The 5 Most Overused Phrases in an Interview

Job interviews. Almost everyone struggles with them as a necessary evil, from the people interviewing to the people being interviewed, and clichéd phrases can be found on both sides. The worst offenders are vague questions or statements that no one really knows how to answer or what they mean. To avoid interview clichés, be specific. And whatever you do, don’t repeat an answer or question you found on the Internet.

5 “I’m a Perfectionist/Workaholic.”

This is the standard response to the “What is your greatest weakness?” question. You know that website that told you to respond with a weakness that could be looked upon as a strength, not a defect? Everyone—including your interviewer—has seen that website. Instead, ask the interviewer to be more specific so you can answer the question in as honest a way as possible.

4 “I’m a Hard Worker.”

This is the standard answer to the, “Tell us about yourself,” question. You may or may not be a hard worker in reality, but either way it’s clear you didn’t work very hard at coming up with an answer to this question. Instead, be specific. What do you work hard at? What do you even consider to be “hard work?” Show that you’re engaged in the interview and actually thinking about the responses.

3 “I Enjoy Overcoming Challenges.”

People face challenges every day. Getting to this interview was probably a challenge in and of itself. When you use this phrase, it’s unclear what exactly you find challenging and how you met obstacles, which can be key elements in whether the job you want is a good fit. You could find everything challenging or your method of overcoming challenges might include yelling at people—the interviewer doesn’t know. Instead, say what you specifically enjoy about your work, such as winning a tough account or solving a problem.

2 “I’m a People Person.”

This is a good skill to have in customer service and sales jobs, but what does being a “people person” really mean? This phrase is too vague to be useful, not to mention that the interviewer has no idea whether or not you’re being truthful. Instead, describe a situation where you won over a challenging or difficult customer, or where you were able to sell something to a person who wasn’t necessarily looking to buy.

1 “I’m Highly Qualified.”

Every job candidate believes—or at least hopes to convince their prospective employers—that they’re qualified for the job. But to prove it, you need to elaborate on this with more than just “highly.” Do you have a degree or certificate relevant to the job? Do you have work experience or hobbies that will help you in the position you’re applying for? Are you part of any clubs or organizations that are related to the field? Give the specifics and get the job.

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