You need to be prepared to answer typical job interview questions about layoffs. Questions like, “Why are you looking for a new job?”, “What have you been doing while you were out of work?”, and “How have you stayed up to date since being laid off?” This video teaches you what questions an employer might ask about your layoff during a job interview and how to answer.
- No part of a job search is easy, but the most nerve-racking experience might be the job interview. Preparation is key to performing well and especially when you're coming back from a layoff preparation is vital to handling questions in a way that employers respond well to. In this video we'll review several of the most common interview questions about layoffs and how to handle each one of them. First, and perhaps most obvious, is the question why are you looking for a job? Or why was your job eliminated? It's not nearly enough to say, I got laid off. But you also don't want to give too much information or a negative response. So how do you answer? Give the recruiter just enough information to satisfy their curiosity. For example, the layoff was a corporate decision made for financial reasons, and out of my boss's control. My performance reviews had been great and I really enjoyed working there. Or the company decided to cut costs and the layoff was purely a financial decision. I was sad to leave, but proud of the work that I accomplished and everything that I learned while I was there. The next question we'll go over is how many people were laid off with you? With questions like these a recruiter is trying to understand whether this was a multi-person layoff or if you were the sole victim. They're concerned that if you were the only person laid off it might have been performance related. That's why you need to address that fear in your answer. Again, the key is to provide just enough information. When we're nervous it's easy to ramble on, so don't be afraid to end your answer confidently and await the next question. For example, my whole department was eliminated, which meant five of us were let go. My boss tried hard to keep us within the company, but the company said they needed to reduce headcount, so we couldn't be reassigned. Or it was a single person layoff. My job was eliminated and the responsibilities were absorbed by the remaining team members. I know it was a touch decision for them and it wasn't performance related. I'm happy to provide you with references for my abilities. Another question you might be asked is, what would your former boss say about you? You might have less than positive feeling and memories about your boss, but it's vital to keep your answer to this question positive and brief. For example, you might say, in my last role I received excellent performance reviews and had a good working relationship with my boss. The layoff was difficult for both of us, but I understand why the company needed it to happen and I'm happy to say that my boss is one of my best references. Or my former manager would say that I was hardworking and dedicated. Layoffs can be really difficult for managers, so I did my best work right up until the end. I'm confident that my manager would agree. In each of these answers lists two or three of your best skills that your former boss would agree with. The last two questions we'll tackle have to do with what you've done since your layoff. These are questions like, what have you been doing while you were out of work? And how have you stayed up to date since being laid off? Hiring managers want to know if you stayed professionally active and whether you've experienced any sort of knowledge setback by being out of the work force. Talk about the best things you've done since being laid off. These might include things like consulting part-time or freelance work, volunteering your skills or time, helping at your children's school, attending professional association meetings and networking events, reading industry publications, news, or updates, taking classes or earning additional certifications, or even things like informational interviewing. Remember, with all of these questions the employer is trying to figure out whether you are a sound investment or not. They might be considered that you were chosen for a layoff because of your performance rather than financial reasons or that because you've been out of work you'll take longer to ramp up in a new role. Address those fears in your answers to ace the interview and set yourself up for a job offer.
- Dealing with job loss
- Taking classes and building skills
- Volunteering to fill resume gaps
- Searching and applying for jobs
- Writing a better resume and cover letter
- Interviewing for your first job after a layoff