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4 examples of confidentiality interview questions

When does confidentiality matter? Maintaining the confidentiality of information is essential in many professions, such as the medical field, the legal industry, IT, finance, and HR. Disclosing privileged information can not only result in a breach of trust but can also have legal consequences.

How to answer confidentiality questions

Interviewers need to see how you handle confidential information and that you know when to be discreet. Companies expect their employees to show good judgment and professionalism in handling sensitive matters so that’s what they’ll be looking for in candidates. In getting ready for your interview, have a look at our confidentiality interview questions and answers to help you prepare answers.

How to answer confidentiality interview questions

When posing their questions, the interviewer will not directly ask how you handle confidential information. Instead, they’ll present you with scenarios. Your approach to these situations will show them that you have experience dealing with sensitive issues and know when to be discreet. To get an idea of what employers are looking for in a response, click here.

Q: A member of your team asks for information on a coworker’s salary. What do you do?

In the US, the National Labor Relations Board states that employees have the  right to communicate with other employees about wages, whether through face-to-face conversations or social media. However, employers are not compelled to disclose this sensitive information, so make sure your answer is in the best interests of the company.

Sample answer: “I would invite my team member to speak with HR so we can find the root cause of their concerns. If they’re worried they’re not paid enough, we can re-evaluate their salary structure and do a performance review to see what can be done.”

Q: You accidentally receive an email addressed to the HR Manager that contains confidential company information. How would you react?

A data breach is a serious event so effective communication is critical when one occurs. Interviewers want to see that you act quickly and decisively in this type of situation.

Sample answer: “I would immediately notify the sender that the email was sent to me in error. I wouldn’t open any attachments nor would I copy or forward the email. To maintain confidentiality, I’d delete it from both my inbox and trash.”

Q: A potential client asks for a detailed roadmap of one of your company’s products. How do you respond?

A product roadmap is a visual take on the workings of a product, the inspiration for it, and its future developments. As you can imagine, these are company secrets that shouldn’t be made public. The trick is to maintain your discretion without losing a customer.

Sample answer: “I would thank the customer for their interest in our product and let them know that I will forward their questions to our product development team for in-depth answers. I would also be happy to arrange a meeting with a representative of the development team if the client would prefer to have a direct conversation.”

Q: How can you ensure the security of digital document sharing?

In a world of cyber-attacks and data breaches, the last thing you need is your company’s intellectual property being leaked. Explain what type of security measures you would use to prevent this from happening.

Sample answer: “I would first recommend creating a policy for handling confidential documents so all employees know what procedures to follow. This includes items such as password protection and changing passwords regularly, as well as not using public or unsecured Wi-Fi when working remotely. Only certain employees would be able to access confidential documents through a rights management tool, and all transmitted data would need to be encrypted. I would also track and record when and by whom sensitive data is accessed.”

Final thoughts

With the advent of digital workspaces and social media, it’s become increasingly difficult to maintain confidentiality. Employers are looking for employees they can trust to protect their information and work ethically and discreetly. Now that you’ve mastered answering interview questions regarding confidentiality, check out our values-based questions and answers here.

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