Have you ever said something in an interview and walked out completely regretting it? That's what happened to one of my Pongo colleagues several years ago. She had an interview lined up for a great job, and had just found out she was pregnant. Everything about the interview was perfect, except for the part when she shared the great news about her pregnancy. As she left the building, she realized she would never hear from that company again. (And sure enough, she didn't.)
In most situations, it's best to be honest and up front, but there's a time and place for everything. In a job interview, there are certain topics that can quickly take you out of consideration for the job if you voluntarily reveal them.
Here's a short list of five types of information you never want to volunteer in a job interview:
- YOU'RE PREGNANT (OR TRYING): When an interviewer hears, "By the way, I'm pregnant," their immediate thought is: Oh boy. This job requires months of training and she'll barely be up to speed before she takes a leave of absence. And what if she never comes back? Save the good news until you have a job offer in hand, when you can present the news along with a plan of how you'll make it work for both you and the employer.
- YOUR POLITICAL LEANINGS: Many employers are wary of hiring someone who'd be quick to push their personal political views in the office, making others uncomfortable and getting in the way of productivity. Mention anything that hints at your political standing in an interview and you're forcing the employer to reconsider your professionalism and how well you'll fit with the rest of the team.
- YOUR RELIGIOUS VIEWS: See # 2. Same concept.
- HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO MAKE: "So, how much do you want to make in this position?" Um. I...uh...well...uh....I think...well. Never go into an interview without a good idea of what you're worth and what a reasonable salary range for the job should be. (Suggested sites: PayScale.com and Salary.com.)
- YOU'D RATHER BE DOING SOMETHING ELSE: Times are tough, and you may be willing to settle for less than your ideal job, but the employer doesn’t want to hear that. Employers want you to WANT to work for them; they don't want people who are just there for the paycheck or to get by until a better opportunity presents itself. Show some enthusiasm, even if you have to fake it.
My point? Keep your focus on the value you bring to the job and the employer, and leave those personal interests unexposed.
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