10 Effective Words To Use in an Interview

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 17 November 2022

Published 16 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Preparing yourself by learning interview keywords and phrases can help you clearly and concisely communicate your value to a prospective employer. Create a list of words to use in an interview to provide the answers to questions presented by a potential employer. Using carefully considered keywords and terms in your interview provides you with a way to put across your capabilities and relevance for the role. In this article, we list 10 powerful interview words you can use to structure your responses in an interview.

Related: Job Interview Tips: How To Make a Great Impression

Choosing words to use in an interview

Using the right words in an interview leaves your interviewer with a positive impression. Many companies have a mission statement that uses keywords for summarising their values and how they wish to be recognised. The inclusion of these company-specific words may also be advantageous in framing your responses during the interview. The job description is also a useful reference point for aligning yourself with the role in which you're applying.

Related: 71 good interview questions to ask candidates

10 effective words to use in an interview

Interview keywords can provide you with a powerful means of conveying your experience, skills and suitability for the role. Here are 10 words for you to use during your next interview:

1. Passionate

Using the word "passionate" in an interview gives you the chance to explore what interests or excites you about a role. It also provides the opportunity to express enthusiasm and who you are as a person. However, if you use the word passionate in an interview, you may have to explain what you're passionate about and why. This is where your research on the job you're applying for comes into effect, allowing you to demonstrate that you understand the company and the role.

Example interview question: "Why do you want to work at our company?"

Example answer: "I'm passionate about helping others who cannot help themselves. Your employer-supported volunteering programme would provide me an amazing opportunity to continue to give back and serve the community."

2. Responsive

"Responsive" is an action word that can make you appear alert and ready for work. Many employers want someone on their team who responds promptly to communications, requests, problems and tasks. Saying that you're responsive inspires confidence that you're a motivated individual who's going to be productive.

Example interview question: "What strengths do you think you bring to a team?"

Example answer: "In a team environment, I make it a priority to be responsive so that information and tasks that I'm responsible for can be handled promptly. This allows the team to progress and reach its goals."

Related: Interview Question: 'What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?'

3. Flexible

Employees across all industries and sectors can benefit from adopting flexible working practices that allow them to adapt to their roles and complete tasks effectively. "Flexible" is a keyword that is likely to engage an employer, as it indicates that you can respond positively to any changes introduced in the work environment.

Example interview question: "If we bring staff into the office on a rotating basis, how would that work for you?"

Example answer: "I find that being flexible helps me respond better to changing schedules and new work routines. So, I'm open to any type of scheduling that this company has in place."

4. Achieve

"Achieve" is a great word to include in an interview conversation. It not only tells the interviewer that you've accomplished something but also that you put effort into attaining a goal. Saying "I achieved" indicates you've had to overcome some challenge or adversity to succeed in the area you're discussing. Employers favour this expression because it demonstrates that you can work hard to gain new skills and establish yourself in your job.

Example interview question: "Can you share a recent achievement in your personal life?"

Example answer: "For many years, I was afraid of entering deep water, but with the help of amazing teachers and a supportive swimming adult class, I recently achieved my swimming goals and am looking forward to swimming much more in my personal time."

5. Diverse

Inclusion of the word "diverse" allows you to place disparate experiences and skills in a positive context. For example, you may be returning to the workforce after illness, parenting full time or a career break. You may have also worked a variety of jobs that provided you with an array of experiences. The word "diverse" can be used to explain the breadth and uniqueness of experience you can bring to a role.

Example interview question: "How do you think your previous jobs and experiences have prepared you for this role?"

Example answer: "This customer-facing position will bring me into contact with a range of people from all backgrounds. I hope to draw from my diverse employment and volunteering experiences to find things I have in common with my customers that will engage them and hopefully win sales."

Related: Interview Question: "Tell Me About Yourself"

6. Reliable

Many jobs have some teamwork involved, meaning you may need to demonstrate that your colleagues and management can rely on you to play your part as you work together toward shared goals.

Example interview question: "What do you consider one of your best qualities?"

Example answer: "I attempt to be a reliable person in the relationships and interactions I have with other people. I find that maintaining consistent performance inspires confidence in others and helps put them at ease, especially in high-pressure situations."

7. Initiative

Taking the initiative can be a compelling phrase to use in certain interviews, where it can show that you look for ways to add value and service to your job. However, for certain employers, initiative can be interpreted as being presumptuous, so using this word is best framed by an example or anecdote.

Example interview question: "What would you do if you were confronted by an angry customer?"

Example answer: 'I've found myself in this situation before. At that time, my supervisor wasn't immediately available. I had to use my initiative to de-escalate the situation, moving the customer to a quieter area of the store, offering seating and water and listening to the customer make their complaint. Once they were calm, I was able to explain to them the absence of management and take contact details with a plan for the store manager to follow up on the complaint as soon as they were available."

Related: Follow-Up Email Examples for After the Interview

8. Teamwork

Teamwork, or being a team player, is desirable to any employer, as it helps to maintain momentum, achieve goals and keep standards high. By making collaboration a part of your interview, you're making it clear that you can work successfully with others and integrate well into a new team.

Example interview question: "How do you think your previous manager would describe you?"

Example answer: "I hope I'd be remembered in my last job as being a team player, as I always enjoyed the process of understanding and supporting the other functions and roles within my team."

9. Impactful

Including the word "impactful" during your interview can give positive energy and engagement to the process. Use this powerful word with reference to positive aspects of the organisation you're hoping to join. It may get the panel to more actively listen to what you have to say.

Example interview question: "Is there anything you'd like to ask or share with us?"

Example answer: "I've spent a lot of time researching your graduate programme, and I find your commitment to funding time for new hires to volunteer as tutors in local primary and secondary schools impactful, as I've been the beneficiary of this kind of educational support."

Related: Tips for Preparing a Presentation for an Interview

10. Learn

"Learn" is a short but powerful word that communicates to recruiters that you're teachable. It can be especially important if you're applying for a role similar to your previous one, as employers can be confident that you're willing to adapt to your new company's work practices and methods and not purely rely on old skills.

Example interview question: "Is there anything you'd like to learn while you're in this role?"

Example answer: "I was able to browse your inventory of products and noticed that you source key components from local manufacturers. It would be great to learn how your choice of components enhances your product offerings, so I can share this with sales prospects."

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