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Learning when to keep your views to yourself

Learning when to keep your views to yourselfImage Credit: Supplied

When you walk into an office for a job interview, the goal is, of course, to make the best impression. Such an impression should be as close to reality as possible. But is it a sellable package?

You won't head for an interview unkempt, or decide not to answer questions. In short, you would do your best to present a combination of the right skills, education and experience as well as a personality that fits the corporate culture.

Along with the typical job-interviewing tactics, be sure not to get carried away by being too passionate with your beliefs. In fact, bringing up any political, social, economic or religious issues puts too much weight on them, which can always go wrong. That is not to say you should suppress issues that are meaningful to you to score a job, but you should realise that a job interview isn't the right place or time to bring them up.

Unless these topics are related directly to the job and where your declaration of ideology is a must, better stay focused on topics that are related to the tasks, the company, your experience, etc.

In fact, many of these topics can make a hiring manager uncomfortable because of discrimination concerns. Yes, it may be no problem for you to mention your faith, marital status, or ethnic background, but for a hiring manager any positive or negative comment made in response to your statement could mean this factor is swaying the hiring decision one way or another. So unless directly asked, don't just volunteer such information.

With that in mind, keep the following points in mind if a job interview is getting out of focus.

* The hiring decision

Just like you probably don't want to be discriminated against for your views and beliefs, you probably also don't want to be hired for the same. Why then bring up the topic?

For example, in terms of pay, placement or coworkers, you better keep your views out of the equation. In addition to the stress this could cause hiring managers, they also could take away valuable time you could use to elaborate on relevant experiences directly related to the job.

* Employer concerns

If the hiring manager gets the impression that you feel so strong about some views that you are obliged to bring them up in the interview, it would be safe to assume you will do so at the office too — frequently. Regardless what they are — even if they are positively received by the individual — they could still be worrying as to how others will view it and the potential harm of having conflicts as a result.

Another concern is how you will view and accept leadership from those who disagree with your views. The problem in this case isn't with your views, but with the weight they get from having them brought up in the initial phases of the hiring process.

* Neutrality

Companies are not think-tanks to be monitored by the public for where they stand on political and social issues. In fact, many businesses try to maintain an official line about where they stand on major controversial issues. Whether you agree with this line or not, unless you are the company spokesperson, the company probably may be concerned about your vocal attitude. If you must share your views during the interview, make sure to assure the employer the views remain yours.

Many employers now have social media policies... so be sure you check them for any restrictions. Generally as long as you keep your opinions outside of the office and clearly not to be confused with any corporate communications, you will be out of trouble. The key, however, is to ensure you are not perceived otherwise during the critical decision making about your hiring.

Here are the seven golden rules to impress interviewers

Source: Rania Oteify, Special to

The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor