We all talk to friends and relatives a certain way. However, did you know the simplest of words can help you gain confidence by not saying them at all? During a job interview, you need to practice confidence building. It all starts by avoiding these words below.
1. “Actually” and “Basically”
These words seem innocent enough. They are said quite often to set up a sentence. However, if you want to gain confidence, you have to avoid them. Why? They are “verbal pauses” or “word fillers”. More examples of verbal pauses include, “Um...uh...like...ya’ know”.
Your conscious mind is thinking, “I am asserting my intelligence”. The listener is thinking, “They are not sure what to say.” They think you are stumbling. Even though we all use verbal pauses in daily conversation, in a job interview it hints at a lack of confidence or preparation.
When you are preparing for a job interview, you can begin confidence building by practicing your answers to common interview questions on others. Try and completely eliminate verbal pauses.
Saying things like, “Thanks, man.” or “Man! I had a great time at my last job!” negatively affect you in two ways.
First, this is a business interview and it is best to drop the informal speak. You are there to talk business, not hanging out with friends at a bar. You may know how to speak confidently around friends, but man...this is a job interview. Right?
Second, the phrase itself subconsciously insults the listener by referring to a person’s gender in general terms. The person you are speaking with has a name. It is not “man”. You do not sound like a friendly, confident person.
Nothing says, “I do not care and have given up”, more than saying, "Whatever.” The phrase grew in usage during the 1990’s. It was often used by people to indicate they were not emotionally affected by something. It was a typical Gen X reaction.
Yes, it is great to be pragmatic and have a cool confident head on your shoulders. Unfortunately, the phrase “Whatever” comes across as a negative and dismissive response.
You may be trying to say, “Hey, it is what it is and I am ok with it.” The hiring manager is hearing, “This person does not care or suppresses emotion by dismissing things others find important.” If you read this and say, “Whatever. I knew that.”, imagine how the author would feel if he were sitting in front of you as you said it.
4. “No problem”
The phrase sounds like a person is trying to be accommodating and friendly. That is the intention and you also want to sound upbeat and personal with someone. But is that what the listener is thinking?
The problem is that the phrase, “No problem”, somewhere along the line in regular business usage, started to be used to mask resentment. For example, you ask your employee to stay late and work. The employee politely turns around to say, “No problem.” Although the employee says it is ok, the phrase sounds like the employee resents the request to work late.
The employee is trying to not express disgust. But it is not coming across that way. “No problem” simply sounds like you have a problem you have not expressed, yet.
One of the most well-known beliefs about this word is that it indicates a negative. In fact, many companies known for their world-class customer service instruct their employees:
- “Never say the word “But”. The word creates a negative interaction. Remove it from your vocabulary when dealing with customers.
In an interview, how would others react to you if you said, "I was responsible for company growth of more than 200%, but I could have done 300%.” You just shared an amazing fact about yourself, and then shot yourself down with a “but”. Even though you said, “I can improve”, you made your success sound like a negative experience.
All of the words above can easily be eliminated from your vocabulary with some proper interview preparation. You will also discover how to boost self-confidence through choices of words that make you sound more determined and positive!