Articles on Writing Resumes, Careers
Getting Hired, & Job Searching:

Interviewing After a Job Loss

   Article by Sylvia Ho

So your last job didn't exactly pan out. Maybe your boss or your coworkers were jerks, or you were laid off -- even fired. Now you are looking forward to your first post-layoff interview.

What Is Your Biggest Hurdle?

Is it job references, your spotty resume or even your former boss? It's probably your attitude and preparation. A positive, forward-looking attitude impresses employers, while a negative attitude can be a turnoff. Candidates who prepare by researching the companies they are interviewing with and the positions, appear professional, mature and worthy of being considered. Unprepared candidates give the appearance of being disorganized and unprofessional and only reinforce any impression a bad reference might give.

Here are some dos and don'ts to improve your attitude and preparation before your big interview:

1. Don't Worry.

Worrying is only natural, but most people at one time or another had a job that didn't work out. Chances are your interviewer may have even been let go from a job. Worrying zaps your energy and leaves you powerless. Instead, take some active steps before the interview to practice responding to any possible objections that you believe an employer would have to hiring you.

2. Counter a Poor Reference with Good Ones.

Prepare ahead if you think your former boss may give you a bad reference. Call other former employers who thought well of you and would give you a good reference, and obtain a letter of recommendation. The more letters of recommendation you can provide, the less significant a bad reference will appear. Ultimately, a decision-maker will weigh all the evidence and may weigh references in your favor.

3. Prepare for Hard Questions.

Hard questions are part of any interview, but they can seem even harder when your last job did not work out. Prepare possible hard questions and the answers you would give to them if asked. Have your friends or relatives listen to your answers and give you their opinions on how the answers sound. There is no shame in having left a job if you can articulate why the job didn't work out for you and what you learned from the experience.

4. Know Your Accomplishments and Value.

Believe that you do bring value and skills to a prospective employer. Spend some time thinking about what you accomplished at your previous jobs. What skills do you bring to the table? Are these skills in demand? Make a list and review it again and again. This will improve your attitude and self-confidence and will help you at your interview.

5. Don't Blame Other People for Your Previous Work Problems.

sponsible employees are in demand. Interviewers do not like candidates who make excuses. Discuss your accomplishments instead of the negative aspects of your previous job. If you have to talk about why the job did not work out, discuss what you learned from the experience that will make you a better employee in the future.

6. Keep Searching and Don't Get Discouraged.

The reason you did not get a job may have absolutely nothing to do with you. If you did not get the job, write to the interviewer to find out why you were not hired. Make it clear you are not trying to change the company's decision but are trying to get information that will help you in your job search. Learn from each interview and continue searching. Don't get discouraged.

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