CALL US: 847-382-0690

Employment Tests

Horrible Phrases Used by Job Applicants

9 Horrible Phrases Used by Job Applicants You Should Not Hire

You can hire the best when you accept this fact: Words have meanings. And words a job applicant uses reveals how that person will think, feel, and act if hired by you.
Beware: Some words applicants use are warning signs.

Here are nine words and phrases that spell trouble – if you hire the applicant using them.

1. “No Problem”
An important reason you hire anyone is to handle activities that are a “problem.” An applicant who joyfully spouts, “No problem” implies he happily will do work that is “no problem.” But, what if the work feels like a “problem?” Will the applicant want to do it? Do not bet on it!

2. “My pleasure”
Saying “my pleasure” is pseudo-sophisticated drivel. Like “no problem,” it implies the applicant gladly does work considered “pleasure.” But, jobs entail activities lacking “pleasure.” OMG! Do you want to hire someone who may avoid unpleasant duties?

3. “Have a good one!”
Have a good what? Lousy customer service employees love this phrase. Actually, customers prefer hearing “Thank you.” Employees who say, “Have a good one” have no clue they should say, “Thank you.”

4. “I don’t know”
Motivated employees who do not know answers say, “I’ll find out.” Lazy people say, “IDK.” Avoid hiring lazy people.

5. “Like”
If the applicant does not know what to say, the person could pause or say, “Uh.” But, “like” sounds like they are, like, hanging out at the mall, like with friends. I bet you do not pay employees to socialize with friends at the mall.

6. “You know?”
If employees or customers do not know something, then tell them. If they know, then why ask, “You know?” You know what I mean, you know?

7. “Try”
Saying “try” is a way to avoid doing something. Productive employees actually do their work. Unproductive employees “try.” In fact, “try” is similar to ‘being a little bit pregnant.’ Either you are or are not pregnant. Either you really do your work tasks or you do not. Applicants proudly saying “try” may not complete assignments.

8. “What benefits will I get?”
Job applicants inquiring about benefits in a job interview reveal their key reason to work for you: They want benefits. But, you want employees who arrive enthused to work – not focused on benefits. Applicants asking about benefits should be big turn-off for you.

9. “How many vacation [or sick] days will I get?”
You do not hire people because you crave to pay for non-work vacation or sick days. You desire to hire people who show up and work productively. Delete applicants who ask about paid time-off.

10. Candidate does not say, “Please” & “Thank You”
You learned nine words or phrases you do NOT want to hear from applicants. “Please” and “Thank You” are words you DO want to hear applicants say. Job applicants using those two terms display good manners. Applicants who do not say those two phrases will exhibit problems with manners and working with people.


Hiring managers must listen to job applicants’ words. As I wrote in my book, “Hire the Best & Avoid the Rest,” an applicant’s behavior in your screening process is the best you will see from that person.


1. If you hear those nine horrible words or phrases, do not hire the job applicant
– unless they are the last applicant left on earth!
2. Use pre-employment tests to assess applicant’s interpersonal skills, personality, motivations,
and intelligence.
3. Hire job candidates who earn first-class ratings on BOTH interviews and pre-employment tests.

Contact me for more information on my Customized Interview Guide Forms for your company.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *