Addressing Unemployment in an interview 

Just this week, I’ve received several calls from alumni who have been laid off, restructured, downsized, etc.  Bottom line – they need to find a new job.  While we talk about defining a target list, updating their resumes, preparing for cover letters and interviews, the most frequently asked question is “how do I address being out of work?”

For many years there was a real stigma to being laid off but unfortunately it has become a much more common occurrence.  Many interviews will see the name of the company and know exactly what happened because layoffs often make the news.

As always, the best policy in interviewing is to be honest.  Do not attempt to hide or disguise the truth.  Acknowledge that you were a victim of the latest round of layoffs.  Talk about the valuable work you did while you were there and what you learned along the way.  Stay positive.  Do not speak poorly of the company or your manager.  Focus on the opportunity this provides you to pursue a true passion, try something new, etc.  Demonstrate your resilience by showing that you have a plan for the next stage of your career.

Bad things happen in life that we can’t control and we can’t plan for in advance.  Demonstrate your emotional maturity by focusing on your transferable skills.  Immediately get networking.  The more people who know you are looking the better – enlist them in your search.  Focus your networking on your target companies to maximize your results.  Learn as much as you can about the companies, their culture, hiring process etc. to support your success.  Do not hide behind your computer and apply to as many jobs as possible at online job boards.

Take charge of the next chapter in your life and your career without apologies.  Best of luck.


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