Even some of the brightest and most talented job candidates have at least one employment gap in their job history at some point for one reason or another. Unfortunately, this can be problematic and even a deal breaker if it comes up during an interview and you’re not equipped with a proper response. While there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to this issue, here are some tips for addressing employment gaps and setting an interviewer’s mind at ease.
First and foremost, you need to have an adequate response prepared. Any hesitation could create a red flag to an interviewer and make it seem like you’ve got something to hide. That’s why you should formulate a response ahead of time so you can seamlessly discuss the topic and have an answer. Before an interview, spend some time brainstorming and come up with a presentable response.
It’s important to keep in mind that employment gaps will by no means automatically disqualify you as a candidate for a job. However, being dishonest and trying to dodge the subject probably will. Explain what happened between the dates you weren’t employed – and go over any details if they need clarification.
If you were terminated, explain why and what you’ve learned from it to become a better employee. If you left on your own accord, explain the reasoning behind this decision and what you gained from it. The bottom line is that you should communicate openly and be clear about the situation.
Focus on the Positives
There can be a laundry list of reasons why a person may have employment gaps, and not all of them are bad. For instance, some people may take time off to travel and gain perspective on life, finish up their degree, or volunteer. By focusing on the positive aspects of the time between jobs, you can reduce any skepticism that an interviewer may have. Or in some cases, you can even improve your chances of landing the job.
By understanding what interviewers are looking for and having the right response prepared, there’s no reason to fear a discussion about your employment gaps. In fact, you can often turn a would-be negative into a positive that works to your advantage and makes you more appealing to employers.