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During job-interviews you are sometimes asked about things that you do at your current job. About processes or how you manage something e.g. how you deploy software, how your quality assurance looks like, what tools you are using etc.

This might be considered confidential but if you say that you cannot talk about it then there is virtually nothing left.

I thought about when I next time get invited for an interview I'll request the interviewer (and other persons) to sign a NDA before we start. Is this a good idea to bring my own documents and ask everyone to sign it? Have you done this before?


Disclaimer: Some people seem to forget that downvotes are for expressing that a question is off-topic or otherwise unclear etc. and that it should be improved and not for voting whether the subject or it is a bad idea - this is not meta. Maybe it's not a good idea, maybe it does not deserve up-votes but it certainly does not deserve so many downvotes only because you don't agree with that. Under this circumstances I won't accept any answer.

closed as primarily opinion-based by gnat, paparazzo, GOATNine, Twyxz, Mister Positive Sep 12 '18 at 14:17

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Is this a good idea to bring my own documents and ask everyone to sign it?

It's a terrible idea - one certain to start the interview off on the wrong foot.

You seem to think that it's okay for you to disclose your company's secrets - without their permission - if you get an interviewer to sign a document you invented. Sorry, that's not how it works.

If you are asked a question you don't want to answer or aren't permitted to answer then just say that you can't answer. If you signed an NDA at your company, then you are bound by it not to disclose things. You cannot pass off your responsibility for disclosing confidential information. A document won't do it.

I don't believe I know an interviewer that would sign your document. I know I wouldn't.

  • OK, then why is it fine if the interviewer asks me to sign something like this? A similar question but the other way around has over 30 votes. Why should I not be allowed to do this? It's for their and mine protection. – red-shield Sep 11 '18 at 17:58
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    Also, an interviewer probably wouldn't / shouldn't want to sign an NDA without having the company lawyers look over it, and management having a discussion about whether it's worth it (since the interviewer will be unable to discuss parts of the interview with others, which is often a fundamental part of the hiring process). At that point it's probably just too much effort for one candidate they still need to make a decision about (unless it's the most amazing candidate ever). – Dukeling Sep 11 '18 at 18:06
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    @red-shield NDAs almost always exist to protect proprietary company information. An interviewer may wish to share sensitive company info with you to convince you to join, but in order to prevent you from spreading it around they would want an NDA. You are not a company and don't have any proprietary information to protect, so it doesn't make sense for a candidate to have the interviewer sign an NDA. – David K Sep 11 '18 at 19:05
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You can request it.

It likely is a good way to end an interview fast. Because of - no lawyer present.

Couple of points:

  • If your information is confidential, you are not allowed to disclose it, regardless whether ther recruiter signs an NDA with you or not. The only case an NDA is "legally ok" is if it is about YOUR code and YOUR confidential information. Anything else is blatantly wrong - in fact, if you just talk you are better off because the NDA preparation can be seen as intent to disclose in court.

  • If you think a recruiter has the authority to sign this document then you have delusions about how much authority grunts have. Any employed recruiter will have to run it through their legal department. Same for all others. IF you need an NDA etc- which may in VERY rare cases be a valid concern - this must be between the relevant parties (i.e. who own the confidentiality?) and it must be prearranged because legal checks and signing authority. Yet to se a single case of a valid request, though, in 20 years or so.

  • Any high level question is generally ok to be answered (we ue git etc.) and not a secret to start with. Any lower level question is a serious problem and no, I never disclose production code, customer or internal (ok, own a software company doing projects but we have some inhouse stuff that we do).

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There are things you can do to answer these sorts of questions without getting into the details of what your previous company did (and breaking their NDA). Some tricks I use include:

1) "Tell me about a time when you had to do xxx in production": Rather than tell them the exact tool you used or the configuration you had, say "I used a tool similar to...". Remember: every tool is "similar to" itself! You could also describe the tool: "I used a tool which could do xyz" without naming the tool.

2) "Describe how you would design a database to model xxx" (when this is similar to a task you had previously): Just don't mention that this is something you did previously! Don't say "At company x, they do it this way", just say "I would do it this way".

3) "Tell me about a time when you used xxx technology/xxx design pattern/xxx tool": You don't have to say where it was that you did it. You could say "a previous company" (if you have many companies on your resume where some of them are outside of the NDA duration), or you could say "on a previous project" (which could mean employment project, school project, or personal project).

IANAL, but I believe the way it works is you can't say "At company x, they do xxx using yyy tool and zzz tech stack", but you can say things like "I have done xxx using yyy tool and zzz tech stack"; as long as you don't say specifically that company x does that.

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