Picture this: You have lost your job and stayed for quite a while without getting another job.
Second scenario: You left your previous job to start a business, the business fails and you resort to employment again.
You attend an interview and the panel asks you why you have been unemployed for such a long time.
This could be a mind boggling question for any job seeker since this shows there is a gap in your CV.
How to answer the why have you been unemployed for such a long time question
When responding to this question, you should attempt to remain positive while being honest with your answer.
Having a strong answer prepared will help you to present yourself in a professional manner.
1. Answer the question directly and proactively.
Don’t try to avoid the question. First, let the employer know that you are passionate about your profession and have not been applying to any and every job.
Then, talk about your background and experience, and let the employer know that you understand your competition is tough, but that what sets you apart from other job seekers are x, y, and z.
2. Have other professional activities to talk about.
While job searches can take lots of time, it’s important to demonstrate to employers that you have been doing other professionally-related activities during your unemployment.
In addition to looking for work, you should be prepared to talk about the other activities you’ve been a part of, for example, volunteering, taking classes, and/or attending professional events.
3. Consider sharing personal accomplishments.
Similar in nature to the previous tip, in many cases it’s appropriate to discuss personal accomplishments that you’ve achieved in your time off.
This can help employers get a better sense of who you are and how you set goals for yourself.
4. Stay positive.
Employers are aware of the difficult situation for job seekers, but now is not the time to unload the frustration or negativity you may be feeling because of your unemployment.
Employers want to hire positive people — people who actively demonstrate resolve, fortitude, and optimism. People who see the glass half full and not half empty.
How not to answer the question
Do not go into the interview without a why have you been unemployed for such a long time response prepared. It will be difficult to formulate an adequate response on the spot.
Do not say that you have been looking for a job, even if this is true. It will send up a red flag to employers and they will wonder why you haven’t been hired yet.If you were fired or laid off, do not launch into a sob story about the experience. Feel free to explain the situation if you feel that you were wronged, but avoid becoming emotional and griping about the other company.
Do not lament the job market situation. This makes you appear weak and suggests that you are playing the victim.
By preparing to answer this question and other difficult interview questions ahead of time, you’re much more likely to make a solid impression with any potential employer on why have you been unemployed for such a long time.