6 Speech Habits to Avoid in an Interview

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that what you say during an interview has an enormous impact on your chances of attaining the job. A polished resume, an impressive list of references, and professional attire are imperative for someone planning to interview for their dream job, but these preparations can only get you so far. You may be able to walk the walk, but can you talk the talk? Next time you’ve got a big interview lined up, don’t stress it. As long as you make sure to avoid these 6 speech habits at all costs, you’ll do just fine.

1. Uncertainty.

Your goal at the interview is to convince your potential future employer that you are well equipped to handle the responsibilities of this role. The last thing you want to do is sound like you don’t know what you are talking about, or that you’re unsure if you are qualified for certain tasks. Avoid using words such as “think” and “maybe”, as these will make you come off as uncertain and unprepared, and nobody wants to hire someone unprepared. Show some confidence, you made it this far for a reason!

2. Talking too fast.

It’s normal to be nervous during a job interview; we’ve all been there. However, it doesn’t help either party when you are talking so fast that no one can actually make sense of what you’re saying. Practice answering questions at home with a friend or family member, and make sure you are speaking at a slow and steady pace. Take a couple of deep breaths before you walk into the room to calm your nerves, and remember, an interview is really nothing more than just a formal conversation between two people.

3. Bad grammar.

If there was one speech habit that would be most likely to cost you the job, it would be this one.  Please refrain from broken fragments of speech such as “he don’t”, and/or “she ain’t”. Also, I don’t care if you are from Alabama, “ya’ll” is not a proper way to address your interviewers. Informal speech, slang words, and bad grammar are all a big no-no.

4. Criticizing others.

Maybe your last boss was a total jerk and you despised every moment you spent at that job.  You should avoid criticizing others at your interview, and that includes past employers. If at any point you are asked why you left your last job, a good way to answer that question would be to tell the interviewer that you are looking for new and exciting opportunities that will allow you to grow.

5. Unnecessary wording.              

Every time you utter the word “like” at a job interview, your potential employer dies a little bit on the inside. No, but really. You should also avoid using filler words such as “um” and “well”, as they serve virtually no purpose. Sometimes nerves can get the best of us, but we all know you’re smarter than that.

6. Refusing to ask questions.

I’ve heard of several recruiters and interviewers ruling out candidates completely, who were otherwise perfect, solely because of the fact that they didn’t ask questions at the end of the interview. Ideally, it’s best to have at least 3-5 questions lined up to ask a potential employer. Not only does it show that you have knowledge of the company, but it also expresses your enthusiasm about potentially working there in the future. This pretty much seals the deal.

While these particular speech habits may seem like common sense to most, they can make or break your chance at getting a job. The ability to speak eloquently is something that ALL employers look for in a hopeful candidate. Ultimately, the sooner you are able to master the art of communication, the closer you are to your dream job. Best of luck!

Back to listing