How to Answer the Employment Gap Interview Question?

Welcome to a new episode of interview questions and answers. Today, we are covering the topic of how to justify the gap in your employment history.

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Interviews typically begin with a review of your resumé. It is likely interviewers will inquire about the gap that exists between your employment experiences. Whether this gap is rather lengthy or very short, this question can certainly seem intimidating, and you will need to consider carefully how to respond. Furthermore, if you go into your interview without a plan for how to tackle this question, it is also very easy to botch. We have created a basic framework you may follow in order to formulate a stellar answer to this seemingly tricky inquisition regarding your employment gap. Review it carefully, and extract what you think is most pertinent to your situation in order to devise your plan.

In general, it is most wise to select one of these four rationales for why there exists a gap between your employment experiences: commute, money, development, or stability.

Commute

A very simple and easy way to address a question regarding your employment gap is to argue the commute was too long. Perhaps you tolerated it for a little while, but eventually, you decided it was in your best interests to search for work that wouldn’t demand excessive hours from you just to get there.

Beginning your interview with a fair, logical explanation as to why there exists a gap between your employment experiences can set the stage wonderfully for the rest of the interview.

Explaining that the commute was too long at your old job not only provides a sensible reason why you would want to leave, but also demonstrates that you value your time, and that you have standards for your employment. Moreover, it expresses that you are mindful, and are able to make changes when necessary.

Money

Another proper response to such a question is that you simply did not make enough money. Maybe you simply couldn’t continue to support your family while working that job. On the other hand, money you reflected and decided your expertise was worth more than what you were getting paid.

Either way, arguing that money is the reason why you left your last job is a very practical and clever strategy.

Firstly, in the case that your last job actually did not pay you enough to sustain your life and/or family, you offer a very justifiable, straightforward explanation that further demonstrates your ability to change when necessary. In the case that your previous job did not pay you enough for the quality of your work, you indirectly assert that your skills are very valuable. It is important to make this argument in a manner that is not arrogant, but if done correctly, you will also demonstrate that you are not willing to settle for less than what you deserve.

Development

In the instance neither the commute nor money were issues for you in your last employment endeavor, it is wise to argue that you wanted to develop more as a professional; that it was time to move onto bigger and better things. You can explain that your previous job worked well for you at that time, but your time there simply expired, and now you are looking to embark on a greater journey.

This is a very professional approach to a question regarding your employment gap. Even better, it is a very flexible answer, and can be adjusted to match your individual circumstance.

For instance, in the case you have only a month-long gap in your employment, you can argue you had been searching for better opportunities for a while before you left your last job, but didn’t want to leave until you were absolutely sure you had a plan in place. On the other hand, in the case you have a multiple-year gap, you can argue you were not willing to settle for an average job, and that you wanted to wait until you found the job that was most suitable for you.

Stability

Lastly, another fine example of an approach you can take is contending your last job was simply too unstable. You can either explain the company itself was unstable, and that you were uncertain about if you would still have a job in a few months, or that you were only hired part-time, and you needed a more secure schedule and income.

Finally, if you do not feel comfortable discussing the commute, pay, or lack of opportunities to develop in your last job, you can discuss the unstable nature. By explaining that the last company you worked for was unstable, you shift the focus from you to the company. It is very reasonable you would not want to work at a company that might be out of business within a few months.

Moreover, it is very impressive you could decide to search for something better for yourself! On the other hand, by explaining you were only afforded a part-time schedule, you also demonstrate that you are able to search for something better for yourself, and also, that you are now committed to this new job opportunity. Basically, if you were willing to leave your old job because you couldn’t get more hours, you’re probably very serious about working a reasonable amount of time. Interviewers won’t wish to hire those who maintain frivolous attitudes about their schedules. They want to hire those who will appreciate their time at work.

Interview questions regarding employment gaps can seem very intimidating. Moreover, they’re almost guaranteed to come up, especially considering nearly all interviews begin with a review of your resumé. When considered critically, your answer to this question has the potential to set you up for a completely smooth-sailing remainder of interview questions.

It is very possible to answer this question in such a way that will relay an abundance of other positive information about yourself, including how you are not willing to settle for what you deserve. This said, there is no reason to worry! As long as you have a plan beforehand, you will be able to answer this question appropriately, practically, and strategically, all while remaining calm and confident. Simply follow our framework provided, and select either your old lengthy commute, lack of adequate pay, lack of advancement opportunities, or instability in order to devise your plan.