This is a guest blog post written by The Intern Group.
Just because you are asked cliché questions during a job interview doesn’t mean that you have to give cliché answers. Generic, meaningless responses to your interviewer will do the opposite of what you want. You’ll become another face in the sea of “blah” candidates that they’ve talked to over the course of the interview process. Do you want to become just another face in the “blah” sea? No. Exactly. The Intern Group is a leading provider of international internships in London, Madrid, Hong Kong, Australia and Latin America. To get accepted onto their program, all candidates must pass the interview process. It’s fair to say that the Admissions Team at The Intern Group has heard pretty much everything. Take it from them, the following phrases should be stripped from your job interview vocabulary, immediately:
1. “I am a unique candidate.”
Saying that you’re unique is the least unique way that you could prove yourself to a potential employer. If you’re unique, they will be able to figure that out through your interview.
How to be memorable: Cite specific experiences that show how you’re uniquely qualified to fill the position.
2. “I pay a lot of attention to detail.”
This is an overused skill cited all the time at job interviews. Though being a detail-oriented person is important for many jobs, the phrase doesn’t pack the same punch as an anecdote about how your attention to detail ended up saving your old workplace time or money, for example.
How to be memorable: Prove how this skill you have has been put in use and contributed to the company.
3. “I’m very hardworking.”
Oh really? You’re saying that you work hard at a job interview? How original.
How to be memorable: Instead of saying that you work hard, try talking about the different things that you accomplished in a short timeline, or discuss the challenging responsibilities that you took on from your last job or internship.
4. “I’m a team player.”
Yes, but what makes you a team player? What have you done to build up the sense of community at your previous workplace or internship?
How to be memorable: Talk about your experience - what you have offered and will offer as a positive, communicative part of an office community.
5. “I can handle anything.”
Anything? Really? So you can perform a Shakespearean monologue while juggling fireballs? This statement is simply false. Nobody can do it all or handle anything because human beings have limits. So don’t use this overused statement to try and prove yourself, because it really doesn’t mean anything.
How to be memorable: What you can say is that you’re a fast learner and then give an example of when you adapted quickly to a new challenge at work.
6. “I’m the right person for the job.”
This is a bit redundant. If you’re at a job interview, you’re trying to get the job by proving you are the right person for the job. It’s not really for you to decide.
How to be memorable: Instead of saying that you’re the right person, you need to show that you’re the right person. Explain what skills you’ll bring to the position and how you’ve excelled at previous jobs.
So you’ve learned what not to say at an interview. Apart from avoiding these cliché phrases, the following are steps that you can take to make sure that you leave a memorable and polished impression at your next job interview:
1. Do your research about the company and the position that you’re being hired for. Know as much as you can about what is expected from you. That way you can explain specifically how you’re the right person for the job, instead of merely saying that you’re the right person for the job.
2. Practice talking about your previous experience. Ask yourself questions about your experience when you’re back home, prepping for the interview. What were some important accomplishments from your previous or current job? Practicing your answers and coming prepared will help you come off as cool and polished during the interview (even though you may be freaking out on the inside).
3. Be as specific as possible during your interview. As previously discussed, it’s not enough to say that you’re unique or qualified or hardworking. You have to prove it by citing precise moments or details that show the kind of professional you really are. Before you even go into the interview you should have some examples in mind of when exactly you stepped up at the workplace and some specific contributions your experience could bring to the position that you’re interviewing for.
4. Practice positivity. Think positively about your interview beforehand. Imagine having an excellent interview. Approach the entire process as a life experience that will help you whether you get this particular job or not. Before going in for the interview, think about how much you’ve prepared and all of the great things you would bring to the position. Don’t focus on the amount of people that you’re competing against or how worried you are about making a mistake in the interview. Keep the energy that you’re sending out there positive and try your best to enjoy the interview process before, during and after.
5. Polish your posture and other types of nonverbal communication. An interview isn’t just the chance for you to answer professional questions. It is the first time that your potential manager will see you and get a sense of your presence. Looking the interviewer in the eye, smiling, being an active listener, asking questions and nodding your head will contribute to their overall impression of you and your professionalism. If you have bad posture, practice sitting up straight for your interview. All of these subtle nonverbal messages will influence your interviewer’s overall opinion of you.