Avoid 'Qualifying' Words For Better Job Interviews


In a job interview, what you say matters as much as how you say it. So don't qualify your speech with unnecessary adverbs.

Photo by Samuel Mann

Real Simple notes that this approach suggests a lack of confidence.

Qualify Nothing. A lot of people have negative speech habits, such as using hedges like just, actually, kinda, and almost. For example: "I'm just really grateful to be talking to you today" or "I'm kinda thinking I want to transition into this job." These hedges make you come across as less confident, less authoritative — and less employable. Same for using disclaimers like "Well, I'm really not an expert on this." People think these types of statements make them seem more likable or down-to-earth, but they undermine credibility. Before an interview, ask a friend to listen to your speech for any bad habits, since they are often unconscious. Then give yourself a few days to focus on each one, and excise all of them.

It's OK to not know how to answer a question, but attaching self-deprecatory caveats don't help. To avoid that, have a friend listen and point out your bad speech habits. You can also use some of the same advice needed to avoid filler words like "um" when you talk.

5 Common Interview Mistakes [Real Simple]


    Interview advice from many online sources claim that confidence is key; but there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.

    I’ve lost count of the hours I’ve wasted interviewing cocky (recent) graduates who oversell themselves, gratuitously self-praising their vast intellects and business acumen.

    A small measure of humility in an interview goes a long way.

    Ultimately, I want to hire someone that will be reliable, hardworking, and proactive - without being cowboy-ish.

      After a career in financial services, I've gone back to uni as a mature age student. I've made friends with some of the younger students, and watching how arrogant they become when they graduate is cringeworthy.

      One in particular was bragging about how he now has everything sorted out *perfectly* because he's graduated (still lives with his mum lol). I replied "Congratulations, you have now completed the minimum required level of education to join the workforce." LOL! His face was priceless.

      Last edited 02/05/14 1:55 am

    I once got asked what my skill level was with a particular piece of software. I said intermediate - but only because I know what the software is capable of.

    It ended up being the only answer that mattered in the whole interview.

    When I discussed it a few years later with the interviewer - she said it was the only answer that didn't sound like bullshit.

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