HR Remix Your Career

To Get The Job You May Need to Spin A Little

People are inherently judgy. You. Me. Everybody.


When we have a lack of information we get even judgier.  I’m particularly guilty of that.  I’ve been doing some home repair and seriously questioning the sanity of the people who used to live in my house. If I ever met them in person I might question them about why they thought it was a good idea to paint over light switches and faceplates (Seriously. Do you know how difficult it is to remove those?!)


Anyway, I’m off track.


The judgy person in all of us is out there and exists in various shades and hues.  Some people realize their expectations and opinions may be off -base and adjust. Others lack that level of introspection.


Which means you might have to take a page from PR and “spin” things a little at your next interview.


Below are three common issues that come up in interviews and how you can spin the situation to make it better:


You hated your last boss with a passion and would never work for that no-good- blankety blank -blank ever again


Do not say that you hated your last boss. Your new boss doesn’t want to hear that. Instead, you can re-frame qualities you hated about your boss into qualities you would like to see in a new boss. For example, if your last boss was a micromanager you could say that your ideal boss is someone who is not a micromanager and is someone who provides you with expectations and lets you work independently.


You are a job hopper.

Everybody has been in a job where the first week is a disaster and you immediately start to look for another job, the question is do your reasons for leaving sound logical? Understandable reasons include:



  • The job was completely different than what was discussed in the interview.  This happens. Sometimes the problem is a crappy company, other times a crappy interview and other times you didn’t listen. Figure out which one and prepare to discuss it.  


  • You were laid off. Don’t use this one unless you really were laid off, first, it’s kind of shitty to use this excuse when it didn’t happen  and second people are connected, they know which companies in your town are going through layoffs.


The best way to avoid being pegged as a job hopper is to stay in a position for a while (at least two years) but sometimes that can’t happen. If that’s the case don’t make it a habit.


Your quit your job without another lined up. Maybe your boss turned out to be a crazy ass blankety-blank.  Or maybe your co-workers were crazy. Most people can’t just up and quit their jobs and I strongly advise against quitting a job without another lined up.  


If you did quit without another job lined up try emphasize the positive: you gave your former company plenty of notice and worked the notice period.  Provide a strong reference from that company that can attest to your hard work while you were employed.


If you had to resign for personal reasons its okay to say that.  For example, if a relative was ill and you had to take care of that person, simply state it this way: “A close family member was very ill and needed assistance with recovery. They are now fully recovered and no longer need my assistance.”


In all of the above situations I’m not suggesting you lie, in fact sometimes you are better off by being honest. When you can’t (or don’t want to be) 100% honest you can emphasize the positive aspects of the experience. Every job has some positive aspects or something you learned. Emphasize that.

Even the most dismal career experiences teach us something: endurance, patience, the value of good teammates, what not to do when you are in charge, the list can go on and on. If you tell me you learned nothing from an experience THAT is a huge red flag that no amount of spin can fix.

This is post #4 of the Your Turn Challenge I have three more days of writing. Hope to see you back here! 


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