The University of Alabama

UA Matters: Words to Use, Avoid during Job Interviews

Travis Railsback

Travis Railsback

There are many things you can do, or say, during a job interview that could either help you land the job or ensure you’ll never hear from that job prospect again.

The University of Alabama’s Travis Railsback offers a few tips on what words to use, or avoid, during that all-important job interview.

  • Transferable skills: The interview process is your opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and ability necessary to effectively perform the job. You should take every opportunity to communicate how prior experiences have provided the transferable skills that will likely lead to success in the particular role. Never lose sight of this.
  • Play nice: While it is unlikely these two words will be uttered during the course of an interview, recruiters are keenly aware of this attribute. Your ability to not only demonstrate technical proficiency, but also effectively work well with others is critical. Even if not asked directly, recruiters are probing for signs that you have the ability to work well with others. No organization wants to hire a potential “problem.”
  • No, I don’t have any questions: Often at the end of an interview, you are afforded the opportunity to ask questions. Not having a question can be interpreted many ways, none of them positive. Most often a candidate who has failed to prepare questions will appear either disinterested or simply unprepared.
  • Weaknesses, I may need a few minutes to think about that: You should always expect a question regarding your weaknesses. However, all too often interviewees fail to prepare for this question and are unable to provide a suitable answer.  Knowing how to navigate this single question is often a make or break moment during an interview.

Railsback is the executive director of UA’s Career Center.

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UA Matters is a weekly posting that offers information and tips on consumer issues facing Alabamians. The information is available to reprint in your publication free of charge. Also, access to subject matter experts is available upon request. For more information, contact Kim Eaton at 205/348-8325 or kkeaton@ur.ua.edu>.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.