The typical job interview tends to cover a lot of topics. Potential subjects include past employers, future goals, and even your family life. However, there are a few topics that are strictly off-limits during the initial interview process.
Politics or Religion
If there are only two subjects you should never talk about in a job interview, these would be it. Even if you’re pretty sure that the hiring manager agrees with your viewpoints, it’s a topic that’s best left to friends outside of the workplace. Those who choose to align themselves with one party or another often have disagreements amongst their own peers, and this certainly isn’t the time to start an argument.
Some jobs, especially some of the more progressive companies, might welcome this type of discussion amongst employees. However, these topics should still be avoided in the initial interview or onboarding process. If you are passionate about politics or religion, wait until you’ve had some time to adjust to the workplace and your new employees before bringing your opinions to light.
Drinking or Partying
Never talk about your involvement in drinking or partying during an interview. Although it’s perfectly fine and legal for you to consume alcohol if you’re over the age of 21 in the United States, it’s not something that your employer wants to know about.
There are many negative implications associated with drinking and partying. A hiring manager might think you’re unreliable, unorganized or otherwise unfit for their company. Instead, try to emphasize any volunteer work you do around the community. Highlighting the positive activities you do in your free time is far more effective than bragging about the time spent at the local bar.
You can talk about your past employers to a point. In fact, you might even be asked some questions about your past career. However, never talked about a past employer or co-worker in a negative light. For starters, your past employer’s actions, attitude or activities don’t affect your current employer.
This kind of talk can actually backfire. Not only does it paint you as a negative person, but your new hiring manager will be left wondering what you’re going to say about them at your next interview. As a good rule of thumb, keep the conversation pertinent to the job in question and as optimistic as possible.
Cheating, Lying or Stealing
Never mention cheating, lying or stealing during a job interview. This isn’t even something you can joke about. Your new hiring manager doesn’t know you well enough to recognize your humor yet, and they might not take kindly to this kind of joke regardless.
In fact, joking about such things might make your new employer think that you are promoting these activities. They might even think that you’ve been personally involved in cheating, lying or stealing in the past.
Maintaining Focus on the Positive
As mentioned, it’s important to maintain your positivity and optimism during a job interview. If a hiring manager brings up one of these topics, do your best to address it in a way that is professional and tactful. This is a great way to avoid the topic without ignoring the question altogether.
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