Job Interview? 4 Reasons To Keep Your Mouth Shut

Last Updated May 24, 2011 9:35 AM EDT

Nervous about an interview? Psyched about one that went well? Share carefully. "As far as openly discussing the interview, that's a great way to sabotage yourself. You should only discuss your interviews after you've accepted the offer," says career coach Carolyn Thompson, director at Dixon Hughes Goodman.

Executive coach Cheryl Palmer, M.Ed., CECC, CPRW, founder of Call To Career, agrees and notes that with social media, blindly blabbing is easier than ever: "It is now common for individuals to post everything that is happening on their lives on social media. But when it comes to the interview process, it's best to keep mum about it until the job is actually yours."

Here are four reasons to be discreet (in person, on the phone, or online) about an interview:

1. Everyone's Just Not That Interested Whether they are friend, family, or business contact, your whole network doesn't need to know about every job interview you go on. "When you post information on social media, here's my rule, 'Post something that is of value to others.' How does telling the world you have an interview help anyone in your circle? It doesn't," says J.T. O'Donnell, CEO of CareerHMO.com.

2. But Your Current Employer May Be Curious While your not-so-inner circle could care less about how your interview went, your current employer certainly does. "Some companies regularly check on their employees to see what they are posting on social media," says Palmer. "If you happen to work for one of those companies, you could be broadcasting your intention to leave before you know for sure that you have another job waiting for you. Some companies will fire you if they know that you are looking. Plus, if you don't get the job everyone will know that you didn't make the cut."

3. Your "Friends" May Be Enemies It's a tough job market, so beware of saboteurs on and off-line. "There is always the possibility that someone who doesn't like you could try to sabotage you. Hiring managers rely heavily on information that they glean from people in their networks to determine who they should hire. If they obtain negative information about you from someone who has something against you who knew of your candidacy for the position, it could ruin your chances of getting the job," says Palmer.

4. You May Invite Further Competition Even if no one tries to sabotage you, someone you know may decide to throw their hat into the race. "People tend to associate with people of similar backgrounds. If your social circle knows about the role you are applying for, there is a good chance somebody will want the job as well and apply for the same position," says J.P. Sniffen, Western recruiting manager and partner of Orion International. Why risk adding to your competition?

Of course, if you've been out of work, you may be more open about looking for opportunities (but still be cautious of appearing desperate). And even if your job search is confidential, you should mine your network for potential help with landing a job. Just do it discreetly: "Instead of public tweets or status updates, focus on introductory calls and emails; enlist your trusted circle of champions, mentors, and colleagues to help you to get introduced to those decision makers in your target companies and industries that you don't already know," says Colette D. Ellis, principal of InStep Consulting, LLC. Of course, after you get your great new gig, feel free share your joy -- within reason. "Once you've 'landed' and sealed the deal with your new employer (and alerted your current employer), then you can make your transition more public via other social networking strategies if you choose to do so," says Ellis.

Have you ever lost an opportunity because you were indiscreet? Please sign in below and share.
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    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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