One of the most common dilemmas in a job search is the handling of a blip in your career. The concern is that an employer may think less of a candidate who has taken a wrong turn. Sometimes a candidate accepts a job and once in that new positions realizes this job is far from a match. Rather than stay in a bad situation, the candidate is actively job searching again. How does one deal with that in an interview? The worry and doubt set in: “What will this employer think of a candidate who is job searching after being in a job for only a month?” Interviewing well requires confidence. If you have a blip and are feeling insecure about your situation, you must overcome that insecurity before the interview. You can overcome the insecurity, dismiss the doubt, and perform well in the interview if you follow these strategies.
1.) Accept the situation. Any amount of worrying is a waste of time and will drain your positive energy. Move forward and prepare for an interview. Focus on action you can take to make a positive impression in an interview.
2.) Review Your Resume. Be sure that you resume does not contain negative statements about your current employer. Like any job description on your resume, show the scope of your responsibility and tout your top accomplishments. Skip any defensive statements, such as “Took job offer with understanding that I would be director of Southwest operations, only to arrive in position with new VP of Sales who placed me in territory with low prospects.” A better way to explain that might be, “Selected to turnaround low-performing territory.”
3.) Anticipate Tough Questions. Be ready to for the question, “Why are you looking for a job when you have only been at ABC Company for two months?” The interview is the best forum to address this issue. You can explain the reason you accepted the job. Think back about what attracted you to the company and job. Share those positive things and that after careful consideration you accepted the job. Then say that after you had begun to work at the new employer, the actual job did not match what was described through the interview. Your response and discussion will vary based on the situation. Reasons might include indications that your new position may be eliminated, management changes that resulted in a new structure internally, news of a physical relocation of your job or changes in your actual job responsibilities.
We often think that everyone else has a perfect, progressive career path without bumps or missteps. The truth is most people experience unexpected bumps along their career path. It is natural for a hiring employer to inquire about these blips in your history, so be prepared. The secrets to nailing this type of question are to be confident, be positive, and show that you accepted the last position after careful consideration and then things changed beyond your control.
Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is President of Careers Done Write, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries.