. Instead, opt for standard English and proper grammar to demonstrate your professionalism and effectively communicate your skills and experiences.

Discussing Personal Issues

It’s important to maintain professional boundaries during an interview. Refrain from mentioning personal matters, such as relationship problems, financial issues, or health concerns. Keep the conversation focused on your professional qualifications, experiences, and how you can contribute to the organization.

Criticizing Previous Employers

Speaking negatively about your previous employers can reflect poorly on your professionalism and character. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of past experiences, discuss what you learned from those situations and how you can apply those lessons to future opportunities.

Revealing Confidential Information

Sharing confidential or sensitive information from your previous employers is a major breach of trust and an instant red flag for potential employers. Maintain your integrity and respect business privacy by refraining from discussing any proprietary information during interviews.

Overemphasizing Salary and Benefits

Although compensation and benefits are important factors in job satisfaction, focusing too much on these aspects during an interview can make you appear more concerned with personal gain than contributing to the organization’s success. Wait for the interviewer to initiate discussions about salary and benefits, and be prepared to discuss your expectations professionally.

Making Promises You Can’t Keep

Resist the temptation to make unrealistic promises or guarantees to secure the position. Instead, communicate your eagerness to learn, adapt, and contribute to the organization’s goals, while acknowledging the potential challenges and growth opportunities that come with the new role.

Empty Flattery

Complimenting the company or the interviewer without providing genuine or specific reasons can appear insincere. Research the organization beforehand and be prepared to discuss your genuine interest and appreciation for their vision, mission, or achievements.


The language you use during a job interview plays a crucial role in shaping the interviewer’s impression of you. By avoiding these phrases in a job interview and focusing on clear, concise, and professional communication, you can effectively convey your qualifications, experiences, and potential value to the organization. Honesty, clarity, and professionalism are key elements to making a lasting positive impression during your interview process.

So if you’re looking for a Canadian Manufacturer recruiter, get in touch with us!

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