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10 Things Nobody at Work Needs to Know About You

By Elizabeth Bromstein

We are living in the age of the overshare. We know about people's menstrual cycles, mental illnesses, sex lives, and relationship troubles. We know when you're drunk, when you're sober, when you're bad, when you're good, and when you're lying in the fetal position crying.

In some ways, and on some platforms, this is good. This climate has helped alleviate the stigma of mental illness, for example.

But that doesn't mean your whole life should be about the personal broadcast. There is a time and place for everything, and the things you might share with your friends or personal network are not necessarily suitable for the office. The workplace is one where discretion wins the day. You never know how people might react to certain revelations. And those reactions can and will affect both your day to day relationships and your career as a whole.

It's far safer and more professional to lay off the oversharing at work.

10 things nobody needs to know about you at work

Who you voted for. OK, maybe your politics are a big part of who you are, in which case you go about knowing that trumpeting your opinions might affect your personal and professional relationships and are OK with that because being pro life/pro choice/anti-gun/libertarian is more important. But if this isn't you, avoid political discussions with your colleagues and superiors. You don't know the political opinions of the people who can affect your career and discussion can lead to all kinds of problems.

What you think of them, if it isn't positive. If you don't like someone, there is no need for them to know that. Keep it to yourself. This means being nice and polite to that person and giving no indication of your dislike.

That you hate your job/boss/office/coworker. Similarly, there's no reason for anyone to know that you can't stand your boss or the guy who sits next to you. If you really have an issue, such as harassment, go to HR or find a new job. Don't talk about it. Even people who seem sympathetic to your position can turn around and stab you in the back.

The reason you can't get the thing done that needs to be done. Everyone hates excuses. If you want to get ahead professionally you will take care of your responsibilities, deliver what you promise and do what you are asked. Nobody needs to know that you didn't sleep well or have the sniffles or had a fight with your partner. Only in very rare circumstances — a serious illness, death, or accident, should you be excused from your duties. Not because your printer wasn't working.

The condition of your digestive tract/rash/foot fungus. If you are going through a serious illness that will affect your attendance, job performance, and/or morale, by all means let your colleagues know what is going on. But don't give a daily play by play of your aches and pains or digestive processes. You never know who you might make uncomfortable.

How much you make. While some companies have transparent salary policies, be aware that knowing what other people make and vice versa can lead to all kinds of bad feelings and jealousies. It's dangerous to go through life comparing yourself with others. Resist the urge to ask and to tell.

Why you need a raise. If you're asking for a raise, keep the request about why you deserve it and not about why you need it. Nobody cares that you took out a second mortgage. You're not a charity case. Prove that you deserve it by listing your accomplishments and showing your value.

That you have a sexual attraction to inflatable animals, or cars or whatever. You know what I mean. Even if your sex life is fairly vanilla, keep the details to yourself. While you might be a sharer, not everyone wants to be shared with, and a lot of people can be sensitive, squeamish, or guarded about that sort of thing.

That you're mad. I know a few people on social media who are always outraged about stuff — from big hot button issues, like large game hunting, to small things like random sexist comments from anonymous strangers on small blogs nobody reads. It is super off-putting to be up in arms and angry all the time. It also makes people afraid to talk to you.

That you're job hunting. If you've decided it's time to shove off, don't let your colleagues or boss know. Your boss will figure it's time to start looking for your replacement — which might mean it's also time to hurry you out the door — and your colleagues might tell the boss. Keep your job search on the down low or you could wind up jobless before you're ready.

From First Impression to Follow-up: Hiring Manager Shares her Perspective on Every Step of a Job Interview

By Colleen Clarke

I recently sat down with Human Resources Consultant Lorna Hegarty of LCH Resources, to talk about job interviewing. She gave me the inside scoop on how most encounters look from the hiring manager's side of the desk. Here's what that can mean for candidates.

First impressions

  • Visuals are the first point of contact. Employers assess your look before you even speak, so what you are wearing, how you carry yourself and the energy you exude are noticed and weighed first and foremost.
  • Dress appropriately for the company environment and the position you are applying for. Wearing a suit to a Tim Horton's interview might be over the top, but wearing jeans would be going too far the other way. Dress up.
  • Carry a neat and attractive brief case, portfolio case or purse. Do not put it on the desk. It doesn't have to be expensive, but it has to look nice. Don't bring plastic bags.
  • Use a pen that you know writes and doesn't have the Holiday Inn or some such company name written on it.
  • Ensure your shoes are polished and the heels are not scuffed or worn down. Ladies either have fully polished matching nails — or no nail polish at all. No chips or anything in between. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed.

