In an interview, you have a short time and a few words to make a good impression. One of the most popular prompts from interviewers is, “Tell me about yourself.” So, how do you make sure to get it right? While there is no correct answer, here are five words you should try to avoid when describing yourself during a job interview:


1. “Passionate”

Having a passion is great! Describing yourself as “passionate,” though, is vague and insubstantial says career advice site The Muse, because it is impossible to be passionate about everything. Narrow your passion to one specific thing, if it is relevant to the job, and discuss it in the interview. But, if the job you are applying for isn’t what you are passionate about – don’t pretend it is! This can come off as inauthentic or dishonest. 

Instead, be truthful about your interest in the job and demonstrate your passion. Make it clear how your skills, experience, and goals line up with the role. Your interviewer will appreciate the honesty.


2. “Self-starter”

This phrase seems to pop up in almost every job description. But, it might not be the best choice to highlight as a unique quality about yourself. First, it is an overused word according to leading job site Indeed. Additionally, it restates something that is already expected by employers.

If you want the interviewer to know you are proactive, a better way is to discuss times when you have taken initiative to get something done. Are there projects or tasks you have completed without somebody asking you to do so? Have you thought ahead of time about something that would be helpful to do and then implemented it? These are great things to focus on instead of expecting the interviewer to take your word for it.


3. “Independent”

The word “independent” has some of the same issues as “self-starter.” Of course, it is good to be able to complete tasks on your own without supervision, but it might not be the most memorable or impressive word choice.

Saying you are “independent” could suggest that you cannot work with others. Employers are often looking for a good fit for their existing team. So, it may be better to prove that you can collaborate with a group of people as well as work independently, and talk about the times when you have done so. If you have been a part of a successful team project, now is the time to discuss it. 


4. “Dynamic”

“Dynamic” is another overused word in the corporate world, and could seem unoriginal, states jobsite Glassdoor. Again, companies are likely not seeking somebody half-hearted or lethargic. So show – don’t tell about – your positive energy and attitude by how you act during the interview. Make sure you bring your best self, and the interviewer will see your dynamic personality for themselves.


5. “Best”

This one applies to all superlatives. Claiming to be the very best person at something could make you seem naive or self-absorbed. Chances are, there will always be somebody out there with more developed skills than you. This kind of statement may also tell the interviewer that you aren’t motivated to get better at what you do. Most employers want to hire someone who wants to continue learning and improving. 

Instead, you can talk about times that your skills have led to the success of a project. Evidence of results will always be more useful to the interviewer than empty claims. As well as making you seem more legitimate, specific examples will help you stand out. And, if the interviewer has specific details to remember you by, that will help you stay at the front of their mind.

Be sure to avoid these words in your next interview, but try not to worry too much about whether you gave a good impression. Focus on your specific and provable strengths. Then, back it up with examples, and you will set yourself up for a great interview!