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Dealing with Career Hiccups?
Contribution from Kirsty Ferguson, interview and resume expert
– Gaps or time away from your career
– Being fired
– Leaving due to lack of OH&S
– Industry downturns or economic crises
– Failing training
– Serious accidents
During my 12 years working with pilots, executives, pharmacists and government employees I have come across many career hiccups or issues raised by candidates that require “management” in order to gain a new position.
There are key points that companies are looking for when considering you and your behaviour in relation to their role and your hiccup:
- Is the candidate taking responsibility for his/her actions?
- Has the candidate taken on further education or training to rectify any problem?
- Is the candidate blaming others or denigrating the company they have previously worked for?
- Has the candidate shown tenacity in their job search and sought alternatives to re-enter the industry?
- How does the candidate feel about what has happened to them?
- What has the candidate done to use the down time effectively?
In order to handle your next interview well you must formulate credible, consistent and fact based answers to these motivations.
Ask yourself: Is your mindset holding you back?
A: Are you emanating a victim mentality?
You must get your mindset positioned in the positive or you risk falling into the victim category.
Blame, opinions about the organisation and excuses mean you risk falling into this category. Even trying to “explain” in detail what has occurred can put you in this category.
B: Are you choosing to learn and grow from this experience?
You can either let the circumstance that is now in the past control the future of your career or you can chose to take it as a learning curve or a hurdle that motivates you to improve, grow, learn and change.
Employers do not expect you to be perfect, or to have had the perfect career path, they expect as human beings, that you will and have made mistakes and that there are occurrences that you cannot control. To them, it is how you chose to deal with those mistakes/circumstances that tells the employer whether you have the right motivation and personality type for their company.
Hiccups come in two categories.
1. The things you cannot control such as redundancy due to contract losses, industry downturns, company failures etc…
Do not think that the potential employer is holding you responsible or judging you. These things happened to you, you are not responsible for them.
You are only responsible for the actions you take next whether it be in a job search following redundancy or in how you managed the mechanical/technological failure. Of course you can expect them to ask you about these areas but understand that it is in order to understand your behaviour not to try and find something wrong or place blame on you.
2. The things you can control such as failing training, choosing to leave an employer who is unsafe, conflict with colleagues or incorrect action during problem or disruption.
No human being is perfect, no employer is perfect, no role is perfect. Employers know and understand this.
The are interested in:
- Can we train him/her? Showing further training, seeking help and advice, understanding what went wrong and why and taking responsibility will show them that you can be trained.
- Does he/she fit into our team? Showing high professional standards, supporting your team and aligning with their culture.
- Does he/she have leadership potential? Does he show lateral thinking skills, big picture thinking, the ability to make a decision be it right or wrong, the ability to mentor and lead by example.
Understanding the thinking behind an employers questions means you can make strong decisions about how to deal with all hiccups, sometimes finding the right language is the most difficult thing and that’s where a coach can help.
Most people use emotional/opinion based language to talk about these “hiccups”, of course you have an emotional reaction to what has happened, it is only natural, but is it helping or hindering you?
I can guarantee it is hindering you.
You simply have to “manage” that emotional response and formulate a fact-based answer or plan that effectively shuts any issue down. If you are unsure of how to manage your language and/or emotional response to difficult questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Kirsty Ferguson at Pinstripe Solutions.