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Career advice

TMI: How Personal is too Personal?

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by Shell Bongares

about 2 months ago

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They say honesty is the best policy, and I am a firm believer in that.

Talk to anyone who knows me on a personal level, and they’ll tell you I’m a very open and honest person. However, there is a clear line between being honest and over-sharing. This is definitely tricky and can be difficult to discern at times, but one of the best ways of figuring out this dilemma is by asking yourself:

  • am I truly comfortable disclosing this to a potential employer/my future boss?

Or moreover,

  • is this morally appropriate to say in a professional setting?

Even with those questions, you may just be someone who’s quite comfortable at disclosing anything and everything about yourself which can be quite refreshing – but if you’re wanting to get the job, you need to ensure that you’re putting your best impression forward. That means having to really think about whether what you’re saying is particularly relevant to the question that was asked.

Here are a few general tips to remember:

DON’T:

  • go on long-winded, unnecessary tangents
  • give out specific names of (ex-)colleagues/clients/customers and talk about their personal lives
  • talk about an ex-colleague’s failings and what they did or didn’t do

DO:

If you can sense yourself starting to ramble a little too much or you feel like you’re droning on and on, you’re probably at that point of over-sharing. As much as the potential employer/hiring manager/recruiter you’re interviewing with may be nice, welcoming, and approachable, that doesn’t mean they aren’t oblivious to what you are revealing about yourself and your previous experience. After all, their job is to discern whether you would be the right fit for the role.

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