8 Interview Questions on Confidentiality (With Example Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 21, 2022 | Published May 25, 2021

Updated June 21, 2022

Published May 25, 2021

Knowing effective ways to answer all interview questions about confidentiality can improve your odds of having a successful interview. Regardless of the job you apply for and what the hiring company is, providing good answers to confidentiality-related questions can have a direct impact on your chances of being hired for the respective open position. Knowing how to properly answer questions on confidentiality is a valuable skill, but it requires research. In this article, we discuss some of the most often-asked questions regarding confidentiality, explain how to answer them and provide sample answers.

8 interview questions about confidentiality with sample answers

These are eight of the most commonly asked interview questions regarding confidentiality:

1. If the company's CEO would share some confidential information with you, what would you do if another top-level executive within the organization would ask you about it?

Interviewers usually ask this question to assess the candidate's understanding of the concept of confidentiality within the company, what their comfort level is when holding valuable information and their ability to keep certain information private, even to coworkers.

Example answer: “Since the CEO didn't specifically mention that I am free to share this information with anyone, including people from within the company, I shouldn't disclose it without their consent. I would calmly and politely explain that I don't have any information that can be shared with them."

2. How would you react if you would find out that a coworker is sharing confidential internal information regarding the company?

This question aims to assess your view of coworkers sharing confidential information, as well as your interpersonal skills. The best way to answer is typically by saying that you would initially try to convince the coworker that their actions may impact them both personally and professionally and if you wouldn't see a clear sign of them recognizing their mistake, you would immediately report the situation to a supervisor.

Example answer: “I would first try to have a private conversation with them and make sure they realize the mistake they made and how it could potentially impact their career and personal life. If they recognize their mistake, I would consider the matter closed, but if they would try to defend or deny their actions I would immediately report the entire situation to my manager.”

Related: Interview Techniques To Ace Your Next Interview

3. How do you think an organization like ours should store and protect delicate information?

Some hiring managers choose to ask this question to see what your knowledge is regarding the kind of company information that you think should be kept private and the methods you would use to do so. You should answer by mentioning that you would protect physical documents by placing them in a safe place with limited access and virtual documents with special encryption software that only the company's stakeholders can access.

Example answer: “I would make sure that all important and confidential physical documents are kept in a safe inside a locked room, with clear specifications regarding the people who have access to them. I would also use special encryption software to protect the company's documents from being viewed by anyone except the people with clearance to do so.”

4. How would you react if a close friend would ask you about a new program that your company is involved in and with details that are still unreleased to the public? They promise not to mention anything to anyone about this.

Interviewers ask this question to see how the candidate is able to differentiate personal loyalty from professional loyalty. The most appropriate way to answer this question is by clearly stating that you would not ever disclose details about your work that are not public, not even with close friends or members of your family.

Example answer: “I would try to find a delicate way of telling my friend that I cannot discuss private company matters with them, or anybody else for that matter.”

Related: 21 Key HR Policies, Procedures and Forms

5. How would you act if you accidentally received an email or phone message with sensitive information regarding one of your colleagues?

The hiring manager may ask this question to assess your attitude regarding this situation and other similar ones. You should be firm in stating that you would not disclose that information to anyone. You can either say that you would delete the email or text and avoid thinking about the matter, or that you would contact the sender and make sure they won't repeat their mistake.

Example answer: “I would contact the original sender and tell them that they accidentally messaged me instead of the intended recipient. I would also assure them that I won't disclose this information with anyone, ever.”

Related: Top Phone Interview Questions to Ask Your Interviewer

6. How would you react if you heard one of your colleagues sharing confidential information about the CEO to another company employee?

This question's purpose is usually to assess the candidate's reaction to someone else breaking internal confidentiality rules. You should first and foremost say that you won't share your newly-discovered information with anyone else. Although not many employees actually report a colleague for disclosing confidential information in real-world scenarios, this is the type of response that the hiring manager is expecting.

Example answer: “First of all, I would keep the information to myself. Given the fact that my colleague breached a vital confidentiality agreement that may jeopardize the entire organization, I feel I would be obligated to discuss the matter with my manager.”

7. When discussing the company's products and plans with various partners and potential clients, how do you differentiate the things you're allowed to say from the confidential ones?

The interviewer can ask this question to see the candidate's thought process regarding how they determine various pieces of information as confidential. You should show them that you are able to make the difference by saying that you would be happy to mention any unique selling points or special properties of a certain product or service, but would not get into any details regarding the production or marketing processes and generally regarding anything else that may be replicated by a competitor.

Example answer: “I would do my best to promote the company and their products by mentioning some of their most relevant qualities and ways in which they can improve our customers' lives. However, I would be very vague regarding how the organization designs, manufactures, promotes and sells their products, as this information may help our competition.”

Related: Bringing Notes to an Interview: Should You Bring Notes to an Interview?

8. Describe a previous professional situation in which you showed your ability to safeguard confidential information.

The interviewer may want you to think of a concrete situation in which you successfully kept confidential information secret, as further proof that you are aware of what constitutes confidential information and that you are committed to protecting it.

Example answer: “At my previous workplace, my manager trusted me with the list of Christmas bonuses a few weeks in advance, but told me to keep the information secret, as differences from one employee to another may cause interoffice issues. My colleagues found out I knew how much extra money they would each get for Christmas and were desperate to know, so they can make plans for the Holidays. However, as I promised to the list them confidential, I simply told them that I am unable to share it with them.”

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