Beware of 5 most common words used in interviews, warns Bagg Group


Sometimes words come into play that are so unique they jolt us to attention. Take ‘Twitter’ for example. When it launched in 2008, when someone mentioned Twitter, others listened.

But soon enough, even the most unusual words lose their impact if they’re overused. By 2009, ‘Twitter” had become the number one most popular new word, according to the Global Language Monitor which analyzes the usage of English.

Today, say that you tweet, and no one will blink an eye.

Similarly, there’s a handful of trendy words that job candidates use so often that they’ve lost all power to impress.   The communications specialists at PR News carried out a massive Facebook survey and found that most job-hunters used one or all of the  following list of words frequently in job interviews.

In fact, after reviewing the results of their survey, its authors recommended job-hunters simply delete these five overused words from their vocabulary:

  • Team-player
  • People person
  • Multi-tasker
  • Perfectionist
  • Hard-working

But not so fast!  At The Bagg Group, we don’t suggest you need to block these terms entirely –after all, they speak to qualities that are important.  But if and when you use them, our experts in interviewing urge you to immediately give examples of how you put these terms into action.

Answer the questions below to help you substantiate these five terms in your covering letters, resumes and in all face-to-face interviews.

Team-player:  A team-player is someone who communicates, collaborates, and contributes for team success.  How have you pulled together with colleagues to help a team meet its objectives?

People person:  This isn’t a very meaningful term given that few of us would admit, “You know, I really don’t like people.”  So instead, show how you have delivered a positive experience to customers and colleagues. How much emphasis do you put on listening, for example?  When did that attention pay off?  What kind of situations do you approach from the point-of-view of colleagues, clients and/or employers?

Multi-tasker: The chances are that your interviewer has—or knows –a teen who texts while on facebook and youtube, while doing homework and supposedly cleaning their room.  The fact is, multitasking is no longer a skill that impresses anyone. Instead, it’s a lifestyle for our times.  So what multiple day-to-day responsibilities have you handled? How did you manage to do so successfully?

Perfectionist:  This is a word you may want actually lose.  It’s old thinking to claim as your weakness that you’re a “perfectionist” – we’ve all heard that too often for anyone to really buy it.  Instead, ask yourself, in what area would you like to genuinely work to improve? Answer honestly, your interviewer will detect and appreciate your authenticity.

Hard-working:  Again, as with the term people-person, would you ever really suggest the opposite, as in “I’m so lazy at work.” What does hard-work look like for you? When and how have you gone the extra mile to achieve results?

If you make a point to show instead of just say what makes you the right candidate, “the optic” will be that that you’re no “phony”!  (Notice those two words? Apparently, we’re all saying them and often – according to the Global Language Monitor ‘optic’ and ‘phony’ are in battle for “Top Word of 2013”.)

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