We understand. Sometimes the interview is intimidating! And in some cases, it would just feel better and easier if you could connect with the interviewer on a more personal level so the whole process just flows easily like a conversation. In many ways, that approach works! However, it can become problematic if one attempts to form that connection using topics that fall into the conversation danger zone. Let’s look a bit closer at what these subject areas are and why it’s best to just avoid them altogether.
The classic controversies to avoid
We all know that we aren’t supposed to talk about things like religion or politics during interviews—or really in many of our daily casual interactions with others. The most obvious reason is simply the fact that you wouldn’t want to offend the person with whom you are speaking, especially since you’re hoping to receive a job offer! So needless to say, if you offend your interviewer with controversial talk, the odds of getting hired will begin to stack up against you.
However, it actually gets a bit more complex than just offensiveness. In fact, it’s quite possible for the interviewer to actually genuinely agree with your viewpoints but still consider this conversation to count against you as an applicant. That may seem counterintuitive, so let’s break it down.
If you were working for this company, you would automatically be a representative of the organization in all your interactions with the public. And with interviews in general, interviewers consider this to be a moment where you are putting forth your best professional self. If your most polished professional self is already breaking the rules here, interviewers may have doubts about your ability to stay diplomatic with customers, clients, etc. So while he or she could be comfortably chatting with you about their similar viewpoint, they actually could be wondering why you brought this up and what it means about your interpersonal skills.
None of this is to say that you shouldn’t engage in ANY personal conversations with interviewers! When trying to form the connection and make this a conversation, it’s important to find the balance; certainly form a personal connection, but you’ll want to do so while also maintaining the professional connection that is equally important. We are all human and enjoy interactions more when we can have meaningful conversations with others. It’s certainly acceptable to be yourself, make conversation, and form a connection. But with conversations that are also a business transaction of sorts, it’s just always advisable to use a bit of a filter and make sure none of those controversial conversations sneak in.
Written by Adam Lafield, Recruiter