Nothing is worse than interviewing for a position feel to have just about made it and just then the interviewer asks you a difficult question. You were soaring and now you find yourself looking at the ground and mumbling, “I don’t have experience in that area.” It is like taking a test and discovering you studied for the wrong exam. The manner in which you handle questions about your liabilities, past performances that were under par or even an ugly management situation can break you or make you. Here are a few things that we would recommend:
1. We are all human.
There is no such person as “The Perfect Employee.” The interviewer is looking for the best possible fit for the position and knows everyone has flaws.
2. Being honest is awesome but knowing boundaries is sort of important too!!
Management does not need to know the details of a messy personal struggle that interfered with your past job performance. We are all growing, changing and learning at every moment in our lives and we are not static. It is perfectly alright to say, “That was a very hard time in my life and I have a new outlook now that keeps me balanced.”
3. Blame them? You will blame me too!!!
Ok, you had an undereducated fool for a boss and you and he clashed on every level until you left or got fired. If you say anything about bad management,” the boss was crazy, everyone knew it, horrible perfectionist…etc” than you become a “blamer.” People do not like blamers. Even if everything about your previous manager was true, unless he is doing time at a mental institution, stay positive about your time there and explain that you weren’t a perfect fit for that company and you parted amicably.
4. Heck, I have no clue about that!!!
“I wish I took that class,” you are saying to yourself as you fidget in your seat and your face gets red as you explain that you are not qualified for something. Be honest and be earnest. Don’t fidget or be embarrassed by inexperience. Some companies want the chance to train you, “right off the turnip truck.” That way they can teach you their way of getting the job done. Focus on your intention to learn and your eagerness for a chance to show them that you are the best candidate for the job. Draw parallels – Stuff that you didn’t know but learned at warp speed, Stuff that you know and is so similar to what they are talking about – you get the drift. Just saying, “No, I don’t know about that” is not a good idea. Tell them, “Yes, I don’t” but that you can get this under your wing in no time.
5. Bummer, I am not getting this job!!!
You have that feeling that Nancy-Know-It –All is probably the only one going to get this job. As you are thanking the interviewer for his time, ask him for specific feedback. Ask him/her if they could give you some pointers to gain the experience that will get you hired. Be positive and stay upbeat!
I know a professional chef that never got a call back on his resume, until he updated it to look like a menu. It was original, it worked and he was persistent. He got the job and another promotion. The job you want is heading your way but you are the one that has to grab the opportunity.
Best wishes on your success!Kim S.
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