Smashing your first interview after being made redundant

Over the past year, many businesses have had to make the difficult decision to make redundancies within their team in order to stay afloat. If you’ve been on the receiving end of a redundancy decision, it’s hard not to take it personally, even if you’re not the only person who has been affected.

Not only can it cause a great deal of anxiety, particularly during a global pandemic, but redundancies can also wreak havoc with your confidence and self-esteem. You might be questioning whether there was anything you could have done differently or feeling like you’re not as talented as you once thought. These feelings can have a huge impact when it comes to your first interview post-redundancy.

These interviews can be more nerve-wracking than usual, as you’ll no doubt be eager to get back into the workplace as soon as possible. You’ll also probably be met with difficult questions about why you were made redundant. We understand that you’ll be feeling overwhelmed, so to help you we’ve compiled some expert tips to help you handle your first interview after being made redundant like a pro.

Prepare yourself for awkward questions

During the interview, there’s a strong possibility that the interviewer will want to know why you were let go from your previous role. As it’s the first interview after your redundancy, you might be feeling embarrassed or find talking about it challenging at the moment.

If you don’t prepare for this potentially awkward question in advance, you could find that your emotions take over. You might find that you talk too much or get tongue-tied as a result, which could be off-putting for your interviewer. So as part of your interview prep, take some time to come up with a short and concise answer that offers an explanation. While it can be tempting to embellish the truth, always stick to the facts- otherwise, it could come back to haunt you later on.

With so many people currently being made redundant due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s likely that you won’t be the only person the interviewer has come across who is going through this right now. Use this knowledge to calm your nerves.  

Talk about what you’ve been up to since being made redundant

Whether you’ve been out of work for a week or a few months, it’s important to let the interviewer that you’ve been proactive with your time since being made redundant. This can show that you’ve got a hardworking and tenacious attitude, which will naturally be appealing to the interviewer.

Perhaps you’ve spent some time updating your skills by enrolling onto an online course or by completing a qualification. Go into detail about what you’ve learned and emphasise how this new knowledge can add value to the company. Alternatively, if you’ve used some of your time in between work to do some voluntary work, focus on the soft skills you’ve developed and the tasks and responsibilities you had.

If you’ve not had the time to improve your skills or do voluntary work before your first interview, you should at the very least do some research of industry news and trends to expand your knowledge. That way you can enter your interview armed with some interesting points to talk about with your interviewer should the opportunity arise.

Put a positive spin on your redundancy

In some cases, the interviewer might encourage you to talk about your redundancy in more detail. While you could focus on the negative impact of your redundancy, such a financial challenges and lowered self-esteem, this probably isn’t going to earn you any points with your interviewer.

So instead, try to put a positive spin on your redundancy during your interview.  We know that this can be tricky, but it could actually work in your favour. Perhaps you could discuss how the experience has helped you to strengthen your character or given you the opportunity to consider what you want from your career. Maybe this time in-between roles has helped you to realise that you were no longer enjoying working in your industry and now you want to pursue something different.

Take some time before your interview to reflect on what you’ve learned from the experience to help you come up with some potential answers. There are no guarantees that the interviewer will ask you for more details, it’s always better to be over-prepared, than not.

Don’t dish the dirt on your previous employer

It’s an obvious point but one that’s worth repeating. If you’re unhappy with how your previous employer dealt with your redundancy, it’s important that you keep your negative opinions of them to yourself during your interview. Openly dishing the dirt on a previous employer won’t show you in a positive light and could do more harm than good during your interview.

Remember that your interviewer wants to hear about your accomplishments and what you can bring to their business, not how unprofessional or disorganised your previous employer was. So rather than giving into temptation, keep your feelings to yourself. If you have things you need to get off your chest, talk to a friend or relative about them before your interview so you’ve got the negativity out of your system before your interview.

The key to smashing the first interview after being made redundant is confidence and positivity. The saying goes fake it till you make it. So even if you don't feel particularly happy and confident on your interview day, pretend that you do. You'll be surprised just how much this can boost your self-esteem and change how you're perceived by the interviewer. Remember that even if you don't get offered a new role this time around, you can use the knowledge from this experience for your next interview, which will make it far less daunting. Good luck!

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29th January

Career Advice