Stop Using the "L" Word in Interviews
In fact, stop using the "L" word in professional conversations
by Hal Horowitz Nov. 3, 2017
The "L" word is "like." I mean, it’s “like” poison, man. You know?
This is a test. I’m going to give you just a few abbreviated examples of interview Q&A. None of the answers are necessarily incorrect, but I want you to spot the errors.
Unless you’re like, um, you know, a total wonk, I’m gonna’ guess you’ve already flushed out the errors that make these answers suck.
If you cannot articulate what you mean in an interview, how do you think your interviewer will expect you will perform as her new Chief Communications Officer? Or Receptionist?
The examples above were taken from actual interviews that I conducted, and they don’t even begin to tap the ways we misuse and abuse our language. That may sound trivial. It may sound harsh and label those who find it annoying as purists whose opinions don’t really matter. But it may also cost you an opportunity. In debriefing my clients’ interviewers, I often hear responses like “He really wasn’t clear about…” or, “She seems to understand how to do the analysis, but I’m not sure she’ll be able to present her recommendations…” and, “He was just annoying to listen to.” I’ll add here that candidates aren’t the only guilty ones. I’ve gotten feedback on employers as well about how their interviewers might not have been able to articulate their own job descriptions, or used annoying interjections like “um,” or “you know what I mean?”
Very few of us are, or are expected to be, perfect linguists and grammarians. Personally, I think not being able to end sentences with a preposition is a stupid rule, and one I break frequently.
Most of what comes out of our mouths that sounds like garbage is the result of the following:
Here’s a brief compendium of the should-ofs and could-ofs that you want to eliminate from your professional vernacular.