It's easy to find information on what questions you'll be asked at an interview and how precisely you should answer them, but what about questions you shouldn't answer? I know, it sounds a little crazy - I mean, it's an interview for a job! Shouldn't you answer everything they ask? And, for the most part, the answer is yes. But there are some things that your future employer doesn't need to know about you, and hopefully this will help you avoid answering questions that could have a negative impact on your career.
The general rule here is to never answer a question about something that a company is forbidden from discriminating against; things like race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. On top of this, you should avoid answering questions that are regarding topics you shouldn't discuss at work - politics and intimacy, for example.
Some of these questions might seem like friendly conversation, but it's important to remember that your personal life should stay personal. Your coworkers are not your friends, and when it comes down to it, their career and personal agenda will come before you every time. While it would be impossible to list every way the person interviewing you might try to sneak these things in, I can at least give you a general idea of how it might come up. Here are just a few examples.
- Are you in a relationship?
- Is your family from around here?
- Politics have been pretty crazy lately, right?
- Did you vote?
Notice that these are all pretty straightforward questions. The problem is that it can seem like innocent, honest questions, which they probably are. But the important thing to remember here is that no matter how benign their motives are, these are topics that should never come up in the workplace, and especially not an interview.
Now, like I said, these questions aren't exactly out of the ordinary, so if they are brought up, it's not an immediate red flag. Simply skirt around the question politely and turn the conversation back to the job and your qualifications. However, if the person(s) interviewing you keeps pushing for an answer, it's not a good sign. No matter how badly you wanted that job, it's never a good idea to work for someone who clearly cares too much about something that shouldn't affect them at all.
In the end, it comes down to listening to your gut. Trust your instincts, stay on your toes, and enjoy the experience, no matter how tedious it may seem!