Interview Tips: Words to Avoid Using During an Interview

What you say during an interview can determine whether you secure a job. The words you choose and how you say them can set the scene and the tone for the remainder of your interview, as well as give the interviewer some intel into your personality.

Although it’s great for the interviewer to get to know you (as you’ll likely be working closely with the team) you won’t want to come across as too casual in this initial meeting.

We recommend that you steer clear from the more relaxed vocabulary that doesn’t belong in a professional setting and choose your words more wisely to fit the scene!


Words to avoid using during an interview:


‘Stuff like that’

It can be very easy to fall into talking a little too casually. When you’re nervous, you can find yourself using the phrase ‘stuff like that’ when explaining your role and what you currently do at work.

Because it’s natural to talk like this, don’t be too hard on yourself, but rather try to be more discerning about what words you choose. One of the reasons we might end our list of tasks with ‘stuff like that’ is because we run out of things to say, so before your interview, practice how you might tell your interviewer what you do on a daily basis.

For more on this, read our Interview Advice: How to Answer ‘Tell Me About Yourself’ article to see how you can best prepare.


‘Like’, ‘You Know’, and ‘Um’

Other words to avoid during an interview are ‘like’, ‘you know’, and ‘um’. It’s okay to say these words occasionally during an interview but try not to answer every question with this type of filler vocabulary.

It’s easy to fall back on these words; however, it could also give off the impression that you’re unsure what to say and can’t answer the question that your interviewer asked. Instead of referring to this filler vocabulary, which can sometimes be an automatic response to fill the silence, remember that it’s okay to pause and think through your answer before addressing the interviewer or to stop mid-way through a response to re-arrange your thoughts.


‘We’, ‘Just’, and ‘Only’

We might sound slightly picky because the words ‘we’, ‘just’, and ‘only’ seem fine to use, but here’s why you should avoid using these words during an interview (at all costs).

For instance, using ‘we’ refers to a team and an employer is only interested in hearing about your individual impact that you’ve had on your current workplace. Referring to ‘we’ can downplay your expertise to the point where you’re not giving yourself enough credit. Whereas saying ‘just’ during an interview can also downplay your experience or encourage the employer to think you’re lacking essential skills. Using the word ‘only’ might also have a similar effect.

Instead of saying ‘we’, ‘just’, and ‘only’, practise a mock interview referring to the successes of your company as ‘I’ to increase your chances of securing the role.



‘Detail-oriented’ is something to avoid in an interview—to an extent. We recommend only using this if you can back yourself confidently with solid examples.

In what situations have you been detail-orientated within your team? When did you do it, what task was it, how did you do it, and what was the outcome?


Remember: Referring to the STAR method is extremely useful during an interview as it’ll show your interviewer your capabilities and problem-solving skills.



Have a question for us? If you’re a job seeker on the lookout for your next role, a hiring manager looking to fill a position, or want to know more about what words to avoid during an interview, contact us at Humanised Group! We’re here to help you succeed.

Recent Posts