If you didn’t mean to discuss ‘something’ during an interview then DON’T!
It is a major red flag when a candidate, be it senior or junior, says to you during an interview “well, I didn’t really want to discuss this…”, or “I know it’s not really professional or acceptable to speak about this during an interview but…”
Such examples may include a pending lawsuit you may have against your previous employer, or how you just didn’t get along with any of your co-workers in a particular job. Though these may be true and unfortunate, I wouldn’t suggest sharing every detail especially during the initial interview stages/process.
Yes, it is important to be transparent but there is no need to share every nitty gritty detail in an interview. As a professional you must be able to distinguish between what is relevant and what is not. An interview is not an opportunity to make new friends or to vent about your hardships, but rather the time to show your most professional self and to highlight details that are relevant to the position you are targeting.
Over the years, we have seen many qualified professionals miss out on great employment opportunities because they revealed too much and over-shared personal information. When walking into an interview, please leave all of this at the door (all true stories):
- marital status (or pending divorce), as well as your need to consult your spouse for any every decision you are making
- number of kids (their names, hobbies, pictures)
- lawsuits (pending or former)
- conflicts (personal and professional)
- religious preferences and convictions … unless you are applying to be a member of the clergy, of course
“But shouldn’t I be honest?”, you say. Well, keep in mind that honesty is demonstrated via fully transparent answers to specific questions posed to you. Naturally, you should never lie in an interview. Unprompted “honesty” (ie: over-sharing), on the other hand, points to a temporary lapse in your judgement skills and hence raises a red flag. It is imperative to stay focused during an interview and portray information relevant to the position and organization being considered.