Interviewing Tips/job interview

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Question
Hi Deepa,

After being laid off from my last job due to acquisition, I was unemployed for over a year. The job I have now is absolutely the worst job I've ever had and certainly more than I am able to handle. The problem is I felt I had to accept the offered position due to Unemployment Compensation rules (since I applied to it) or possibly suffer financial consequences should an audit occur. Ironically, it is the best paying job I've ever held. It is a state agency and things couldn't be more different than any private company I've ever worked for. It is super fast-paced and I don't really feel like I'm getting it in addition to making tons of mistakes.

I instinctively knew when I started that this job was wrong for me, even though some of my past experience could be useful. I am "detail-oriented", yet this job is hyper- Detailed. I feel like I'm losing an uphill battle since I started 2.5 months ago. Incidentally, I have felt miserable and frustrated there since the first week, something that has never happened in any previous job held! In that regard, if I am terminated (which is probably likely due to management assessment of my performance), how do I present this to an interviewer when they ask why I left my last job or why I was fired? Can I say the job was a poor fit for my skill set and personality? I want to make sure to not be too negative in the process. Please help me. I do have a very good job history, so this would be the shortest position I've held so far. Thanks.

Answer
Hi Wayne,

Before we get into what you should tell prospective employers in an interview, I think you should reconsider your current situation further. Don't be intimidated by the fast pace, if you put in your best effort with a positive mindset, you might be able to turn the situation around. Also remember that you don't have to be excellent at this job right away, but so long as you meet their minimum standards for performance, and show improvements along the way even though they may be small, you may not get fired. There are a lot of advantages for trying to make this job work:

1. It is a well paying position - not many people have this opportunity
2. It will help you grow as an employee - it is outside your comfort level, and if you conquer this, you can do even more in other positions.
3. You will gain valuable experience, and it will make your resume stronger.
4. It will buy you time to look for another position - it is usually easier to find work while you are in another position than when you are unemployed.

If you have a supervisor who is willing to work with you on this, ask for help. Say you are committed to doing better, and need their support/feedback/tools/resources in getting there. If your supervisor doesn't have time, see if you can find a senior level co-worker or mentor.

If this doesn't work out and you quit or get fired, it is okay to say that the position was poor fit, but be prepared to elaborate specifically why. Also explain how the job you are applying for is a good fit, so this doesn't happen again. Say you gave it your best, but you weren't happy in that position. Avoid saying anything negative about the people, you can say negative things about the tasks/processes. However be careful how you word it because if you say you were making mistakes because the job was fast-paced, most places will see that as a negative. But if you were making mistakes because it was not of interest to you or because it wasn't explained properly to you, or you didn't agree to the pace because you thought there could have been a better process, that is a much better way of explaining why it wasn't a good fit.

Thanks
Deepa

Interviewing Tips

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Deepa Barve, CIR

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding interviews, resumes, cover letters and job searching in general. I can answer questions from both candidates (interviewee), as well as hiring managers, supervisors, and recruiters; in other words the "interviewer". I have a large network, so I can also provide resources and referrals. I have over 7 years of recruiting experience and inside information on how hiring managers think and select candidates, and I would love to share this knowledge with job-seekers to enable them to find their dream job.

Experience

I am the Lead Technical Recruiter for an engineering consulting firm, and I have been in recruiting for over seven years. I have recruited for a variety of positions (exempt, non-exempt, executive) and worked across diverse industries (hi-tech, retail, hospitality, medical device). For more information, please visit my profile on LinkedIn. www.linkedin.com/pub/deepa-barve-cir/5/796/1b0

Publications
Recruiting related articles published on www.examiner.com - http://www.examiner.com/article/interviewing-the-interviewer-1

Education/Credentials
MBA - Marketing

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