Marriage, Better Opportunities, Higher Education or Lay Off are only a few of the many causes of an employment gap in our otherwise fulfilling careers. The most dreaded part is however to face a grilling Interview post the gap as the Interviewer will definitely put forward this query in the rounds. Being prepared to address this question can not only help you sustain the interview but also win your employer’s confidence. We will show you how to confidently address the questions thrown at you in relation to the gaps in your career and get hold of the job.
Update Your Resume
Your Resume should be able to talk about your employment history even before you speak up however there are ways which can avoid drawing attention to the gaps. A gap of few months can be covered by mentioning only the years of employment on your resume. Small gaps of unemployment will be of no challenge at all even if the interviewer brings it up.
Let’s Face the Music
A good interviewer needs to make sure that the candidate being interviewed was not asked to leave the previous company due to any behavioural or performance issues. Hence, they will be quick to identify the gaps from your CV. More the unemployment gap more the inquiries. The Interviewer will be keen to know more about your former employments and the reason to leave the prior job, focusing on the time frame which is not covered on your resume as part of paid employment. They will then probe more to understand why there were a gap and your motivations in utilizing that time period. Be ready to get bombarded with questions in relation to the gap and answer confidently. The best way to deal with this question is to be prepared with your points and begin with what you have already mentioned in your CV.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Be honest and don’t be tempted to cook up a story during the interview so as to avoid being caught off guard. Employers are smart and well aware of the state of jobs in the market. Mostly all candidates have inevitable job gaps these days owing to the current scenario of recession and cost-cutting. Being truthful about the gap period will ultimately benefit you because employers can get all information provided to them verified and background of candidates checked. Reasonably and righteously explain the gap.
Be Brief but Comprehensive
Don’t have to over explain a gap rather be to the point and give all the information clearly. Talking for long on a gap can be considered as trying to present some other story or justifying overly. Presenting your reasons short and sweet will definitely give you more brownies in the interview round. Your confidence and positivity will increase your interviewer’s trust in you.
Say No to Blame Game
Blaming your previous organization or situation for your gap will end you up nowhere but leave a lasting bad impression on your interviewer. The interviewer will but helplessly think that after hiring in a few months, you would also blame the new organization. An interview should always be on a positive note, any negativity will showcase you with lack of professionalism and motivation.
Attitude Makes All the Difference
Your attitude will make all the difference in the interview. If you fumble when discussing your employment gap, it will show badly upon your confidence levels. After all, the hiring manager would like to pick a reliable, dependable and confident person and exuberating these qualities will give them the assurance to hire you.
Acceptable Reasoning for Gaps
Gaps are no longer a big deal these days as almost everyone has to deal with professional discontinuity. As long as you have an acceptable reason for your unemployment you are safe. Some reasons are given below:
Layoffs should be mentioned as a time off from the number of years of being employed while hunting for a new job during the same time. Clearly, state the reasons for workforce reduction and the layoff and how was your performance during the time of exit. In case you have learned a new skill set relevant to your experience or utilized your time in any other productive activity, don’t forget to mention the same.
Termination from previous employment and a resultant gap can put you into some trouble. However, stating that you have worked on yourself and have improved your ability to perform well can be of much respite and put you in a considerable situation. In case there are reasons which are not related to the job you have applied for mention it. Your learnings from the incident and any changes that you might have adapted to your principals or working approach should be highlighted.
Higher Education or Certification should be emphasized in an interview if were done in the gap period and is related to the position applied. This will place you in a favourable position in the interview and your interviewer will greatly approve of your constructive venture.
Personal Reasons like a health condition or family issues should also be mentioned clearly stating that you have resolved the problem or have worked towards resolving it. Describing the issue as a past thing and throwing light on the resolution path will ensure your interviewer that the problem would not hamper the new job.
Marriage or Fun Trips is also acceptable as long as you have maintained proper work ethics & moral values on and off the job! Providing examples of your hard work or overtime & enthusiasm in office to ensure a smooth sabbatical will definitely help. Getting your managers recommendation of your work done and energy showcased before and after the gap can secure you a good position in the interview.
Returning After Lengthy Gaps
Any professional gap over a year is considered a lengthy one and needs to be explained better. Be ready to showcase any fresh skills you have learned. Be better informed about the current developments in the job front to keep yourself occupied and up to the date of the changing aspects. Your interviewer should start believing that you are well aware of the recent progress in the business world and ready to start back full time.
“Due to insourcing of the project at a captive unit, the company had to let go of the current workforce. Unfortunately, I was part of the same project and it was a disappointing phase. I am very proud of the work done and learned in my previous organization. I am happy that this gave me an opportunity to explore new challenges.”
All in all, be accountable for the gap and share perfect examples and concrete evidence to support your stance. Show off your accomplishments from the previous organizations and how you utilized your time off from work. Get supportive attestations from your supervisors to be able to justify all your statements. Be confident and go through the above pointers to be interview ready and no gap will hold you back.