Trigger Words Can Make You or Break You

“Trigger words” will either make you or break you during an interview.  What I mean by this, it can either cost you the job or keep you in the running.

As a career coach, I have carefully coached my candidates on carefully choosing  adjectives, action verbs and adverbs that best describe them. During an interview, the interviewer will commonly ask you, “Tell me about yourself”?, “What are 3 strengths you feel that you possess and/or 3 areas of improvement”?; etc.

“Trigger words” will trigger either a positive or negative emotion.  That is why you have to be wise when it comes to articulating and conveying your abilities, accomplishments and even challenges you have faced as a professional to the interviewer.

Here are a list of “positive trigger words” to use during an interview:

  • Action Verbs: achieved, adapted, accelerated, accommodated, led, collaborated, completed, initiated, fostered, facilitated, motivated, produced, performed, served, recommended, solved, discovered, assisted, verified, tested, simplified, succeeded
  • Adjectives: honest, independent, optimistic, realistic, intelligent, pro-active, self-disciplined, reliable, dependable, versatile, hard-working, loyal, tenacious
  • Adverbs: eagerly, actively, certainly, eagerly, efficiently, measurably, openly,patiently,respectfully, systematically, significantly,  thoroughly, voluntarily

Here are a list of “trigger words” to avoid:

  • Action Verbs: annoyed, aggravated, disturbed, deferred, depleted, issues, mistreat, worry, confused, denied, impatient, unsatisfactory, unpleasant, authoritatively, demanded
  • Adjectives: anxious, abrasive, aloof, awkward, bored, burned-out, clueless, co-dependent, compulsive, destroyed, disappointed, dishonest, excessive, frantic, freaked out, hostile, hung up, incapable, inefficient, ineffective, lacking, misunderstood, overwhelmed, pressure
  • Adverbs: blatantly, aggressively, deceitfully, deceptively, evasively, unethically, scandalously, selfishly, rarely, relentlessly, egotistically, deliberately

When it comes to “trigger words” always remember, it’s all about what the interviewer hears.  The words you speak will have a lasting impact, so be very conscientious in choosing the right words.

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