Saying the wrong thing during an interview can cost you the job. Being nervous or unprepared increases your chances of accidentally saying something you’ll regret. You can’t take back something you’ve said, so it’s a good idea to prepare for tough questions ahead of time.
There are a few questions that are guaranteed to come up in your interview. One of them will focus on why you’re looking to leave your current position. If you’re leaving because of a toxic work environment, don’t say,
“I’m looking for a new job because I really hate my boss and coworkers.”
Even if it’s true, badmouthing a previous employer is never a good idea. Instead of focusing on the negative reasons for your departure, highlight something positive that you gained from your time with the company. Try…
“My last position taught me how to handle conflict successfully and really strengthened my communication skills.”
If you’re asked to elaborate, you can say that your team initially faced some communication challenges, but, with effort on everyone’s part, you were able to resolve the situation.
Any time you have to discuss something negative, follow it with a productive solution.
If you were fired from a position and there’s a resulting gap in your work history, you’ll probably be asked to explain that. You can be honest about what happened while still framing it in a constructive light. Try…
“I learned a lot at my previous job and I’m excited about taking that knowledge and putting it to use in a new environment.”
It can be an uncomfortable topic, but people are let go from jobs all the time, and they move on. Not every job is going to be a great fit – the important thing is that you learn from the experience and are able to explain why it didn’t work out and what knowledge or experience you’ve gained from the situation.
Every company has a different way of doing things. Although every recruiter dreams about a candidate that has experience with every system the company uses, they also know that perfect employee probably doesn’t exist. A candidate with experience in a similar system or program is the next best thing. Instead of…
“No, I don’t know how to do that.”
“I have experience with a similar responsibility. I’m sure my skills will help me learn your processes quickly.”
Tough questions should be expected in an interview. Don’t try to gloss over them – recruiters will view this as a red flag. Be prepared for the questions, be honest with your answers, and be confident when discussing.
Best of luck!