3 Words You Should Never Use to Describe Yourself in a Finance Interview


Finance interviews are your chance to put your best foot forward. This means using language to accurately describe why you could be a difference maker to an organization.

There are, however, several words that could sink your finance interview ship.

To avoid torpedoing your chances read on.

Not only is the word ‘perfectionist’ overused, it comes with some negative connotations. Does this mean you can be difficult to work with? Do you take too much time to complete tasks because you’re never satisfied?

Instead use the phrase ‘take pride.’ Telling a hiring manager that you take pride in your work lets them know that you’re invested and that the final product will be high quality, detailed and well-written.

Strong Communicator
Unlike the word ‘perfectionist,’ which suffers from negative associations, the phrase ‘strong communicator’ lacks specificity.

Use the term ‘collaborative’ when describing your communication style, or explain that you have excellent cross-functional communication skills. Outline the benefits that come with your skill set such as increased buy-in or consensus building. And always have an example ready to show how you’ve delivered specific wins for the organization or team as a result of how you communicate.

As finance and accounting recruiters we’ve grown wary of the word ‘expert.’ This could be because so many people oversell their skill set. If you’re describing yourself as an Excel expert then there are certain expectations that go with that (like being able to write VBA’s and Macros in your sleep). Only use the term ‘expert’ if your years of experience or certification back you up. Otherwise it’s best to describe yourself as ‘intermediate’ or ‘experienced in’ with some specific examples of what you’ve done.

The language that you choose to describe your skills needs to be accurate and positive. Choose words that position you as a difference maker and have examples ready to illustrate them. Doing so will help the interviewer gain the knowledge to make an informed choice and help position you as someone worth hiring.