Job Search Tip of the Week – 03/01/2016

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How to Navigate Your Way Out of this Interview Trap:

Talking About Your Past Employer

An interview at your dream job begins. Five minutes of short talk later, the moment you have been dreading has arrived: your interviewer glances at your resume and asks, “Why did you leave your former place of employment?”

Your response to this question (or some variation thereof) allows your interviewer to gauge your interpersonal and communication skills. More specifically, what you say indicates your professionalism and overall attitude.

How do you respond? Talk about how what you accomplished during your position at the organization motivated you to want to challenge yourself more.

If you are directly asked about your relationship with a former employer with whom you did not get along, be as honest as possible without shooting yourself in the foot! Never bad mouth a former employer and always try to find something good to say, whether it be about the people with whom or the location at which you worked. Negativity will only lead your interviewer to believe that you have a predisposition to criticize and blame, and that you would be a detrimental addition to the work environment.

Focus instead more on the advantages of your potential employer. For example, you could say, “There were many things that [former employer] did well, but I feel that [potential employer]’s business approach and management style are more conducive for long-term success.”

Remember: Acknowledge any issues, but be brief. What is important is to emphasize what your experiences at your former place of employment taught you without making anyone lose face or becoming defensive. Do not mistake your interviewer’s silence as a signal to provide more minutiae of a situation; you will be digging your own grave.