It's normal to be nervous when you're interviewing for a new job, but don't let your jitters offend, confuse or otherwise turn off your potential employer. Even if you treat your interviewer respectfully and try to be yourself, slipping up and saying the wrong words can make her think you're rude or unprofessional. Knowing what to say before you start the interview will help you avoid negativity and boost your chances of being offered the job.
You may not think of yourself as a negative person if you don't say things like "I hated my last boss," or "My previous job was so boring." Negativity, though, can be expressed in more subtle ways. Saying words such as "impossible," "no," "didn't" or "can't," may make the interviewer think you'll have a negative attitude on the job. If you must express negativity to the interviewer, say something like " I've thought of a few more options we could use to meet your goals." Also avoid negative words such as "unimportant," "unhappy" or "blame."
Choose the Best Words
Using adverbs, such as "rapidly," "very" or "really" may make the interviewer think you're trying to embellish your experience or make yourself look like a good fit for the job when you're not. If you use adverbs, you might also come off as insecure. Instead, give specific details and facts about your experience and accomplishments. Don't say the word "literally" unless you've actually done the thing you're talking about. For example, "I literally cleaned up hundreds of messes caused by my coworkers," is probably not correct. Say "figuratively," instead. Another misused and incorrect word is "irregardless." That isn't a real word, and interviewers might think you're ignorant if you say it. Use "regardless" instead.
If You Were Fired
Even if you were fired from your previous job, try to avoid saying the word "fired." The word "fired" has a negative connotation and interviewers might think there's something wrong with you. Instead, say something such as "I was laid off" or, "My position was eliminated." Don't lie and say that you quit or chose to leave the job. If the employer calls your references, she'll find out that's not the case.
Your interviewer is sure to ask you about a problem or challenge you faced at a previous job. This doesn't mean she wants to hear about the problem specifically. More likely, she wants to to know how you corrected the issue. Don't criticize your boss or coworkers. Instead, think of a problem you had and then talk about how you solved it. When discussing challenges from a previous job, avoid saying the word "crisis." It's over-the-top and dramatic.
Don't Get Personal
You might think that complimenting your interviewer or trying to connect with her is a good thing. But most interviewers have seen all this before, and they know exactly what you're up to. To stay on the safe side, don't say anything about the interviewer's appearance. Avoid discussing medical problems, such as accidents or serious illnesses, with the interviewer. You're not obligated to tell her anything, unless you have a condition that would affect your ability to perform the duties of the job. If you do mention an illness, the interviewer may think you'll take too many sick days.
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images