How to Overcome and Explain Employment Gaps in an Interview

by | Published on Nov 22, 2019 | Interview Transcription

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Interviews are conducted to assess whether an applicant should be hired and recruiting a new person is a challenge for any business. Interview transcription services ensure that the interactions are documented for reference. While job hunting is a challenging process, it can be even more complicated if you have an employment gap in your résumé.

Overcome and Explain Employment Gaps in an Interview

There are many reasons why people have a gap in their work history, such as recovering from a health issue, caring for a family member, pursuing further education, losing or leaving a job and not being able to find another, and so on. If you have taken time away from work, this will most likely come up in an interview. But this will not raise a red flag with the recruiter if you explain your decision in a positive way.

Here are some expert suggestions to fill employment gaps and on how to handle them in an interview.

If you have work gaps on your résumé or are expecting a gap to occur, the first step should be to think about how you can fill them with activities that will help your career. Depending on your qualifications, there are many options available such as contract work, temporary work, freelancing, volunteering, and getting further education or training. The best way to fill the gap in your resume is to choose an activity in line with your educational qualifications and work experience while contributing to your future career path. Maintaining your membership in professional associations and keeping track of recent trends and developments in your specific area can project your up-to-date expertise in your area. Continuing to be productive even when you are unemployed will keep your skills up to date and help you to present yourself in a positive light in an interview for a long-term position.

If your employment gap was a short one, such as a couple of months, the best solution would be to not mention it in your résumé. A recent Forbes article recommends, “Unless you are doing some professional work volunteering or attending college and taking classes to improve your skills, leave anything else off the résumé”. In any case, questions regarding your employment gap and what you were doing during the period will come up in the interview. What matters is how you handle these questions. Here are some expert tips:

  • Be prepared with answers about the reason for the work gap: If you have an employment gap in the middle of your résumé, you must be prepared to explain it and what you were doing your work gap. Most recruiters will understand the reality of a layoff. Be prepared to explain what prompted the lay-off and whether others were included too. If you were terminated, say what the experience taught you and how it has shaped your career decisions. If you were a bad fit for your previous job, explain why you think you will be suitable for the job you are being interviewed for. The idea should be to demonstrate your commitment to being an ideal employee and avoid giving your prospective employer any reason to worry about hiring you.
  • Explain what you were doing during your work gap: Nobody would want to hire a person who was depressed and a couch potato. Have an answer ready as to what you have been doing. As explained above, there are many things a person can do to stay active during a work gap. A person who engaged in activities, research and learning related to the employer and job at hand to explain would have a definite advantage here. Knowing what to say is important. Career advice expert Robin Ryan recommends preparing by role-playing your answer with another person so that you’re comfortable and will come across as confident that you can do the new job you applied for.
  • Give a positive description of your last job: You should be prepared with an answer about the positives of your last employment. Highlight your achievements and the special qualities, training, and experiences you have that may distinguish you from other candidates. Avoid going into why you quit — be brief and move on. Have a practiced response ready about your accomplishments and if the hiring manager is comfortable with it, all your other information will have more merit (
  • Show confidence and present references: Employers need assurance that they are making the right decision in hiring you. So always show confidence. When a person who is selected for an interview despite have an employment gap, it means that they have other qualities that outweigh the gap. However, to be hired, you need to come across as the perfect fit for the job. So show confidence that you have the ability to fulfil the employer’s expectations. Including references from your last job will help a great deal. Request your references to highlight your relationship skills, commitment and follow-through, and professional qualities.

Job interviews are transcribed by business transcription companies which makes the selection process easier for employers. If you are applying for a position following an employment gap, getting hired will be easier if you can anticipate the questions and have convincing answers ready.

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