I am going to give you some interview advice, because it is a recruiter’s job to judge people; and good recruiters are great at it. A good recruiter is an expert at mining for flecks of gold, and ruthless at the first sign of a red flag. They have heard every excuse, cringed at unfathomable amounts of over sharing, and have all struggled to avoid looking directly at a hem line that is dangerously too short.
Why is this relevant to you? I’m sure your hemline is at a respectable length, but understanding how to navigate an interview without raising a red flag is imperative to your success.
During an interview, candidates generally do the most damage to themselves when they talk about periods of time when they were not working, and why they left a previous employer.
My advice is to script succinct and direct answers to every job on your resume and every period of time you were not working with this one rule: Do not overshare.
Honestly, it’s none of their business what you were doing between June and October of 2014, but interviewers feel entitled, so answer them in the most general way possible. And then stop talking. Just stop. No one goes into an interview expecting to bring up their messy divorce, but they do. All the time. Never, ever do that.
How I would reply when asked what I was doing between June and October? “I needed to spend some time with my family, and now I am ready to get back to work”. And I would stop talking. I might even smile.
Likewise when discussing previous employers, always put your best shiny shoe forward. Kiss the frog and make it a prince. What ever you need to do to frame the experience as a positive one. If for some reason it is humanly impossible to say anything nice, I would recommend using this line: “Unfortunately that company was not a cultural fit for me.” And stop talking. Because in reality, that does happen and it’s no one’s fault so everyone comes out looking ok; and that is the goal.
So why do you need a recruiter’s interview advice? Because what we really want to do is tell you the truth and put your red flags to rest.