Open Colleges

5 Topics to Avoid During a Job Interview

by Elizabeth Harmon
Posted: June 18, 2015

  Return to blog home


So you’ve landed yourself an interview for your dream job, congratulations! Now’s the time to start preparing, by researching the company, planning your answers to typical questions and setting your alarm so you can be up bright and early to make a good first impression. But as well as all the things you need to remember to do, it’s also important that you’re aware of what topics you should avoid.

During a standard interview, an interviewer will ask questions to determine whether you would be suitable for the role. However, you will also have the opportunity to ask your own questions. This is your chance to establish whether the company is the right fit for you and to show your enthusiasm for the role. However, there are questions you should try to avoid wherever possible, even if you’d really like to know the answer! To help make sure you only ask “safe” questions, follow our Open Colleges guide, with 5 topics you should avoid talking about and why:

1. Basic Information

Although asking questions about the business may appear to be thoughtful, it could backfire. If you ask questions where the answers are readily available online, it will reveal that you haven’t done your research prior to the interview. This can be a concern to the interviewer, who may then question your suitability for the role, along with your work ethic. Therefore, always make sure you do your homework beforehand, so you can show how much you want the job.

2. Salary and Holiday

Never ask the interviewer how much money you will get paid, how much time off you will receive, or what benefits the business has. This makes the assumption that you have already been offered the role and can set off alarm bells for the interviewer as it suggests you’re more interested in the benefits than the role and may not be fully committed. If you do get offered the job, you will have the opportunity to discuss these areas then.

3. Politics and Religion

It’s always best to avoid talking about politics and religion in your interview, unless you are being interviewed for a role in either of these areas. Everyone has their own views and so you don’t want to get into a heated debate during your interview, where you could unintentionally offend the interviewer. If the topics are brought up, listen, but don’t interject your own views. Instead, politely try to bring the interview back to topic.

4. Complaints

Did you leave your previous role or work experience placement on bad terms? Have you been looking for the right job for a while? Have you been turned down from other interviews? Don’t bring any grievances or negative information into the interview room. Try to keep conversations positive, otherwise you could come across as unprofessional. If you are asked about any areas where they could be negative, try to answer with a positive spin where possible.

5. Personal Information

Although an interviewer will be trying to find out more about you, make sure you know where the line is. A little small-talk can help to break the ice, but don’t divulge too much information about your personal life. Stay professional and only share what’s relevant towards getting your job.

We hope this list of topics helps you make your next interview a success. Understanding which topics to avoid can mean the difference between landing your dream job and losing your job offer. Therefore, if you feel like you’re talking too much about your personal life, or touching on subjects that involve strong opinions, quickly try to steer the conversation back on topic.

Do you think there are any other topics that should be avoided during an interview? Leave us a comment below with your suggestions!


Elizabeth Harmon

Elizabethis an experienced Freelance Social Media Consultant based in the south of England. She works with a growing number of clients all around the world, showing businesses how to use social media more effectively and helping them to get the maximum benefit from it.

Interested in online study?

See what it’s like with our 7 day free course trial.

Find out first-hand what it’s like to study with Open Colleges. Experience our world-class learning platform for yourself and discover how online learning can work for you. There are no obligations and no payment details required.

Start Today

Course areas