CNBC make it 2024-03-16 02:00:49

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

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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Psychologist in Finland, the No. 1 happiest country in the world: 4 phrases we use every day

For the last six years, Finland has been ranked the happiest country in the world. I’ve lived here most of my life, and as a psychologist and happiness researcher, I’m often asked: what exactly makes people in Finland so satisfied with their lives?

You may be surprised to learn that Finnish people are often the first to question this characterization. Our national self-image is that we’re quiet, introverted and somewhat melancholy types. This doesn’t exactly align with being the happiest people on earth.

However, research has shown that those most desperately seeking happiness tend to be less happy. So if true happiness is best achieved indirectly, without paying too much attention to it, that is something Finnish people excel at.

A big part of our satisfaction stems from how the country’s institutions care for its citizens. But our culture and values also play a key role in how we approach life and think about happiness. It is evident in these four phrases we use all the time. 

1. ‘Who has happiness should hide it’

In Finland, we tend to believe that if you’ve found happiness, you shouldn’t show it. Arguably, this is a strange expression. Why should you hide your smile when the world treats you well?

This saying, coined by Finland’s national poet Eino Leino, stems from the modest national temperament. Overt displays of wealth and success are shunned here.

For example, in Helsinki, the capital, you will rarely see fancy or expensive cars on the streets. Even the CEOs and financial sharks here tend to drive boring Volvos and Volkswagens rather than anything that would make them stick out.

It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others, which often has a negative effect on our happiness. However, in Finland and other Nordic countries, people tend to be more oblivious to those comparisons — and more content.

2. ‘The pessimist will never be disappointed’

This is an old Finnish saying without any clear origin. It’s always just been a cultural constant. 

We believe that setbacks are a fact of life. You will experience pain, disappointment and even tragedy. This isn’t something we’re frightened of because we know we have the tools we need to emotionally weather these challenges. 

One of my favorite philosophers is Charles Peirce. He was an American, but his philosophy of “meliorism,” — essentially that things are neither the worst or the best but always “capable of improvement” — is an attitude that many Finnish people, myself included, share. 

Whatever your situation, there is always something that can be made better. Accepting these inevitable struggles, while focusing on what is still in your hands and can be improved, will keep you active and energized even during tough times.

3. ‘Everyone is the blacksmith of their own happiness’

This is a saying that has roots in ancient Rome — “Faber est suae quisque fortunae” — but has long been quite popular in Finland. It reminds us that we all have to forge our own happiness. It will not be given to us on a silver platter. 

While everyone must take responsibility for their own life, research shows that who we are, what we can accomplish in life and our happiness is often the sum of the people around us. How much support we get often determines where we end up in life.

With that in mind, I prefer a modified version of this phrase: “Everyone is the center forward of their own happiness.” 

In ice-hockey, one of Finland’s most popular sports, if you are playing center, you have to put in the work to try to score. However, if your wingers and defenders don’t pass the puck to you, you will be left alone. We need both our own effort and the support of our community to succeed.

4. ‘Some have happiness, everyone has summer’

This is another beloved Finnish expression that has been handed down for over 100 years.

Most Finnish people understand that while there are aspects of our lives we can influence or change, there are so many things we simply can’t control. So there is no point in envying those who are happy right now, even if we are struggling.

Sometimes life gives, sometimes it takes. Tomorrow someone else might be the one having a rough time, while something delightful comes your way.

We Finns know that, no matter the situation, you can always count on one thing: sooner or later, summer will come to us all.

Frank Martela, PhD, is a Finnish philosopher and psychology researcher who studies the fundamentals of happiness. He is an assistant professor at Aalto University in Finland and the author of ”A Wonderful Life: Insights on Finding a Meaningful Existence.” Follow him @frankmartela.

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If you and your partner use any of these 5 phrases regularly, your relationship is stronger than most

Speaking to your partner with respect and appreciation is important, especially in times of conflict.

The most successful couples, according to psychologists, regularly express devotion, understanding, and contrition.

Here are the five phrases that couples who have a strong connection use most, according to experts.

1. “Thank you.”

John and Julie Gottman are psychologists who have studied more than 40,000 couples in search of answering the question: What makes love last?

The one phrase they say all successful couples use often is “thank you.”

“A thriving relationship requires an enthusiastic culture of appreciation, where we’re as good at noticing the things our partners are doing right as we are at noticing what they’re doing wrong,” they wrote for CNBC Make It.

This is especially true for small, everyday acts, they say.

“Tell them why that small thing is a big deal to you: ‘Thank you for making the coffee every morning. I love waking up to the smell of it and the sounds of you in the kitchen. It just makes me start the day off right,’” they say.

