What to Say in Interviews After Your Position Was Eliminated was originally published on Ivy Exec.
Getting laid off can feel like the end of the world… But it’s far from it.
Feeling nervous about losing your job isn’t uncommon. In fact, 78 percent of Americans are worried about losing their jobs, so you’re just a drop in the bucket. A wealth of research says that concerns over job security can lead to low motivation and crippling employee engagement. The loss of job security can even cause depression, anxiety, and some physical ailments. It’s no easy pill to swallow.
If that “layoff anxiety,” as Harvard researchers call it, is realized—and your position is, indeed, eliminated—it can certainly take a toll on you both mentally and physically, too.
Many people experience mental and emotional symptoms like anxiety, irritability, feelings of worthlessness, decreased self-esteem, frustration, and shame. Some physical symptoms include fatigue, nausea, headaches, muscle aches, weight loss or gain, sleep disturbances, and more.
If you’ve been laid off, however, you’re not alone. Just this year, hundreds of thousands of startup workers have been let go.
Here’s how to approach the layoff in interviews for new jobs after your last position was eliminated.
✅ Keep your explanation short, sweet, and to the point.
Don’t try to beat around the bush. If the interviewer asks, simply explain why you were laid off. You don’t need to get into all the details, but you do need to be honest about it.
✅ Focus on the positives, not the negatives.
Don’t harp on what went wrong with your last job or why your position, department, or the entire company went under. Instead, keep the conversation an optimistic one. Talk about what you learned while working in your last role, even though it was cut short. You can also talk about the lessons you learned from being laid off or while you’ve been unemployed.
⛔ Never badmouth your former employer.
Whatever you do, don’t talk badly about your former employer. Not only does this make you look unprofessional, but it can also worry your potential prospective employer. They may wonder whether or not you’ll badmouth them or that company, too. Showing respect goes a long way.
✅ Show that your layoff was not due to poor job performance.
If you didn’t get laid off due to poor performance (i.e., fired), make sure that it’s known. Explain why your position or department got cut, or talk about why the company didn’t work out. Make sure you back up your claims with hard facts, such as metrics, to prove your performance and successes with the company.
✅ Talk about your track record of reliability over the course of your career.
Sure, maybe your last employer laid you off. But if you held other jobs before that one, you should talk about them. Showing a positive track record over the whole course of your career—not just your last job—can help you make a case for yourself.
✅ Ask questions about the job role for which you’re applying.
Always ask questions in an interview. After all, interviews should be two-way streets. They should feel like conversations because you have to make a decision about the company just as much as the company has to make a decision about you. If you’re someone who is struggling with layoff anxiety, asking questions that affirm job security and a positive career trajectory can be helpful. They also show that you’re interested in the role and plan on sticking around.