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How To Overcome Negative Interview Obstacles

How To Overcome Negative Interview Obstacles

We all have them, a spot in your work history that isn’t so shiny. Maybe it’s a job you were fired from, or a boss you didn’t get along with, or a gap in employment. These less than ideal situations do not have to break your chances of landing the position! It’s all in how you address them. We’re breaking down common negative interview obstacles that may arise and how you can overcome them.

You Were Fired

“So, why did you leave your last position?” Instead of freezing at this question, arm yourself with confidence beforehand. Keep your answer short, simple, and honest. Explain what happened in the simplest terms, without placing blame on others or providing too many details. And in the end, be sure to finish on a positive note.

Example: When I was initially hired as {job title}, I thought I had a clear understanding of the job requirements. As time went on, I discovered there were some miscommunications and misunderstandings. My supervisor and I agreed that it wasn’t a great fit for either of us. Since then, I’ve focused on defining my professional expectations and improving my communication skills.

You Hopped Around To A Few Different Jobs

This negative interview obstacle can happen for several reasons. Contact positions, improper fit, and better opportunities coming along are all very valid reasons for “job hopping.” Multiple jobs in a short amount of time is something that Hiring Managers notice, and the chances that you’ll be asked about it are high! What they are looking for you to address is their fear that you won’t stick around for this position. So, be sure to cover those short stints quickly and then move on to why you’re looking for a more permanent job (this one!)

Example: While quickly moving from job to job was not ideal, it proved that I was able to adapt to new environments while educating myself along the way. Now I’m looking for a company that I can really call home. I’m interested in a career that provides new challenges every day and a supportive team. That’s why the {job title} position initially caught my eye!

You Didn’t Get Along With Your Boss

Behavioral interview questions are swiftly gaining popularity in the hiring community. There’s a chance that you will be asked a question similar to “Tell us about a time you didn’t get along with a team member or supervisor.” Do not fall into this classic negative interview obstacle trap! Briefly touch on your differences, but concentrate your answer on what you did to overcome them.

Example: My last supervisor and I didn’t always see eye to eye. On {XYZ Project}, we had different opinions on how it should be executed. In the end, we looked at both sides and took the elements that worked from each to form a most effective compromise.

You Have A Gap In Employment

If you took time off for one reason or another, it can feel like a glaring hole in your resume. Don’t fret. Most employers understand that a little time away is not only acceptable but can also be restorative. Mention the reason for the gap, but also include how you grew during that time. You can include professional skills you honed via online classes, volunteer experiences, or even just life lessons that shaped how you view the world. The point that you want to communicate is that you are even better after briefly stepping away.

Example: For the past couple of years, I stepped away from my professional duties to travel. It was always a goal of mine to see the world, and I wanted to dive in while I’m still young. During my time away, I documented my experiences in blog format to share with family and friends. It really allowed me the opportunity to hone my writing and creative skills while also broadening my horizon. I’m now ready to jump back into my career with a whole new perspective on life.

These are just a few of the possible negative interview obstacles you may encounter. A few good general rules to follow are; be honest, keep it simple, and end on a positive note. While, of course, you want to answer questions about the past, your focus should be on the future. (And landing this job specifically!)

Interested in more interview advice? Explore a wealth of interview resources here.

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