When you finally land an interview for an exciting role or for a position you think might be out of your league, the main thing you want to do is get through it without blowing it. But surprisingly, so many qualified candidates chip away at their credibility in interviews because of how they present their skills or talk about their experience.
Here are six phrases you should avoid using in your interviews if you don’t want to sound less qualified:
“I know I’m not the most qualified person, but...”
Be wary of saying this, especially if you’re changing careers or applying for a role that’s out of your comfort zone. You may think saying this shows that you’re honest, humble, and honoured to be interviewing for the role. But, saying this diminishes your value. If you tell the interviewer you don’t believe you’re qualified for the role, then they’re going to believe you. After all, you know yourself better than they do.
“I don’t have much experience with this, but…”
While this one is similar to the previous phrase, you may be tempted to use this if the interviewer inquires about a specific skill. For instance, one of my clients applied for a role that requested experience leading teams. Although she matched everything else and felt confident she’d be successful in the role, she doubted her leadership skills and thought that her years of experience managing a team of three wasn’t enough.
But as I shared with her, words stick, so even if you think you don’t have enough experience in one area, your language still matters. Instead of disqualifying yourself, go straight into the experience and skills you do have. Either show how your experience has prepared you to be an asset or show how your background has equipped you for this new challenge.
You may not even notice that you are using the words “like” and “um” in your responses, but using filler words while talking about yourself can give the interviewer the impression that you’re not 100 per cent confident about what you’re sharing. It can also chip away at your professionalism and make an interviewer question if you’d speak to clients or other stakeholders the same way if hired.
Of course, when you are nervous, and your armpits are sweating, it can be hard to make sure those filler words aren’t slipping out. But, one helpful tip is to speak a bit more slowly and pause in between your statements. This will help you catch yourself rather than simply filling the air out of nervousness.
“What does your company do?”
If you don’t already know what the company does before you walk into an interview, then you probably don’t know how to meet their specific needs or solve their problems. This not only makes you come across as unqualified, but it’s also a red flag to the interviewer. Companies want to hire people who are excited about the role and the organisation, and not knowing even basic facts about the company shows a lack of genuine interest in the organisation.
On top of that, as an interviewee, not doing your research beforehand hinders you from standing out. So, take some time to not only analyse the job description but also read about the company.