A female interviewing for a new position.

Phrases That Make You Sound Unqualified in Job Interviews

Part II of Words & Phrases You Want to Avoid in an Interview

There are phrases you should avoid using in your interviews; ones that make you sound under-qualified or unskilled.  Let’s walk through a few of these:

“I know I’m not the most qualified person”

Be wary of saying this, especially if you’re changing careers or applying for a role that’s out of your comfort zone. You may think saying this shows that you’re honest, humble, and honored to be interviewing for the role, but in actuality it diminishes your value.

If you tell the interviewer you don’t believe you’re qualified for the role, they’re going to believe you. After all, you know yourself better than they do.

Landing an interview means that the interviewer believes you’re qualified enough, so don’t give them a reason to think otherwise.

Instead, highlight the experiences, stories, and projects you’ve worked on that showcase your ability to excel in the role. Show them how much you believe in yourself.

“I don’t have much experience with this”

While this one is similar to the previous phrase, you may be tempted to use this if the interviewer asks about a specific skill.

One of my clients applied for a role that required experience leading teams. Although she matched everything else and felt confident she’d be successful in the role, she doubted her leadership skills. This doubt came across in her response to the interviewer as, ”I don’t have much current experience”.  She should have provided other examples of leadership even if that meant she had to reflect back to experiences during college.

Words stick, so even if you think you don’t have enough experience in one area, your language still matters.

“We…”

Unless you and your team are both interviewing for the role, you should not constantly use “we” in your interviews.

Often, some corporate professionals fear taking ownership of the projects and initiatives their team accomplished together. Not owning your individual contribution and consequently using “we” when describing your accomplishments, erodes your own experience and qualifications.

It can cause the interviewer to question if you can handle the role you’re interviewing for without your team.

So, instead of falling back on your team, identify your specific results and the impact you delivered and then highlight that with confidence in your interviews.

Rambling or dancing around a question…

This isn’t a particular phrase, but dancing around a question and rambling can make you seem unsure about your skills and qualifications, even if you know you are qualified for the position. Another reason why it is particularly important to review potential interview questions with an experienced coach.

Particularly, when you ramble, you put the responsibility on the interviewer to take away the most important elements of your response. What typically happens is you lose their attention, and the worst outcome is that they won’t care enough to ask again and will move on — still unclear about what you can really do.

To prevent dancing around a question and rambling, get clear on what you bring to the table before the interview and decide on the skills and stories you want to use to back up what you can do.

If you are asked a question that catches you off guard, request clarification and lean into the value and skills you know qualify you for the role.

Practice makes perfect and confidence will land you your next job.

There are so many ways that qualified candidates disqualify themselves in interviews without even realizing it.

Avoiding these phrases and last week’s tip on Filler Words will ensure that you don’t sabotage your interviews and will increase your chances of standing out as a top candidate for the roles you desire.

Are you still nervous about your interviewing skill and your confidence in landing that job?

Reach out for a free ½ hour consultation, and we’ll build your confidence in taking on that next step.

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