It’s no secret that landing your dream job, or really any job, can be a competitive and stressful experience. This is why so many job seekers practice and rehearse prior to job interviews to ensure they come out on top. But what happens when you come to an interview a little bit too rehearsed?
You may have won a hiring manager over with your resume, but coming off as a regular C3PO in the interview phase could mean missing out on a great opportunity. Here are eight lines to make sure you aren’t using in your next job interviews -- and what to say instead:
1.“I’m a quick learner.”
Be honest, when has this line been used to describe anything other than a skill or tool that you have yet to learn or master? Saying you’re a quick learner is essentially telling your interviewer you don’t have experience with something in the job description.
Compensate for your lack of direct knowledge by coming prepared with an example of how you’re already making strides to master this area. Say this instead: “My direct role has never involved community management. However, I’ve done an analysis of your company’s social media, as well as your competitors, and here’s what I’ve found...”
2. “I established a synergistic and agile marketing experience for customers.”
Cue eye rolls and sighs from your interviewers. Abstract buzzwords and jargon are alive and well in most industries. However, using concrete words in your interview will only leave your listeners remembering you as a robot spewing jargon.
As you prepare for your interview, make an effort to cut out all buzzwords and focus on better articulating your experiences. Say this instead: “I used responsive web design to make simplify customer experience with the app.”
3. “I think outside of the box.”
Just like buzzwords, using clichés to highlight your skills during your interview is also quite mechanical and drab.
Skip these overused phrases and use short stories to better hit the notes of your previous experiences. Say this instead: “In my previous role, I consistently developed new ways to engage customers to provide feedback on our services. One way I did this was...”
4. “I’m highly motivated.”
Your interviewers are probably thinking: “So what?” This is typically a filler phrase for those without a slew of strong examples to showcase various types of motivation in the workplace. Simply stating that you’re motivated is the exact opposite way to showcase your motivation.
Prepare your elevator pitch to showcase ways that you’re a highly motivated employee without using those exact words. Say this instead: “My previous company didn’t have an internal newsletter, so I set up a plan and created a monthly newsletter to keep my coworkers better informed.”
5. “Perfectionism is my greatest weakness.”
Yikes. This is a very overused way to land yourself at the bottom of the call-back pile after your first interview. Providing a fake weakness makes you sound rehearsed. It also gives zero insight to the hiring manager in regard to your potential shortcomings, as well as how you work to overcome them.
Use a genuine shortcoming to showcase your work style and personality. Say this instead: “Public speaking is a weakness of mine, but I recently joined a toastmasters group to improve my skills and gets more experience.”
6. “I have a lot of experience in...”
Landing an interview means you get to share important details and stories that back up your cover letter and resume. Stating that you have a strong understanding in something is essentially repeating your resume.
Don’t just say you’re experienced, share a detailed example to highlight your expertise. Say this instead: “Through marketing strategies and tactics, I increased clicks to our website landing pages by 200% in just one quarter.”
7. “No, I don't have any questions.”
There’s absolutely no way that you have done enough research to know everything about the company, position or culture of the job you’re interviewing for. When you don’t come prepared with any questions, you’re showing your interviewers a lack of interest, enthusiasm and curiosity.
Arrive with at least five questions to ask your potential employer. Say this instead: “What will I be required to accomplish in the first six months in this position?”
8. “I love your shoes!"
Complimenting your interviewer probably won’t create the lasting connection you’re seeking. Sure, brownie points are nice, but there’s a fine line between praise and flattery. Your statements could be misconstrued as fake or, even worse, flirtatious.
Create a more genuine connection by commenting on an award received by the interviewer or their thought leadership in a specific field. Say this instead: “I saw you speak at the marketing conference last year and your tips for internal communications were fantastic.”