In June, I posted a blog called 5 Interview tips that change your A game to and A+ game. I received a comment that requested examples of questions that can seem harmlessbut may cause you to reveal too much information. This post will give those examples.
My particular post: BE WATCHFUL—remember the interviewer is trying to get as much information from you as they can. S/he is aware of the questions that cannot be asked. However, the interviewer has ways to get information without your knowing it. Questions can be asked that may seem harmless enough, but your answer can reveal more about you than you want to share.
It isn’t just answering the questions that can reveal information about you. What you do also reveals information about you. Here are some things that can happen:
- In the waiting room, there is a variety of reading material. What you choose to read shows your interests. Parenting magazines you have children. Asking that would be illegal. Stick to company or industry literature.
- Small talk before the interview. Asking someone how their Christmas was answers the religion and probably marital questions. Keep your answers general without giving specifics.
- Asking about other positions you are interviewing for. This is powerful. If you say you are looking at a variety of different types of positions says you are looking for a job not a career. If you give the name of their competitors, they know their competitors are also hiring. Sticks to the skills you bring to the companies and why you are the best fit for this position. Avoid divulging anything about other companies.
- The question why did you leave your last job and how many other people were let go indicates your competency. If you were the only one let go, red flags will go up. But if you were part of a larger group, it’s typical of today. Don’t take the opportunity to bad mouth your former employer as it is another indication of your character. Stick to the facts and just the facts.
- You may be left to wait around with an employee making small talk. This comfortable chat with a particularly likable person is designed shed more light about you. While chatting about familiar topics can show your interests, prejudices, what happened at your last job, family information and so much more. Stick to the topics like the weather and facts only of anything else, no opinions.
- The interviewer is silent. You will start to ramble and say more than you planned and should say. Answer the question and when you are finished. Wait for them to ask another question or ask one of your own.
It isn’t my intention to make you paranoid of the interview. But I do want to alert to you the situations you could find yourself in. You don’t want to give out information that would jeopardize your candidacy. If you are aware of this type of interview, you will recognize it quickly and respond appropriately. Don’t let them know you know. Be aware and be prepared.