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Don't use these phrases in a job interview, they are ‘major red flags,’ says ex-Google recruiter

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There are several tactics you can employ to impress a prospective employer during a job interview.

Tell your interviewer what excites you about the role, for example. This shows you're a passionate person who is genuinely interested in the opportunity. Ask what problem you can solve for them on day one to start setting yourself up for success if you get hired. Nod and smile while the interviewer is speaking to show you're confident and capable.

There are, of course, a few behaviors you'll want to avoid, such as phrases that could turn your interviewer off. Some are "major red flags," says Nolan Church, former recruiter at Google and CEO of salary data company FairComp.

Here's what Church advises jobseekers to avoid saying.

'I work too hard' or 'I'm a perfectionist'

To begin with, when an interviewer asks what you can improve on, don't use phrases that make it sound like you think you have nothing to learn. These can be phrases like "I work too hard" or "I'm a perfectionist," says Church. They're framed as character flaws when, really, they're compliments.

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When you do, the perception is that "you are full of s---," he says. "You are inauthentic." They could think you're either not being honest about who you are as a person or you genuinely think you can't get better as a worker.

Remember, "I'm not hiring you to be perfect," he says. "I'm hiring you to grow with us." Instead of these empty phrases, Church recommends giving an example of a mistake you made, what you learned from it and how you improved going forward.

'Anything that transfers blame' is a turn off

Don't say anything negative about people you've worked with.

Whether it's a former colleague, manager or company, "anything that transfers blame from you to someone else" sounds bad, says Church.

"The people you want to work with take full ownership and accountability" of what they've done in the past, he says, even if you messed up. Taking responsibility indicates you're humble enough to admit you're not perfect and that you're willing to learn from your mistakes and get better.

"You want to work with people who have the self-awareness to know when they were wrong and to update their own mental models to fix it," he says.

'I don't know'

Finally, avoid answering questions with "I don't know."

When he hears that, Church thinks, "okay, so, like, conversation's over? You're not going to solve these problems?" he says.

Especially as it pertains to young people just starting their careers, it's possible you don't have a lot experience or anecdotes to draw from and give concrete examples of what you've been able to accomplish. In those scenarios, "it's okay to say, 'I don't know, but here's how I'd figure it out,'" he says. Give some examples of how you'd tackle the problem hypothetically to show you'd be proactive in moving forward.

Ultimately, if you get the job, "we're paying you to go solve this problem" they're presenting, he says. Even in the interview, you'll have to prove that you can do that.

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