Interview Tips: When to Share Personal Information to Land a Job

Interview Tips When to Share Personal Information to Land a JobIt’s NOT always inappropriate to discuss your personal life during a professional conversation — including during a formal interview, informational interview, or while networking.

However, so few interviewees or job seekers bring their personal experiences into the mix for fear of coming across as unprofessional — and as a result so many miss the ultimate opportunity to be memorable, seal the deal, and land a new job.

Watch to learn when it is perfectly appropriate to share your personal experiences as well as when it’s critical to enhancing your candidacy.

Hint: If you are switching careers then your motivation behind this switch is one instance when bringing in personal experiences makes sense and offers a much needed explanation for your switch.

FYI: Aside from strategically including personal information during an interview the same guidance in this video can be applied to your cover letter. Check out for a highly effective cover letter template!

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.


  1. Souzan on October 19, 2016 at 4:59 am

    RE: Motivational Personal Info

    Hi Melissa,

    I hope all is well with you.

    I recently had an interview with the hiring manager who is also the person the position reports to.

    Information about the interview:
    Hiring Manager, is an Empathetic Family Man who cares about the community he is from and is also a Salesman.
    The 10 minute interview turned into 2 hours (asked about salary expecations too) – at that point I believed that the job was mine.
    He then awkwardly and with an automated tone of voice said ‘Well, we will be interviewing till the end of this week, and will get back to you by next week should there be an offer’
    I naturally panicked, since in the back of my mind im thinking I got this! After some thought I responded with the following facts to show him that I have a huge motivation behind me ” We had recently had an involuntary financial burden due to the death of my brother in law, we took on the financials of his 5 year old son AND our nanny has been diagnosed with 5th stage kidney disease and there fore we are taking care of her expenses. He was very empathetic and quite emotional about it too.

    SO in your opinion, taking into consideration that I have everything that he is looking for in a candidate. would that ending disqualify me as a candidate OR did it show that I would be very successful since I have a bigger purpose?

    • Melissa Llarena on October 22, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Your personal motivation is valid however an alternative strategy is to validate precisely the qualities that the hiring manager was seeking in a candidate that you have exhibited. I would only advise sharing these personal stories if they are relevant to the core job – for example if you went in to a center where they administer chemo therapy then you can say how cancer has touched your life personally otherwise it could be seen as irrelevant. Your next step is to write a thank you note that sells your qualifications solely for the job. Good luck.

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