This question gets presented in a few different ways. It’s a pretty easy question. And it ultimately comes down to being and appearing someone truthful. So, I always say is that it is a theater of interviewing and when You are answering an uncomfortable question, one of the things you can do is . . . I just kind of look down a little bit and break eye contact and then look back up, because that conveys a degree of sincerity as though you’re in your feelings, they would say In neuro-linguistic programming.
So, how did this affect you? “Well, when we were originally informed of the acquisition, we were bought into a conference room (Or into an auditorium) and the existing management spoke with us about how there would be no changes. No changes to our compensation, no changes to our work, no changes to our retirement, the profit-sharing, you get the idea. And for a while, that was the case. But, about six months later (or whatever it was), there was another meeting and we were all told that there’ll be a change in our bonuses. There’d be a change in our profit sharing.”
They started talking about how they were going to be cutting back on things. Then, the first of the layoffs occurred. “I made it through that. And a few months later, there were more reductions. And we all started to realize that who wants to stay around waiting for the execution?” That’s one version of the answer. Obviously, you can tailor it to what your unique circumstances were. But the idea is don’t avoid the question. Take it directly and share what your experiences are.
If it hasn’t happened yet, if the firm has announced the merger, or has been acquired, you can say something to the effect of “As you know, our firm has been acquired (or there is going to be a merger) and the reality is, from an organizational perspective, while this is going on, we’re going to be going through an integration process. Now, maybe I’m going to survive that; maybe I won’t. But normally, two people are doing one function, at least in a lot of operational roles. So, one of us is going to be fired. That’s not going to be anyone’s fault. It’s just the nature of an integration effort. So rather than waiting for this to occur, rather than wait for the severance, rather than wait when everyone else is out on the street from the organization looking for a job, I’m going to surrender to the other person and let them have it and go on to my new career, rather than waiting. “
Do you see what I’m doing? I’m kind of painting the picture each time, in an image that someone else can relate to, where they can understand why you made the choice.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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