The initial greeting

How you behave in reception may be noted and the receptionist may be stage one of the interview. Treat all gate keepers with kindness and respect. (That's just good manners anyway.)

The host, hiring manager or HR recruiter, will greet you and make small talk. Be prepared to talk about local news and current events comfortably. Be (or act) genuinely interested in engaging conversations. You should be trying to make a connection here.

Lorna says that a polite interviewer would not call you on poor grammar use or saying "like" multiple times in a sentence, ("So, like, I went to the store, right, and there was, like, no milk at all left in the fridge") but that it will be noted and held against you. Proper communication is considered a job asset for most roles.

Getting the interview started

If you are perceived as being nervous, a gracious interviewer will continue with the small talk or may offer you water or coffee until they feel you have calmed down and are ready to go. Accept water, not a hot drink.

Once the hiring manager sits down, the formal interview will begin. Make regular eye contact, but remember, it's not a staring contest. Weaker candidates avoid eye-contact out of nervousness or over-stare to compensate.

You can almost set your clock by the opening question being some version of, ‘Tell me about yourself!'

  • The answer is about how you would be able to work in the role being interviewed for. They are looking for an organized response. They want to know you can do the job and that you possess the skills the ad requires. The number of children in your family and the fact you like to snow board is not relevant at this juncture.

The heart of the job interview

  • Never interrupt when a question is being asked. Demonstrate that you know how to listen. Pause after the question is asked and answer with a Situation/Action/Result story. People don't remember words so much as they remember stories.
  • You may be asked WHY you majored in math or why engineering appealed to you as a faculty of choice. Prepare an intelligent, truthful response that mentions skills you are good at and enjoy doing. Also be prepared for the answer to ‘Why do you want to work at our company?' This is to test what you know about the company and the contributions you are prepared to make.
  • Ask intelligent questions throughout the interview.
  • When asked a weakness or development question never mention a skill or strength that is required in the job as being one of your weaknesses.

The wrap up

  • The interviewer will wrap up the interview. It looks bad if the candidate cuts it short. Try to have a question or two at the end unless the interview has been three hours long and absolutely everything has been covered. You may even ask the interviewer, ‘what do you like most about working for this organization?' or ‘what changes have occurred within the company (or your industry) that has affected the company in the last year?'
  • Thank the hiring manager for their time and for selecting you to be a candidate. Tell them you are excited about the position, if you are, and what a great opportunity it would be for you.
  • Pack up at a moderate pace. There's no need to rush out or dawdle about either.


  • Email a thank you note to the interviewer within a day or two reiterating your interest in the position and showing appreciation for their time.
  • It's okay to follow-up again, but don't stalk the employer. Repeated follow-ups won't increase your chances of being hired and can end up making you look desperate.

Three Stories You Must Prepare Before the Job Interview

By Elizabeth Bromstein

In any job interview, you will have to answer behavioural questions.

What are behavioural questions? They're questions that ask you to describe what you have done — your behaviour — in a variety of situations. These help employers to determine not only whether you will be capable of doing the job but what sort of person you are, whether they will enjoy working with you, and how well you will work with the rest of their team.

There are dozens of examples of behavioural questions. I've listed some below and you can see more here. You can't prepare answers for all of them. But if you prepare just three stories to take with you to any interview, you can cover a lot of ground. It's imperative that you this, because these questions will be asked.

Here are the three stories you should prepare and some samples of the questions to which you might use them as answers:

A time when you solved a problem: Think of a time when you had to demonstrate your problem-solving skills by getting creative, or using logic. Maybe you persevered, solved a mystery, and/or completed a project without the proper resources. Find a story that illustrates your drive, initiative, creativity, motivation, and, of course, problem solving skills.

Sample questions:

"Describe a situation in which you had to get creative to solve a problem."

"Tell me about a time when you were able persuade someone to change their mind."

"Describe a time when you overcame a large obstacle to complete a project."

A time when you had to deal with conflict: Think of an instance when a customer or prospect was belligerent or extremely difficult or when you had to deal with warring factions among team members. Describe how you resolved the problem and came out smelling like roses. Be sure not to put down or insult anyone else in the telling. It's better to say a client "was having a difficult time" than "was being a total butthead."

