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  • Writer's pictureKevin Sullivan

I'd Be Lying if I Said I Don't Have Interview Pet Peeves

I’d be lying if I told you that it was a good idea to frame up an interview answer around the concept of lying. Instead of saying, “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous,” try, “I was nervous.”

It’s simple and direct and doesn’t plant the suggestion that occasionally you tell lies in interviews.

The rise of athletes, celebrities and executives using the “lying” framework in interviews tops my list of interview pet peeves for 2022.

The first cousin of the lying structure is framing an answer in the negative – by describing something based on what it’s not, rather than what it is. Earlier this year I read this quote:

“There isn't an issue that we're dealing with that's more important than that issue.”

The straightforward, "[State the issue] is the most important issue we're dealing with," is the way to go. It requires much less of the reader, who is unlikely to go to the trouble to decode all that is going on in the original quote.

The final nitpick of 2022 is the trend of podcast and interview guests acknowledging each question before answering it. “Sure” and “absolutely” seem to be the most popular go-to phrases. Skip the filler words and get right to your answer.

This habit may stem from another trend – interviewers beginning their questions with, “Can you talk about…?” The interviewee is naturally compelled to start by affirming that they can address the topic.

A better option is to go straight to the good stuff – your truthful answer, framed in the affirmative.

[Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash]


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