Don’t Let Potentially Negative Topics Ruin Your Job Interview!


Why did you leave that job? Why did you only stay with this company for 8 months? Why is there a gap in your resume? Did you take a non-linear or non-traditional career path? Does your resume leave you appearing like a job hopper?

We’ve all felt the rush of nervousness and discomfort when asked about these topics – some have even threatened to ruin a successful interview!

With time and practice, you can navigate these awkward interview topics and still have positive interview experiences. The key to successfully discussing these questions? Honesty, self awareness and having an innate interest in improving yourself to ensure similar situations in the future do not result in the same unsatisfactory outcome. 

This one is tough and a bit cringe-y when you’re being asked why a certain work place wasn’t a bit for you. Refraining from venting about a bad boss or a team that just couldn’t keep it together isn’t going to do you any favors and neither will placing blame but maintaining a sense of honesty is crucial. How can you accomplish this tricky balance? Focus in and explain the specific details of what caused the challenge and issues. Were you struggling in other facets of your life that intervened on your potential at work? Did you feel as if your contribution wasn’t valued? Were you contributing on a high level, “big picture” basis while you should have been concentrating on the details of your work? Being able to express yourself honestly and show your willingness to be transparent is key!

The next step in this process? Elaborate what you learned and reiterate how these insights shaped similar future experiences and lead to more favorable outcomes! 

Once you have directly and honestly explained the experience as said in Tip 1, you’ve got to follow up with your learnings! This is no doubt the most important piece of successfully navigating tough and potentially negative interview questions. Being able to show a well rounded sense of self and a humble awareness of your previous experiences is a skill that cannot be taught and is highly demanded by employers. Not everything goes to plan at work and unforeseen challenges will transpire, employers want employees who can look back at time when things didn’t go well and be analytical! Employers want employees who make mistakes and effectively learn from them, not employees who make the same mistake multiple times before they take time to think about what is going wrong. How you are able to reflect on previous experiences and recover from honest mistakes with humility and a willingness to take the time to evaluate what went wrong and how you can perform better in similar situations going forward can be one of your largest personal value propositions!

Being able to use your learnings from negative past work experience to reaffirm what type of work place is right for you is a great way to convey to your potential future employer that you’ve got a great sense of self awareness and understand what you need to succeed in the workplace! Have you discovered that you need an open door communication policy as you are respectfully direct in your interpersonal interactions? Are you best suited to fulfill a “do-er” role than a strategizing role? Do you contribute to the “big picture” basis rather than on a detailed level? Use these insights to shape your career and ensure you find that “just right” role.



PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping  Northwest job seekers find their “just right” jobs for over 40 years.

A  3 time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.

PACE provides multiple placement options….

  • Direct Placement – Full or Part Time
  • Temp to Hire Auditions
  • Short or Long Term Temporary or Contract Assignments – Full or Part Time

Our services for job seekers include….

  • Resume reviews and consultations
  • Access to the “Hidden Job Market”
  • Insider intros to TOP Employers HIRING NOW
  • Confidential Job Searches
  • Professional Career Guidance

There is NEVER A FEE for using our services. 

We provide paid absence and healthcare benefits for employees assigned to work at client sites thru our services. .

To learn more about how one 2 minute application can open doors to a full range of PACE placement services plus introductions to local employers hiring now,  contact PACE’s candidate services team at 425-637-3301 or e mail candidates services at[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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