The words that people use say a lot about them. For example, you can probably tell where someone is from if they regularly use the word “y’all” or refer to carbonated drinks as “pop”.

While regional lingo is fun and harmless, the language you use in a job interview can make or break your odds of getting the job. Consider the following common words you should avoid saying in any job interview.

1) Perfectionist

When asked about professional weaknesses in a job interview, many people try to be clever by saying they are a perfectionist. This is a backhanded way of saying they work very hard to get things right, which is not exactly a weakness, is it.

Instead of falling into this trap, try to come up with one genuine weakness that you are working hard to address.

2) Like

Thanks to the Beat Generation in the 50s and Valley Girls culture in the 80s, many of us use the word ‘like’ as more of a punctuation mark in casual speech than an actual word. The problem with using ‘like’ in an interview is that it signals casualness, which is last thing an interviewer wants to hear.

3) Can’t

Avoiding the word ‘can’t’ can be tricky because we say it 10 times a day without thinking. It’s an efficient way to communicate the things you are unable or unwilling to do. It cuts to the chase.

But, in a job interview, saying you can’t do something expresses negativity, which you should try to avoid.

4) Fired

Most of us have been fired from a job at one point or another, and there’s nothing wrong with the occasional pink slip in your work history. But rather than negatively talking about being terminated, simply say the job ended and you moved on to another opportunity.

5) You Should

Technically two words, the phrase ‘you should’ it is often used by interviewers looking to share their thoughts on a company’s operations. Giving unsolicited advice is a temptation you should resist at all costs.

6) Enjoy

While saying that you ‘enjoy’ certain parts of your career isn’t going to get you kicked out of an interview, there are much better words than ‘enjoy’ you could be using to describe the things that you excel at or are passionate about.

7) Flexibility

The chance to have a strong work life balance through flexible work arrangements may be one very appealing part of a job opportunity. However, talking to your interviewer about your desire for flexibility can signal a lack of passion about doing the actual work.

8) Comfortable

People sometimes use the word ‘comfortable’ when talking about a past job. While that may be true in your case, that word signals a lack of ambition and should be avoided in an interview.

9) Y’all (or You Guys or Youse or Youse Guys)

Using words like ‘y’all’ might be a fun way to show you are down to earth. However, they should be able to tell that if you are being your genuine self. Avoid this category of casual language at all costs.

10) Don’t

Once again, there are many harmless and legitimate reasons to use a word like ‘don’t’ in an interview. However, ‘don’t’ expresses negativity and the word should be avoided.

We Can Help You Say the Right Things in Your Next Interview

At ZDA, we regularly coach job seekers on ways to put their best foot forward in an interview. Please contact us today for job search assistance.