Chances are that if you have been on an interview many different topics were discussed. The main objective for an interviewer is to extract information from potential candidates. You need to come prepared to answer all of the possible questions, but there are definitely some topics that you should avoid at all costs. If these topics do arise, be prepared to mitigate the damages you would otherwise bring upon yourself. Loaded questions are commonplace in these situations, and you need to have a plan to work your way out. It will take some preparation, but you should always have a response to even the most difficult questions.
1.) Complaints About Previous Job
Even if you dreaded coming into your job every day, and could not wait for the work day to end, you need to spin all of your previous positions in a positive light. Human resources is not expecting you to love every aspect of your past employment. However, instead of focusing on what you did not like, you should focus on what could be improved. For example, if you were displeased with your managers, focus on the aspects of their jobs that they could improve on. Being positive can go a long way when you are looking for a new role.
2.) Personal Interests
Some people choose to include their hobbies on resumes, which is fine. But, you need to understand how heavily scrutinized your resume will be. Hobbies should only be included if they require skills that will further your career. Otherwise, its wasted space on your resume that could be filled with more pertinent information. Feel free to discuss similar hobbies if the interviewer brings it up, but show that you are more interested in the job by leading the conversation back to interview topics. Human resources will realize how serious you are.
3.) Salary and Benefits
Immediately bringing up salary / benefits will only hurt your chances of finding a new career. It shows that the job is not as important to you as the paycheck. Before you go into the interview, there are plenty of places to gather a general idea of how much you will be getting paid. If you think it is too low for you, then do not waste anyone’s time. If you are a good fit for the role and human resources decided to hire you, they will provide you all of the salary / benefit information that you need. The internet is a great place to research this information ahead of time.
4.) Religion or Politics
If you have a religious or political belief in common with your interviewer, that’s great. However, unless you are applying for a career directly related to one of these topics, then you should avoid these discussions at all costs. If the interviewer wants to talk about it, then just listen, and spin the conversation into a question regarding the position at hand. Eliminate the small talk and get down to business. This will highlight your professionalism and display your enthusiasm for the job. You never know what somebody else believes in, and people usually feel very strongly about politics and religion. You can have your debate once you land the job!
Interviews are all about being professional and showing what skills you can bring to the table. It is all about proving your value. By bringing up topics that should be avoided, you hurt your chances of landing the role. So, next time you find yourself at an interview, side-step these topics and discuss real questions, issues, and concerns related to the position at hand. Set yourself up for success and the rewards will soon follow.