Sample questions:

"Tell me about a time when you were able to diffuse a situation."

"Describe a time when you worked closely with someone who had very different ideas from you."

"Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation."

A time when you totally knocked that ball out of the park: What are your biggest career accomplishments? Of what are you most proud? Talk about a time when you did a super amazing job. Describe how you went above and beyond to do it, or how the success came naturally. You can also talk about the challenges you faced or the curveballs that were thrown your way. Find the story that really illustrates how awesome you are.

Sample questions:

"Tell me about a time you set a goal and either met or exceeded that goal."

"Describe a project you created and saw through to fruition."

"Tell me about your greatest accomplishment."

Craft your stories, memorize them, and structure them like real stories — with a beginning, a middle, and an ending. Don't take too long to tell them and don't be too perfunctory.

These three well-crafted stories will put you one big step closer to getting hired for the job you want.

20 Negative & Unproductive Things Your Brain Says During the Job Search & How to Respond

By Elizabeth Bromstein

Sometimes your brain is your worst enemy. During the job search it will say all kinds of things to sabotage you. Here's how to respond.

I don't know where to start.

Start somewhere. Anywhere. Start by updating your LinkedIn or resume, or by reaching out to your network.

Let's watch TV instead!

No. Turn off the TV.

I don't know what I want to do!

If you aren't sure what you want to do, start by making lists of your dream jobs, and skills and qualifications. The figure out what you can do, and start from there.

It's too late in the day. I'll start tomorrow.

Start now. Don't wait until tomorrow. Even if it's just ten minutes of making lists, you'll feel much better if you do something productive.

Can we just drink and play Temple Run instead?


I don't have enough experience. I'll never get a job.

Yes, you will. You might not get the job you want but you can work your way towards it. You need experience to get experience. You just need to figure out where to start.

Nobody is going to see my resume, anyway. Applying for jobs online is like sending your resume into an abyss.

I know it feels that way but it's not true. There are people are the other end waiting to look at resumes. I swear.

I know! Let's stare at social media!

Do not stare at social media. I know I can't stop you from scrolling through your Facebook feed, but limit your time. Stop wasting it. Regroup, then shut it off.

But that guy who commented on the thing is WRONG! We have to set him straight by arguing with him for three hours.

Leave it alone, for Pete's sake. You know that arguing with people online is a stupid waste of time. Stop it. Just walk away.

Meh. I don't need to look. Something will come along eventually.

What? A job offer is just going to walk in the door and sit on your lap? That isn't going to happen. You need to be proactive.

But what if I get a job and I hate it?

What a dumb question. Then you'll get another job. It's way easier to get a job if you already have one. Employers hate unemployment.

The other candidates will be more qualified than me.

Maybe. You don't know that. Unless you apply. But if you already know where the holes are in your skills and qualifications, why don't you start figuring out how to fill them in?

I don't have all the qualifications. I shouldn't apply.

Employers routinely ask for qualifications they don't actually need these days. If you meet 75% of them, you should apply.

I don't have all the qualifications. I should totally apply.

As long as you have 75% of them. Otherwise, you're wasting everyone's time. Be reasonable.

What if the interviewer hates me?

Then you will fix what you did wrong and wow the next interviewer. Don't give up.

What if they say no? I'm so tired of people saying no.

I know. It's hard. But even if you hear "no" a hundred times, remember that it only takes one "yes" to change everything. And, if you keep trying, someone will eventually say yes.

No they won't. I have bad luck.

That may be, but the only path we have to changing that right now is to persevere. Keep trying.

What if I fail?

Then you fail. It won't be the end of the world. And you'll do better next time. Or you'll fail then too. But you're more likely to get somewhere if you try.

I'm not good enough. I'll never get a job.

Are you serious? Look, lots of people have jobs and there are surely some who are worse than you. I mean, some of them must be, right?

Is that seriously the best pep talk you can give? That's, like, the worst pep-talk ever.

Whatever. I'm tired of arguing with you. If you want to be dissatisfied and out of work forever, fine. Just don't come crying to me when you're old and you've wasted your entire life watching TV and getting into Facebook arguments. Is that what you want?

No. OK fine. I'll start updating my LinkedIn. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW!?



Good. I was just doing tough love. You're actually awesome and smart and talented and you can do this. I believe in you and I will always believe in you.

Aw. Thanks, buddy.

You're welcome.