We want them to be our boss, and we know that bosses get what they ask for… so we offer up answers without thinking of the subtext behind a question (even though we know a question about travel and working overtime could also be a legal way to figure out our family dynamics and military status).
It’s not lying to give your responses using more formal language than you’d use with a group of friends. You aren’t being dishonest if you don’t mention your spouse’s military affiliation while defining your own short and long term career goals (it’s illegal for an employer to ask about your marital status anyway). You should not feel compelled to offer up information about an ailing parent, a spouse navigating health challenges, or plans to become pregnant.
This is not a matter of being honest or dishonest: it’s a matter of seeing the difference between your professional identity and your personal life. They are not one in the same—and recognizing the difference between the two shouldn’t put you in a state of anxiety. Instead, learning how to create these partitions between your personal and professional life can be liberating.
You are not obligated to give all of yourself to any corporate organization. In the civilian world, there are parts of your life that solely belong to you.
When it comes to interviews and building professional contacts, it’s okay to be genuine, to be honest—as long as you remember to be strategic.