How to Discuss Career Setbacks in an Interview

At some point or another, most of us have experienced setbacks in our career. These setbacks might instantly make you feel nervous about your interview, but it is important to remember that you have been invited for interview, so the employer obviously liked something about your resume. The main way to deal with career setbacks is to be positive and confident about the path you are taking and to be prepared to explain yourself. These are some types of career setbacks and how to discuss them during an interview. Employment Gaps There can be all kinds of explanations for employment gaps and the employer will just be looking for you to explain them. The employer may be concerned about large employment gaps, as they will worry about how you will be able to fit into the workplace and the routine of going to work. However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have a chance of getting offered the job. It is imperative that you can explain what you did during the time you were not employed. Whether it was looking after your children, doing a training course or volunteering, these are all good ways to explain the employment gap. Employers just want to be sure that you are proactive and that you haven’t just spent the time procrastinating. Being Fired If you have been fired from your job, this can be difficult to explain during an interview. It is important though, that you are completely honest as the employer will respect this. Don’t be tempted to lie, as they might find out when they obtain your reference and this will just make you look worse. There may be all kinds of reasons for being fired; sickness, not enjoying the job or working environment. You should always be able to offer an explanation and an honest one at that. Career Change If you have been on a certain career path and this is a completely new job, it may seem like a setback but it can also be viewed in a positive way. It may be that you just wanted a new challenge and this can be a good thing, rather than a negative. As long as you can explain your reasons for a career change, there should not be any reason for the employer to be concerned. Be Enthusiastic When discussing any setbacks in your career, you should aim to be enthusiastic. For example, if you are explaining a career gap, you should talk about how keen you are to get back into the working environment and how the time you spent off has given you fresh motivation. If it’s a career change, explain why you have changed course and be as enthusiastic about the employer and role as possible. It is important to remember that the employer just wants to know that you will be a good employee and you can make this clear to them, no matter what setback you have encountered.

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