Most people take their time off from working for varied reasons. At times, it is by choice due to purposes like traveling, looking after an ill relative, raising a kid or for further studies. In other instances, you may take a break as you were fired or laid off and searching for a job. While such an employment gap isn’t an automatic downgrade towards new job prospects, still you should stay prepared to deal with them. This is because, during an upcoming job interview, the interviewer will generally be interested in questioning you about the employment gap in your history.
Examples of some best interview answers to employment gap:
To begin with, remember that the way you address questions related to your employment gap wouldn’t be the same for others. Your approach towards such questions depends upon several factors like how you utilized your time off work, your success level in previous jobs, etc.
Below are a few best answers/reasons you can give the interviewer for having employment gap in your history:
If possible, try to emphasize on anything constructive that you did while you took your time off from work. This could include elements that reflect positively upon the job you are applying for or your character. For instance, responses such as ‘I took a break to finish my MBA,’ or ‘I concentrated on volunteer tasks and began a new youth mentoring program,’ highlight positive elements of your employment gap. Make sure your answer includes any valuable skills you learned during your time off from work.
A few candidates will not have such clear reasons to tell. It may be that you took a break from work due to personal reasons like dealing with some family issues. If you successfully resolved the issue, then you may want to share your story with the interviewer. The key is to explain the problem as something which remains in the past and won’t affect your productivity anymore.
Some take a break from their work due to fun activities such as a trip to Australia, a trekking adventure or learning golf. If you are one these then you need to explain that you held a strong work ethic after and before your hiatus. For instance, you should offer examples of the hard work you put in on significant projects before as well as after the break.
If you were fired from your previous job then you need to be honest with the interviewer about it. Share the reasons behind the termination and prove to the interviewer that they don’t impact your performance and productivity anymore. You should also be open to explaining if the gap in your resume was because you had been laid off. Tell the interviewer why the previous office had to lay you off. Also, include any skill or volunteering activities you may have cultivated during your time away from work.
If you were on a job hunt for a long-time period, and this gets questioned in the interview, explain how you were searching for the right company and position and not just the pay-check. Describe why you believe that this job is the right one for you to win the confidence of the interviewer.
The best plan of action is an honest and straightforward answer which clarifies any doubts the interview may have. Appear unapologetic and composed as this will help the interviewer feel that you are confident with the reasons you provide.