Laid Off Because of the Pandemic? Here’s How to Address it in an Interview

This has been a season filled with the unexpected. If one of them for you was a job loss, you’re not alone. Unemployment hit record highs during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as the global crisis is waning and more companies are hiring, you have to explain why you were laid off.

Don’t walk into an interview planning to wing it when asked. Despite many layoffs, potential employers will still want you to detail your specific circumstances. Here are some tips for addressing it:

Bring it up yourself.

If you’re the first one to bring it up, it’s sends the message that you’re not afraid to discuss the situation. You can assume the hiring manager already knows of the gap based on your resume. By bringing it up first – and being honest that the situation was related to COVID-19 – you’ll be able to demonstrate initiative and confidence, then move on to talking about why you’re a great fit.

Offer numbers.

For instance, if you were part of a larger round of layoffs, explain that to the hiring manager. If your old company eliminated your division or laid off hundreds of people, this offers specific proof that the layoff was due to the pandemic and not your performance. So be specific when you explain the circumstances, offering numbers wherever you can. Also, provide contact information to your old boss as a reference, so the hiring manager knows you’re comfortable with them reaching out to him or her.

Be brief.

While it’s important to be upfront and specific about the situation, don’t ramble on about it either. Be concise with whatever you say and then be ready to talk about other areas, like your background and why you’re interested in the job. The best way to to get the position is to be able to showcase your relevant skills and accomplishments. So be ready to segue into a discussion about what you can do for the company and why they should hire you.

Keep it positive.

While you might feel angry or upset about the layoff, don’t bring these emotions into the conversation. Keep everything you say about you past employer and manager positive, even if that’s not reality. Speak in a neutral way about the situation and then talk about the different steps you’ve been taking during your time off to gain new skills or expand your knowledge base.

Highlight skills and accomplishments.

To get the job, you need to show you’re the right fit. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared to talk about what specific skills you have or abilities that set you apart. Also, be prepared with examples of past accomplishments, as well as how they impacted your company, your department, or your customers. The more you can quantify your background and successes, the more memorable you’ll be as a candidate.

Were you laid off due to COVID-19? Do you need help finding your next job?

Turn to Provisional Recruiting. We’re one of Spokane’s top employment agencies and can connect you with a range of opportunities, whether you’re looking for a full-time or temporary role. We’ll learn about your skills and background, then give you access to companies that are a good fit, so you can get back on track with your career. Contact us or search our Spokane jobs now.

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