Job interviews are some of the most stressful experiences for many of us. On the stress scale, they fit somewhere between actual work and financial problems.
So, having questions that you know might have a huge impact on whether you get the job or not makes the interview process that much more stressful.
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But some questions, according to many, shouldn’t even be a thing. Like the ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years’ one. But another thought-provoking question has been making rounds on the internet lately.
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A job interview is stressful as it is without questions that make you feel like you have to explain yourself
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A few days ago, web designer and writer Sophie (@jil_slander) went to Twitter to ask people how they would explain the gap in their employment history.
For the most part, many responded with real answers they said or planned to say. Turns out, having a gap in your employment history is quite common, especially during the pandemic, but it’s only one of many reasons.
This Twitter user asked how people explained the gap in their employment history
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And Twitter delivered
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Some said that they took time off to take care of their kids, sick loved ones, or even themselves. Most were actually the latter case—their previous job had drained them so much that it affected their mental health, which demanded time to recuperate.
Others were very honest about what they would say, except they couldn’t really find the words to translate an otherwise personal or even inappropriate piece of information into professional speech.
This included unfortunate situations like being spontaneously “demoted” and being paid less than half of what they were paid as a contractor or, if you’re in law, whatever you respond with will quite likely be a no in getting the job.
Reasons for gaps ranged from having to take care of kids to being screwed over to simply needing some rest
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Now, at face value, it looks like an ordinary and even legit question, but most people seem to not really agree with it. In some people’s experience, this is where they quite likely lose points towards getting the job, thus begging the question, what is actually a good answer to it?
We’ve asked our in house HR expert at Bored Panda HQ to elaborate on the question, and he said: “During our interview process, we ignore employment gaps, especially if the person fits or exceeds every other criterion. The question may come up if they mention it themselves.”
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Some are uncomfortable answering it, as they may have used this time to work on their physical health, which, if they disclose that during an interview, makes the interviewer feel uncomfortable for even asking.
Others were simply finding it hard to get employed because things like racism, sexism, and ageism are a thing. Even being unlucky may have an impact on this.
And all of this adds to the fear that these answers can be interpreted in a bad way, and hence they don’t land the job.
Some shared reasons that can’t be easily put into words
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“Asking this question doesn’t really lead to an answer that would expose red flags or other key information about a person,” elaborated HR Panda. “A gap in a resume can mean anything: maybe they took time off to rest, or perhaps they worked something they aren’t proud of, or did something that didn’t work out. And that doesn’t change their chances of getting the job.”
“What matters, however, is that they have their priorities straight, they have a clear picture of what they want from this job, and they want to advance their careers.”
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Some online begged the question why do employers even care about this gap?
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There were even people working in the industry, saying that this question shouldn’t be a thing
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We’ve asked our HR expert what questions are more important than the above in an interview process, and he had this to say: “‘What do you want?’ We think it’s very important to find out what the applicant really wants from this job, and whether they will still love working here after 6 or 12 months. Our job, as recruiters, is to identify their talents, skills, abilities, and whether their drive is real.”
On Twitter, however, many didn’t agree with the question, and even some who work with employment were arguing that such questions don’t really matter in many if not all cases, sparking a debate. Oh, and, of course there was the occasional joker who channeled their inner self in answering the question.
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Lastly, we’ve asked HR Panda to share the biggest piece of advice for those who are preparing for interviews: “Be yourself. I know this sounds super cliche, but it’s true. Many come to interviews ready to fit in and be what their managers want them to be, but that’s the worst thing you can do. Nobody should hide behind masks.”
He continued: “Instead, candidates should remain open about their strengths as well as their weaknesses, so that both sides can determine whether they’ll actually like it here and whether they will be right for the job. Nobody really wins in a situation where a person lies on their resume or interview and continues to work here, having to constantly cover all of those lies.”
And because this is the internet, of course there were some jokers who gave creative answers
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The tweet engaged many online, garnering nearly 300,000 likes with over 26,000 retweets in just two days. You can read the whole thread here, but before you do that, let us know your thoughts on this in the comment section below! And if you want more, we already covered a similar discussion in another article on the gap in employment history.
The post People On Twitter Share “Excuses” For Having A Gap In Their Employment History first appeared on Bored Panda.