5 Interview Phrases That Always Come Off as Insincere — And What to Say Instead

5 Interview Phrases That Always Come Off as Insincere — And What to Say Instead


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The Career Counter554
Career reinvention for moms
May 22, 2024 at 1:51AM UTC

Nerves can get the best of you in an interview. It’s often the little things you say that determine whether or not you’ll get the job. That’s why being aware of what you say and how you say it is key. 

Here are five phrases that can make you look insecure in an interview situation—and what you can say instead to sound confident and capable.

1. “I know my experience is lacking in that area.”

Even if you feel like your skill level isn’t particularly high, you don’t need to reiterate it in the interview. Instead, focus on what you do have to offer. 

I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you get asked a question like, “What’s your skill level in XYZ area?” 

If you only have beginner-level skills in that area, you can answer something like, “While my knowledge in XYZ area is basic, I’m a very quick learner. For example, when I first got hired at ABC Company in XYZ role, I was able to quickly adapt to my new position while simultaneously taking over a big project for a co-worker who was on maternity leave.”

2. “It wasn’t my fault.”

If you get asked a question like, “Tell me about a time when you didn’t succeed,” always take responsibility for the situation. Do not blame other people.

The interviewer wants to hear what you learned from the situation and what you plan to do differently next time. They want to hear you take ownership of the mistake. This is a strong indication of how you will perform as a team player in your potential new role.

3. “I’m no expert, but….”

If you are speaking about a topic you know a lot about, don’t discount your authority. Instead, project confidence by saying, “Based on my __ years of experience, I know that___________.” 

4. “I’m sorry.”

So you’re a little clumsy and you accidentally trip over someone’s leg while sitting down in the interview. Say sorry once and then move on. Don’t be a chronic over-apologizer. You will come across as wishy-washy and insecure. 

5. “I hope it’s okay.”

If you’ve decided to do something, do it and own it. Constantly seeking validation from other people for your actions can make you look unconfident. 

Let’s face it, we’ve all used these phrases at some point in our careers. By practicing, you can avoid automatically blurting them out in an interview situation.

Practice answering interview questions in front of a friend or family member. Get feedback on your verbal and non-verbal communication. Non-verbal cues like avoiding eye contact and slouching can also make you come across as insecure.

The more you practice, the more your confidence and personality will shine through in the interview—and that’s what employers really want to see.

Have a question for the author? Leave a comment!


This article was written by an FGB contributor.

Lee Cristina Beaser is a career coach, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and founder of The Career Counter, where she empowers women to achieve happiness and fulfillment in their careers.

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