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5 things you should never say in a job interview

Receiving an invitation to a job interview is both exciting and nerve-racking. It can also be highly competitive depending on the industry and economy. That’s why it’s necessary for you to prepare to impress the interviewer as soon as you sit down for the interview.

While having an effective resume, dressing appropriately, and doing your research on your prospective employer are all essential components in making a solid first impression, you also want to avoid using the following 5 words during your interview to increase your odds of getting hired.

1. “Money,” “salary,” “pay,” compensation,” etc.

"Focusing on the salary can raise a red flag with potential employers that you are only there for the money and not for any deeper reasons," says Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of "The Humor Advantage." "More and more, employers are looking for people who align with their mission and values."

The interview isn’t the time and place to discuss or negotiate your salary. In fact, if you’ve done your homework by either reading the job description or knowing the average salary of employees within your industry, you should have at least a ballpark figure on how much you’re to make. Save this conversation during the conclusion of the interview phase.

2. “Irregardless”

Years ago, everyone (including the dictionary) said this word was not a word. Believe it or not, irregardless is a real word. It’s found in reputable dictionaries, including Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and The Oxford English Dictionary, and has been used in conversations since the 20th century. And, even though people will understand you if do say irregardless, it’s problematic for most people since it’s a nonstandard word because of the pointless prefix. This can lead others to believe that you’re uneducated or that you don’t have an understanding of the English language.

Since irregardless means the exact same thing as regardless, it’s best to avoid this debate altogether by just sticking with regardless.

3. Describing victim mentality

Let’s say that you haven’t been working for a while due to some external or personal factors, such as an economic downturn or taking care of an ill family member. You may be tempted to play the victim in order to earn some pity points. But, and this may sound harsh, your interviewer doesn’t care.I’m not saying that they’re not empathetic. They just don’t want to hear excuses.

Instead of playing the victim, use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your resilience and how you think outside of the box in overcoming obstacles. For instance, if you graduated during the recession of 2008 and couldn’t secure a job, inform the interviewer that you took online courses to expand your knowledge and skillsets.

If you had to run the family business because your parents were not able to, state that that was a chance for you to work in retail so that you could develop customer service skills.

4. Buzzwords

Buzzwords, like passionate, leadership, specialized, dedicated, focused, team player, and experienced, are overused resume jargon. If that’s the case, then why do we keep using them? According to LinkedIn, it’s because they’re convenient, helps us feel like we fit in, and makes us seem more knowledgeable.

Instead of relying on buzzwords, use specific and direct words or phrases that highlight your skills, knowledge, and experience. And, don’t forget to provide examples of your previous work experience. Examples can back-up your claims more than any buzzword can during an interview.

5. Any filler word

Filler words, such as um, erm, hmm, or urh, may go unnoticed if used sparingly. However, these words may be used more than you realize whenever you need more time to think about the question that you were just asked.

This may not seem like a big deal, but when every other you say is a filler word it can damage your credibility since an interviewer may take that as a sign that you aren’t capable of the job you’re attempting to land. Or, even worse, that you’re about to come-up with a lie.

Personally, I never realized that this was an issue until it was brought to me attention and I started watching footage of me speaking. Sure enough, I was throwing out a lot of “ums.”To correct this problem, I started speaking more slowly. If there was a question that I had to think about, I would remain completely silent until I could find the right words. Don’t worry if you’re concerned about there being an awkward silence. It’s better to pause and say nothing-at-all than filling the air with a stream of filler words.

John Rampton is serial entrepreneur who now focuses on helping people to build amazing products and services that scale. He is founder of the online payments company Due. He was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine. Time Magazine recognized John as a motivational speaker that helps people find a "Sense of Meaning" in their lives. He currently advises several companies in the bay area.

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