How to Answer Interview Questions Regarding Confidentiality

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Confidentiality on the job is vital to being professional and trustworthy. An employer wants to know that you can keep trade secrets and that you will respect customer and client privacy. Focus your interview answers on your discretion and ability to follow company and industry confidentiality standards.

Describe the types of information to which you had access in previous positions and how you kept that information confidential. Interviewers may start out by asking general questions about the types of information you had to keep confidential. You may also explain how you stored and destroyed information -- without breaking any confidentiality agreements with past employers. Explain the types of filing and storage systems with which you are familiar. State specific laws and regulations regarding confidentiality that apply to your industry.

Explain that you understand the need for confidentiality in situations in which you had to share confidential information and that you were able to disclose the confidential information sensitively and carefully. Interviewers may then extend their line of questioning to discussing exactly how you took measures to keep information confidential from unauthorized persons when it had to be shared with others who had proper access. Employers may want to know how you dealt with any risks involved. For example, you may have had to take a file out of its secure cabinet to share its contents with someone who needed to know the information. Tell the employer about the precautions and safeguards you took to ensure the file got back into its secure location.

Describe how you were able to communicate with co-workers the information they needed without divulging confidential information to them even if they asked for it. Employers may ask about your ability to keep confidential information to yourself, despite the temptation to share it with others. Your answer should display comfort in keeping information confidential from colleagues. Your confidence in yourself in refraining from caving to pressure from co-workers will be well-received by the interviewer.

State how you were careful when working with customers or clients in situations requiring discretion and tact, always considering the long-term relationship with them. Employers may want to know how you managed to keep customers and clients happy when you dealt with their confidential information. State that you were as careful as possible about guarding their confidential information and that you understood the importance of maintaining a positive working relationship with them. Provide examples of the measures you took to ensure confidentiality.

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