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  • Elsa Duty, CEO/Owner

4 Phrases to Avoid While Interviewing

When our firm gets feedback from a prospective candidate's interviews, sometimes it's just a few phrases that turn a company off from wanting to hire someone. We advise everyone to prepare for interviews. Just because you are an expert in your field, doesn't mean you are an expert interviewer. But on the same note, you need to be real, honest, and yourself. But that doesn't mean that particular phrases shouldn't be "polished" up a little to get your point across! You have to admit that calling someone a "Professional Office Caretaker" versus a "Janitor", has a ring to it!

1) "I am bored" or "I was bored"

Many people find themselves bored in a job. They want a new challenge. This is a great reason to entertain a job search (assuming you have discussed it candidly with your boss, and no internal opportunities exist). However, whenever someone says "Bored" in an interview, it sets off red flags and just sounds depressing. Instead, try one of the positive phrases:

  • "I am excited to tackle a new challenge"

  • "I am ready to expand my knowledge/horizon"

  • "I am eager to learn something new"

2) "I'm always open to listen to new opportunities!"

Even if this is true, and you're just open minded, a lot of hiring managers hear this and immediately think that you'll "shop the market" everytime something comes your way. They want to hear that you're somehow uniquely intrigued by their opportunity, and not "always open". You can switch this up by adding just a few key words. You can say something like:

  • "I wasn't on a job search but [something] about this role/company piqued my interest"

  • "I enjoy my current position/company, but am interested in something that could potentially offer more/less growth/pay/commute/remote/etc"

  • "I'm selectively looking at businesses for my next long-term career move"

3) "I didn't like my boss" or "My boss and I didn't get along"

Studies show that the #1 reason professionals make job changes is due to a bad boss. It's just a fact. But the way you phrase this very-common fact when interviewing, makes all the difference in how you are perceived. Try some of the following instead:

  • "I was eager to find a manager that was more supportive of my growth/ideas/contributions"

  • "My boss and I just had very different personalities; and although they are a great person, we just did not align well professionally" (+ if you add that you have another professional recommendation at the employer, this smooths out any concerns of performance)

4) "Ask my recruiter."

I cringe when I hear this one. Your recruiter should be an advocate for you, but when you are interviewing directly with a hiring authority, you better answer the question, even if it's one you don't like. Otherwise, it just feels like a cop-out answer. Usually people throw this comment out when asked "Desired salary?" Email us ( for a copy of our detailed interview prep, as we have an 8-page document we can share regarding salary expectations. Gain confidence in any areas you know are uncomfortable for you.

Final words of wisdom. First impressions matter. Video interviews add a whole new element of interviewing. Make sure you log on early, check your lighting, background, framing. Keep the camera slightly higher tilted down (vs tilted up - hello double chin!). Move lights around in your house/room until the lighting is to your favor (typically, some light in front of you and some subtly behind you). Don't let a crummy video set a negative tone!


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