Killer Filler Words Can Ruin Your Interview

by | Jun 1, 2023

There are many factors used to consider a candidate during the hiring process. Professional demeanor, preparedness, and confidence are typically the top 3 that are consistently relied upon when making hiring decisions. A common mistake that many interviewees make, unbeknownst to them, that can affect their candidacy for professional positions is using “filler” words.

Confidence exudes professionalism. When “filler” words are used, confidence, clarity, and professionalism often appear to be lacking (even though the candidate may be qualified for the position). In a recent survey of 47 interviews taken between May 21, 2021, and July 29, 2021, I documented every occurrence of “filler” words used during the interviews I conducted. The results were astounding. 

The phrase “Um” was used 595 times and was the most commonly used “filler” word. “Uh” was the following widely used “filler” word, used approximately 184 times. “You know” was uttered 74 times, with the phrase “Like” occurring 26 times.

I must reiterate that using these phrases doesn’t equate to a candidate not being the best person for the position. The use of these phrases can reflect a lack of preparedness and the ability to think on your feet quickly.

With sound interviewing skills and proper preparedness, the use of “filler” words can be a thing of the past. Let Renaissance Career Services help you reinvent yourself!

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