Word Wisdom for Interviews

Word Wisdom for Interviews

Allen Plunkett, President & CEO of Phoenix Staff

My opinion, is that you might be better off kinda, I don’t know, avoiding qualifying words, like um, you know, filler words. They may, sort of, be making you sound unconfident. You know?

We can’t be completely confident in every statement we make, but you don’t want your interviewer knowing that. Saying things such as, “I’m kinda thinking I would enjoy working here,” or “I’m actually glad you brought me in for an interview,” can give the opposite impression of what you think you’re saying. What the interviewer is hearing is “I have no idea what I’m looking for in a job,” and “I didn’t think I even have a shot at getting my resume looked at by you!” This is not the impression you would like to make and it certainly isn’t going to get you the job. While you might think these types of statements make you seem more likable or humble, they can have the very adverse effect of undermining your credibility.

If you aren’t sure if you use qualifying words, have a friend help you practice, sort of a “mock interview” or even record yourself answering typical interview questions. Listen for words such as “just, actually, kinda, almost, usually, rarely, doubtful, etc” and then create alternatives to practice. If you find yourself saying, “I actually thrive under pressure” try “I thrive under pressure.” If you “tend to be an analytical thinker,” your point is better made by saying “I am an analytical thinker.”

As always, filler words such as “like, um, and uh” give the impression that you aren’t confident in yourself or your words. You use these when you cannot think of the right words or when you are simply trying to “fill the silence”. Choose the silence over the filler words and you will sound far more thoughtful, reflective and astute. Your best chance of breaking these habits comes with awareness and practice. Again, have a friend practice with you. This can sometimes be the best way to overcome the use of the crutch!

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