Talking about an ex can be uncomfortable, and many of us try to avoid it at all costs, but what if the ex in question is an ex-employer?
According to our experts, there is no way around having to answer questions about a former employer (or one you are about to say goodbye to) in an interview, and what a candidate says can bear significant weight. So, how can a job seeker most professionally answer questions about a past employer? Our experts have the answers on how to best answer these tricky questions, even if the break-up wasn't pretty.
Keep it brief.
Patrick Lynch, president of The Frontier Group and managing partner of OI Partners Atlanta, warns that less is more when it comes to discussing previous employers. "One of the most common mistakes that candidates make is providing detailed explanations and rationales regarding why they left. These overly long answers can inadvertently open up lines of questioning and concerns from recruiters," Lynch says. While long winded explanations can come across as unprofessional and overly emotional, Lynch cautions that offering an evasive response about past bosses and employers is not the answer either. "Providing vague or opaque answers will send the message that you are hiding something," he adds. So, if you want to ace this question, Lynch advises keeping answers simple and direct.
Don't take the opportunity to vent.
No matter how miserable the situation with an employer was or still is, our experts say that an interview with a potential new employer is not the time to vent. "While it may be true that your last boss was a micro-manager, that you were bored with what you were doing or that they wouldn't give you a raise, none of that will help you land your next job," explains Denise P. Kalm, chief innovator at California-based marketing and communications services firm Kalm Kreative, Inc. Laura Labovich, CEO of job search strategy coaching firm The Career Strategy Group, agrees that candidates should avoid playing the blame game. "The truth is, if you sound bitter, you won't get hired.Period. There's no second chance with this one," she warns.