Tough Interview Questions: Why Have You Been Out of Work So Long?

During some economic times, that can be a pretty common situation.  If you act defensively by attacking the interviewer, “What you mean.  I’ve been out of work so long,” or words that interviewer could translate to that effect, you’ve lost.  You can forget about the job.

The way to answer the question is very subtle.  You start by saying, “Well, I’ve always found that if I rush into things without consideration, I make mistakes.  Thus, I consciously chose after I was laid off to take some time to think about what I wanted to do.  After all, the economy has been complicated for quite some time now.  Firms in my industry have gone through difficult times and I didn’t just want to rush into something and find out that I made a mistake.  So, I took a little bit of time because I have always found that when I take the time To evaluate my options and make a conscious choice, things turn out well.  That took a little bit of time.  I’ve decided at this point what I want to do, I’m back in the market and the material in the job with your firm…” You can schmooze the interviewer at this point.

The idea is to say, “I took some time at the point I was laid off to consider what my options were because I didn’t just want to rush back into something for the sake of having a job.  My finances were in good order.  I decided the smartest thing to do was to sit back and evaluate for a while before rushing back in.”

That will diffuse any concern that the interviewer has about whether you are “damaged goods.”  Or “what’s wrong with this person?”  If the role, you know, employers think that way when they think you have been out of work tomorrow, regardless of the economy.

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020



Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff 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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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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