Looking for a job in 2024? Two words to avoid in interviews


Are you searching for a job or board role in 2024?  In this article for Forbes, author Mark Murphy talks about the two words to avoid in interviews and the importance of framing and psychology when interviewing.


Nearly every job interview these days will involve at least a few behavioural interview questions. Learning how to respond appropriately to these questions will help put you ahead of the pack. Designed to probe into your past experiences, these questions often start with prompts like "Tell me about a time when…" or "Give me an example of…". They're crafted to elicit responses about specific instances in your past where you personally took action or made a decision

Author Mark Murphy writes that behavioural interview questions are asked to better understand how you handled challenges in the past, so keep your responses about yourself. If you're asked to give an example of a time you received hard feedback, for instance, focus your answer on what you learned from the situation. Don't respond with, "What you should do is..." 

As Murphy writes "saying 'you should' creates a detachment from your own experiences." The phrase creates a hypothetical scenario, rather than providing specific insight on your personal experience. Murphy says answering with "you should" also implies you lack accountability, so ditch those two words and use "I" instead.

When an interviewer asks a behavioral interview question, they're essentially saying, "I want to hear about a specific time in the recent past when you personally faced this specific situation." 

So when a candidate says, "Well, what you should do when you face that situation is...", they're basically telling the interviewer, "I'm not going to answer your question; instead, I'm going to give you some hypothetical jargon." 

Would you hire someone who refused to give you a direct answer to a specific question?

UK headhunter Josh Hatton writes on LinkedIn: “The primary takeaway is that an interviewing candidate should always focus on the first-person, relating questions to your own experience, even if they are not explicitly posed that way. 

It's easy to think in hypotheticals when giving answers, after all, aren't you thinking about your potential future at this firm? Especially for actuaries, who spend years studying through theory and thinking through predictions, it's hard not to be forward thinking!

However, what this article is alluding to is that an interviewing team is looking to understand your experience, not to experience a demonstration of your understanding. Anyone with the right preparation should be able to tell you what an ideal candidate would do once in the role. 

Focusing on your achievements and contributions, particularly quantifiable ones, will be essential in differentiating you from the swathes of candidates who are able to sound convincing without having direct experience. 

Think 'How can I show this person that I can do this job?' and not simply 'How can I prove to this person that I know what the job is?'. 

Mark Murphy’s latest book is called is Never Say These Words In A Job Interview: The Words And Phrases That Win (Or Lose) You The Job

Latest newsRSS