Is there something on your resume that is not favorable to a potential employer? Examples include being fired from a previous position, a prolonged gap in employment, or changing industries. Don’t let them slow you down. An interview is the best place to address those concerns head-on. Here is how you can handle questions around those red flags in an interview setting and lay any employer fears to rest.
Be Honest and Upfront About Your History
While it can be difficult to sugar coat a firing to a prospective employer, and you are better off not trying, honesty is truly the best policy. This is also true for lack of experience and an employment gap. Honesty is the best policy. Tell interviewers what happened as objectively and honestly as you can while still remaining diplomatic of others involved. There are hundreds of reasons people get fired or take a break, and most employers recognize this.
Try to remain unemotional and objective when explaining what happened to a prospective employer. An interviewer is learning about and evaluating your response to difficult situations as much as they are interested in your documented employment history. The worst thing you can do is lie. Any lies could potentially be found out through background checks and reference checks and are reasonable cause for being let go.
Stay Positive When Talking About Past Experiences
Rather than blaming previous employers or bad-mouthing coworkers when explaining a firing to a prospective employer, keep your explanation simple and to the point. Focus on the facts and try your best to not place blame. Taking responsibility for past mistakes and communicating how you plan to improve your interactions in the future will tell employers that you are ready to move on from the incident and that you are capable of taking criticism in stride and being constructive in your communication of difficult topics.
Describe What You Learned and How You Grew from the Experiences
Rather than dreading the explanation in a job interview, you should appreciate the opportunity to describe what you learned from the experience. This will help to minimize the potential damage of being fired may have on future job opportunities and will show your ability to learn from your mistakes and take disciplinary action in stride. Once you are able to think about a firing objectively, it’s important to think about what could have been done differently from your position that might have resulted in a different outcome. Communicating those lessons learned to an interview will help to lessen the impact of firing on their perception of your work history. You can also use the conversation to focus on the positives that came from the experience.
If you are addressing a prolonged work gap, talk about what you did with your time. What passion projects did you take on? What responsibilities did you manage? If you are in the process of changing careers, talk about what experiences prepared you for this new role you are applying for? What successes and accomplishments outside of past job titles make you capable of succeeding in the new job? An interview is the best place to address these topics directly, so don’t shy away from those red flags. They are often the most valuable talking points you can leverage in an interview.
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