Dealing with redundancy in interviews

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Losing your job can be devastating, whether you were expecting it or not. You may find it difficult to process what has happened, see light at the end of the tunnel and re-establish financial stability. Then, on top of all that, you’ll need to prepare to justify it your next interview. It’s tough, but with the widespread redundancies being made as a result of Covid-19, you’re certainly not alone.

As there’s no need to mention your redundancy in your cover letter, it’s highly likely that the first time you mention it will be in your interview. Any eagle-eyed hiring manager will notice if you’ve got gaps on your CV – and they won’t hesitate to question you about it. Even the calmest, most collected interviewee can start to get hot under the collar when asked why their role no longer exists, so try to prepare as best you can. Here’s how.

Come to terms with your current situation

When it comes to redundancy, it’s far too easy to feel like you’re ‘the chosen one’ – especially if you’re the only person in the company to lose your job. This can leaving you feeling resentful, as though your employer never valued you as much as your hard-working colleagues. However, given the current economic climate, this is often not the case.

Recently, businesses all over the world have been left with no choice but to make some really tough financial decisions – and making drastic cuts may be their only lifeline to recovery. Remember that there’s a stark difference between being fired and being made redundant, and your future employers know this just as well as you do.

Embrace organisational transformation

Long before Covid-19 came onto the scene, there was much discussion around the number of jobs that would eventually be lost to automated technologies. We already knew that digitisation and automation would totally transform the workplace, with over 70% of organisations already working on their digital transformation strategy. Covid-19 has simply accelerated this transition – and ruthlessly.

If your previous employer is restructuring the business internally, or your role has been replaced by new technologies, then be honest with your interviewer. Perhaps you’ve completed the transformation project that you were brought into the business to do, and despite achieving outstanding results, it’s now time to hand over the reigns. Briefly acknowledging why there was a need for change in the company – while giving a nod to your previous successes – can really work in your favour.

Look to the future, not to the past

During lockdown, many of us have had time to reconsider our priorities – and there’s no shame in admitting this to your interviewer. If you found yourself moving in a different direction to the one you were aiming for, it may well have been time for you to make your next career move. Where you can, try to steer the conversation towards your career aspirations and the skills and experience that will enable you to get there.

Here, confidence is key. After dusting yourself off and applying for your next role, know that you’re already on the right track. Then, if you can prove your resilience and determination to move past your redundancy, your interviewer is sure to see the potential that’s just waiting to be unleashed.

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