For the long-term unemployed, remaining upbeat in the job search can seem like a super human feat. Feelings of despair and bitterness are understandable. It is important however, to make it a point to deal with those feelings privately, and not carry them with you into a job interview. It is human nature to respond to positivity and avoid negativity – employers want to hire someone upbeat and positive.
There is no faster opportunity killer than expressing your views about the economy or job market in your interview. Yes, it’s bad out there – employers know this, but in the interview setting, all they care about is finding the right person for the job. If your demeanor is anything less than enthusiastic about this job opportunity, or you use their time to unleash your bottled up resentment, employers will shy away from hiring you.
Instead of the negative aspects, accentuate the positive – tell employers how you’ve used the time to read up or conduct informational interviews to stay current on the latest advancements in the industry. Expressing how you’ve used the time to improve yourself, while also assuring the employer you are eager to get back to work is better way to address the subject of your long-term employment in an interview.
So, what do you say if an interviewer bluntly asks, “What have you been doing all this time?”
Even if your first instinct is be offended, you should shrug it off and talk about how you organized your job search and what your efforts have achieved. Also, take the focus off the length of time you’ve been unemployed and discuss what you have to offer.
Here are some examples of how to answer how you’ve spent your time while unemployed:
“It has been important for me to find a company with which I am a good fit, so I didn’t run out and try to get just any job. I have been conducting informational interviews to learn more about some companies of interest. I have used the information I gained from these experiences to help refine my career goals. From everything I have learned about myself and your company, I know it would be a very good fit for my skills and background and I am excited to get to work.”
“I have had some very positive interview experiences, but nothing fit quite right. I am looking for the best fit for me and for the company. My years of experience in this industry, strong accomplishments, and related skills help set me apart and will allow me to have an immediate impact in this position.”