Tackling Tough Interview Questions

Life is never perfect and often difficult to manage. People make bad decisions at times and then discover they must live with the consequences of those decisions for many years. For example, you may have job hopped over the years and now look unreliable on your resume. You may be a recovering addict or have a felony conviction on your record.

These are difficult issues to overcome when searching for a job. It doesn’t seem to matter to many employers that you were a victim of bad luck and companies you worked for kept shutting down. You may have not touched a drug or had a drink in years, but the employers are worried you will relapse and cause the company problems. Your felony conviction may have been the end result of a bad relationship you should have abandoned before things got out of hand, but you are now on track and more trustworthy than those with clean records.

You don’t want to give up looking for a job, but you will have to find ways to overcome the doubts in employer minds in order to land a job.

Following are some suggestions as to how you can deal with some of the more difficult issues in life when looking for a job.

Job Hopping

If you have gone from job to job, chances are there were many reasons that were not under your control. If so, it’s important to include those reasons on your resume and then put a new spin on the matter when you interview.

For example, if you have worked for a string of companies that went bankrupt then make sure the prospective employer knows. Add a word or two after each job like “bankrupt” or “closed”. The next step is to change negative perceptions of your job hopping by providing information concerning the skills and accomplishments you developed even while job hopping.

Your goal is to convince an employer you really want a long term stable job where you can effectively utilize your skills and knowledge to the benefit of the company. If your reason for leaving was due to a personality conflict with a manager then you can explain that conflict during the interview. You do not ever want to put negative information on your resume, but a prospective employer could very well call your previous employer and uncover the conflict.

Your main tool for overcoming concerns about job hopping is proving you are an achiever with tangible accomplishments.

Recovering From Addiction

Employers are very wary of anyone who has had an addiction. The concern is related to the likelihood you would bring drugs or alcohol onto the employer’s premises and cause legal problems or will create safety issues by showing up for work intoxicated or on drugs.

It’s a sad fact that millions of people struggle with addiction. If you’re addiction is in the past, then you are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Employers are not supposed to use your previous addiction against you when considering you for a job.

Often someone with an addiction will have an employment gap. You can cover this gap by using a functional format for your resume or by simply calling it a period of recovery from an illness. If the employer asks about the illness, you need to tell the truth but make it clear it is old history.

Convicted of a Felony

You simply will not be eligible for some jobs if you have a felony conviction. But the resume rules regarding negative information still apply. You should not put your felony conviction on your resume. If there is an employment gap you can use the functional format to emphasize your skills and accomplishments.

You should also not use the words prison or jail on your resume. Overcoming a felony conviction when hunting for a job can be difficult, but all you need is that first opportunity. Once you prove your honesty and reliability to an employer, it is much easier to become established in the job market.

It does not do any good to lie about a felony. It’s a matter of public record. If the subject comes up then you need to tell the truth but then change the negative to positive by talking about your career accomplishments. Many people take advantage of public resources designed to help ex-offenders find employment. You can find a wealth of information for ex-offenders at hirenetwork.org.

If you have an especially difficult issue to overcome on your resume, don’t be discouraged. A poor attitude will only make the situation worse. Millions of job hoppers, ex-addicts and ex-offenders have successfully found employment. You can too!