Interview Words: How and When to Use Them

Using certain keywords during an interview can show the skills and qualities you possess. You can incorporate words into your interview that can impress hiring managers and increase your chances of receiving a job offer. Read this article to learn about the recommended words you can use during your next interview.

Powerful words to use in an interview

Try to use some of these words naturally in your next interview to create a positive impact:


Telling the employer that you are a motivated professional indicates that you can complete the duties they assign to you. Being motivated means you want to help the company succeed by contributing to assignments. It also shows you can complete tasks with minimal supervision, which is important for many employers. It can be helpful to talk about a time that you used your motivation to succeed so employers can have a clear idea of your capabilities.


Being a responsible employee is important for many companies since it can mean that you are reliable. It can show that you take responsibility for your actions while also taking steps to fix any mistakes and improve your work. You can explain how you’re a responsible employee by talking about a time that you managed your time efficiently or solved your own problems.


Employers appreciate employees who have a passion for their work. Using the word ‘passion’ during your interview shows you can be a dedicated employee who stays engaged in your work, which is an important quality to have.

You can also show passion for the industry and the company. Research the company before the interview to learn more about its objectives and mission statement. Mentioning the information you researched about the company during your interview can show you’re passionate about the same goals and missions.


Even if you’re not interviewing for a leadership position, showing that you have the qualities to be a leader is important. Many hiring managers want to know you can lead a team or group because it shows you can grow with the company. Developing leadership skills also means you have many other desirable qualities, such as communication, critical thinking and time management. To show you can be a leader during an interview, give a specific example of a time you took the lead on a project or task.

Team player

In most positions, you need to work with a team in order to complete tasks. Telling the hiring manager you’re a team player means you can collaborate with employees to complete work. It can be useful to give the employer an example of the types of people you’ve worked with in the past to show your ability to communicate with a variety of people.


Many jobs value quality over quantity, meaning producing accurate work is important. Being detail-oriented tells the hiring manager you produce consistently good work that doesn’t need much revision. Tell the employer how you review each part of your work before submitting it to show you’re detail-oriented.


You can use this term for nearly any role in most industries. Being efficient means you can reduce the time and energy spent while completing a task, which many employers value. You can be efficient while completing tasks, solving problems or leading a team. Make sure you use it sparingly to keep the value of the word.


You can use this word by backing it up with a specific story. For example, if an employer asks you a question like ‘How do you overcome challenges at work?’, you can explain a time you used your problem-solving abilities to fix an issue. Problem-solving can also show you’re an independent thinker who enjoys a challenge.


The word ‘flexible’ during an interview can have many definitions. If you use it to describe your work style, it can mean you’re willing to accept any task or challenge. Hiring managers like flexible team members since it shows you want to learn more and grow with a company. It can also show you want to help your team and company succeed.

You can also use flexible if the employer asks about your salary expectations during the interview. Though you may have a specific salary you want, telling them you’re flexible could help during the negotiation process. There might also be benefits that the employer could offer that would be insightful to learn about the company.


You can use this word to explain how you can be an independent employee. Hiring managers may need someone who can make decisions without a lot of input and guidance. Taking initiative shows you can make and adhere to choices confidently. This can be useful when you’re in a leadership position or while working alone.


Using ‘results’ in a phrase like ‘results-driven,’ ‘measured results’ or ‘results-focused’ shows you care about the output of your work. If you have a goal, you want to find the best way to achieve it with great results. Since many jobs focus on results like sales or quotas, showing that you’re invested in these goals can impress hiring managers.

Industry-specific terms

Using industry-specific terms shows you have experience in your field. Incorporating these words naturally throughout the interview means you have a thorough knowledge of the role. Think about some of the words that you use regularly in your job and define them. If you can give a clear definition of the word, you can use it in an interview.

Words to avoid in your interview

The following are some words you should try to avoid when interviewing:

  • Negative words, like ‘don’t’ or ‘won’t’
  • ‘Kinda’ or ‘kind of’
  • Amazing
  • Perfectionist
  • Comfortable
  • Informal words, like ‘you guys’
  • Basically
  • Negotiation words, like ‘work-life balance’ or ‘perks’
  • Stuff

If you can omit these words during the interview, you can create a positive impression on the employer.

If you need help writing a resume, use our data-backed resume builder.