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2. “Help me understand this.”

Harvard psychologist Cortney Warren says successful couples don’t avoid conflict, they just better navigate it.

We often assume we know what our partner is saying when in reality they might be expressing something more nuanced or totally different.

“If your partner reacts to a situation in a way that you don’t understand, telling them that you want to know them better is key to resolving conflict and bonding at a deeper level,” Warren wrote for CNBC Make It.

3. “I can forgive you. Can you forgive me?”

When you’re in the heat of an argument or at the end of one it can be hard to express forgiveness. Do it anyways, Warren says.

“Studies have shown that couples who practice forgiveness are more likely to enjoy longer, more satisfying relationships,” she says.

4. “I am committed to you.”

“Being in a relationship is a choice,” Warren says. “Reassuring your partner that you’re still choosing to be with them and to work through challenges will help create a sense of safety and stability.”

This might seem obvious, but communicating your promise to one another can help you and your partner feel validated.

5. “I like you.”

“The healthiest couples don’t just love each other, they like each other, too,” Warren says. “Loving someone is an intense feeling of affection; liking is about seeing them for who they are and acknowledging the attributes you enjoy about them.”

Even if you and your partner aren’t arguing, remind them that you like them.

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If you use any of these 4 phrases you have higher emotional intelligence than most

In February 2024, the question “What is emotional intelligence?” was Googled three times more than it was a decade ago, according to data from Google Trends.

The uptick in interest makes sense: in recent years everyone from CEOs to therapists have touted the benefits of having high emotional intelligence or EQ.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage your own feelings and the feelings of those around you. Those who have higher EQ tend to be better at building relationships both in and outside of the workplace, and excel at defusing conflict.

EQ isn’t as easy to quantify as other types of skills because empathy and self-awareness are hard to measure.

One way to figure out whether or not you have high emotional intelligence is to think about the last few conversations you’ve had.

“Anything you say that demonstrates empathy and listening, I believe, signals higher emotional intelligence,” says Matt Abrahams, a Stanford University lecturer and communication expert.

Here are two things those with higher emotional intelligence do, according to Abrahams.

1. Paraphrase.

Summarizing what another person says indicates that you are listening and that you are correctly characterizing their message or story.

Some phrases you can use, according to Abrahams, include:

  • “What I hear you saying is … ”
  • “Let me get this right … ”

Then, paraphrase what they said.

″[These phrases] also happen to validate the person because it feels good to be summarized,” Abrahams says. “And that tends to build liking and trust, which are important and people who have high EQ tend to do this well.”

2. Ask questions.

People with high emotional intelligence demonstrate “deep, active listening” Abrahams says. You can show you’re engaged in a discussion by asking questions that have a more emotional leaning.

Abrahams offers up two examples:

  • “How did that make you feel?”
  • “What might have led you to that?”

Both show interest and concern for the other person.

The right body language can also help you demonstrate empathy, Abrahams says.

“Making eye contact, nodding your head, saying ‘uh huh,’” can all show you’re invested in the conversation.

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The 16 highest-paying college majors, 5 years after graduation

If you’re looking for a college degree with maximum earning potential, you’ll want to be an engineer.

Engineering degrees took nine of the top 16 rankings for college majors with the highest income five years after graduation, according to a recent New York Federal Reserve study of full-time workers.

Computer engineering majors ranked first with an annual median salary of $80,000, followed by chemical engineering and computer science — the only two other majors that pay more than $75,000 annually.

The trend is expected to continue going forward too. STEM jobs — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — are expected to grow twice as fast as non-STEM jobs through 2031.

Here are the 16 highest-paying college majors:

The technical knowledge, mathematical proficiency and problem-solving abilities required in engineering are valuable across many industries. As such, the profession tends to have higher salaries compared to other occupations.

Engineers also get top dollar when they gain more experience. When looking at “mid-career” graduates — those ages 35 to 45 who are working full-time — engineering majors tend to make six figures.

Here’s a look at the rankings for mid-career graduates:

Once again, chemical engineering is ranked first, with $133,000 in annual median income. Chemical engineers get paid well since they often work in lucrative sectors like oil and gas, pharmaceuticals and semiconductor manufacturing.

In contrast, the lowest paying majors tend to be in liberal arts or education. Early childhood education had the lowest pay for mid-career earners, with $48,000 in annual median income. That’s only $8,000 more than the $40,000 early childhood educators make at the beginning of their careers.

Data for this annual study was compiled from U.S. Census data from 2022, the most recent available. The study excludes majors currently enrolled in school and is limited to a working age population aged 25 to 65, with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

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