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Talking Politics and Your Job Interview

According to a Pew Research study, America has never been more polarized, and more so by politics than any other issue! So, as our country is in the full-swing of debates, commercials, online memes, and much more during this presidential election year, the topic of politics may be impossible to avoid.

However, especially if you are job hunting- and interviewing – this is a topic you should dodge. Whether you are someone who feels so passionately about your candidate and the issues that you can’t imagine not “educating” anyone who asks your opinion, or someone who is so ambivalent you may not even vote; be diplomatic and evade the debate.

Normally, I never advise candidates to sound vague or evasive during a job interview or on the job. Interview questions should be answered directly and with examples of how you successfully handled an issue, problem, or task. However, unless you are interviewing for a job in the political arena your political views may be a deal-breaker to the hiring manager. Don’t bring up politics unless asked, and even then proceed with caution.

Think about these tips before you start talking politics and the upcoming election during a job interview:

  • Listen. If you can listen to an interviewer’s political rant without comment, or by stating a simple, non-committal “that’s an interesting point”, that’s probably your best route.
  • Use a political comment to segue way into a topic change. “Speaking of principles, I understand you have a great corporate culture here! Everyone seems very happy…”
  • No matter how receptive your interviewer may appear to be to your political views, avoid going down that road. Keep the discussion to the job at hand, or very neutral small-talk topics: the local sports win last night, construction traffic, or the lovely fall weather.