Most job interview advice focuses on interview questions and answers, as well as behaviors and dress code. Yet there is a tricky aspect of job interviews that is difficult to avoid but useful to keep in mind. That is the use of the English language.
Part of how you answer job interview questions – and how you relate to your interviewer – has to do with how you use the English language. Word choice is important, and there are some words that, while they may not kill your interview, may cause you to appear either less professional or less intelligent.
There are a lot of words that we use every day that in many ways are completely harmless. You say these words without a second thought, and most of the time your interviewer will not notice. Yet many of these casual words are just that – casual. They do not help you represent the intelligent, professional employee that you hope to be. There are some casual words that you should obviously avoid:
These words are used as slang, and slang should be avoided. No surprise there. However, there are words that are not remotely slang that should also be avoided, if possible:
- “Best Friend”
These words may seem harmless, and ultimately may not affect your interview, but they are still words that do not have that professional sound that you want to maintain at interviews. There are hundreds of words just like these that are completely harmless but still risk causing you to lose that professionalism that you worked so hard to achieve. Try to replace them with more professional sounding words:
- “Close personal acquaintance.”
- “One of my family members” or “Mother.”
- “Classes” or “University.”
Young high school students say they were “going to school.” University graduates say they “Attended classes.”
Choosing Your Words
It may seem minor, and ultimately may not affect your interview, but you should still try to ensure that all of the words you use maintain the same professional appearance you have worked to maintain. You never know when one little word can cause you to appear less professional.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Choose your words carefully.
- Refrain from words that sound too casual/young.