Author Topic: Gap on resume - explanations?  (Read 11430 times)

mozar

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Gap on resume - explanations?
« on: April 27, 2015, 08:57:36 PM »
Hello,
Today I had an interview with a recruiter. He asked me why I left my job 5 years ago (I've had jobs since and am currently employed). I said I was let go. He kept coming back to it and I kept saying I was let go and the employer didn't give me a reason (the employer said here is $2k if you don't sue us, you can leave immediately if you want to, that's it). Long story short he called me a liar and showed me the door.  Needless to day this recruiting company is no longer welcome to interview me (this is the second rude recruiter I've had with them). Now the recruiter was a young chap, just graduated from college, so he's probably been fed all sorts of nonsense.

What actually happened 5 years ago was that the company was cleaning house. They saw the recession as an opportunity to let go of all of their non "top performers. So I think about 15 out of 20 people at my level were fired. I think I was one of the last ones to go. The reason why I was not a "top performer" was because my manager had been pressuring me to talk about Jesus and pray with her, and I told her (in my naive-ness) that I am an atheist. Our relationship deteriorated from there and she wrote me a bad review. Now these things happen and its my burden to bear but I'm not sure what to say during interviews.
This is the first time it's come up in a few years. Usually hiring managers don't care. I have left it on my resume because they're just going to ask if I have had any previous jobs anyway. Or they will ask what I did between grad school and the job after that. If I don't put my graduation date they will ask because they want to guess my age...so that's why it's on there.
Any suggestions?
As always, thank you mustachians.

Kwill

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2015, 09:11:01 PM »
Seems like you could say that, with the difficult economic situation, 15 out of the 20 people at your level were let go. Your company wasn't the only one struggling 5 years ago. I wouldn't mention the tension with your manager. If the recruiter or another company wants to investigate how your manager felt about, then they can call the old company and ask.

mozar

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2015, 09:13:27 PM »
Oh I forgot to add that a couple years ago I called my old company and asked them what my record said. It says I was let go because of "skill mismatch."

Kwill

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2015, 09:19:02 PM »
If 75% of people at your level were all fired around the same time, your firing was probably due as much to the larger situation as to your personal qualities.

Ricky

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2015, 09:33:58 PM »
You're not lying by leaving out unnecessary details.

MsPeacock

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2015, 04:50:38 AM »
Seems like you could say that, with the difficult economic situation, 15 out of the 20 people at your level were let go. Your company wasn't the only one struggling 5 years ago. I wouldn't mention the tension with your manager. If the recruiter or another company wants to investigate how your manager felt about, then they can call the old company and ask.

+1 - that is a perfectly acceptable answer. Saying "I was just let go" and "I don't know why" sounds dodgy and suspicious. Saying the company was downsizing and I was let go along with 75% of the staff sounds realistic (and also accurate - you aren't lying - that is exactly what happened). Leave out any conflict w/ management, atheism, etc.

matchewed

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2015, 05:48:22 AM »
Also have you picked up any skills in that 5 year time frame? If the old company is claiming skill mismatch you can counter by showing the skills you've gained since.

MrsPete

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2015, 05:54:56 AM »
Seems like you could say that, with the difficult economic situation, 15 out of the 20 people at your level were let go. Your company wasn't the only one struggling 5 years ago. I wouldn't mention the tension with your manager. If the recruiter or another company wants to investigate how your manager felt about, then they can call the old company and ask.
Perfect answer:  The company downsized because of the economy, you were one of many people let go.  It was a regretable situation, but it wasn't personal. 

And move on. 

This is an acceptable answer, whereas "I don't know" sounds like one of my high school students saying, "I didn't know the test was today!"

I also agree that you shouldn't mention the tension with your manager.  When anyone tells me, "I couldn't get along with ___", I always wonder who was really to blame.  It may've been totally the fault of the old manager, and she may be the only co-worker you've ever had difficulty with, but it opens the door to the question, "Is this person the one who spreads dissent and trouble in the office?" 

I'm a red panda

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2015, 06:59:59 AM »
I've never had problems explaining my layoff as "the Company let go the majority of my department. When I was laid off I was told it was through no fault of my own."  (Which is what they told me.)

I know exactly why I was laid off: the program wasn't making money, and programs don't like to spend more than they bring in.

"I don't know" sounds evasive.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2015, 06:54:14 AM by iowajes »

frugaliknowit

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2015, 07:17:48 AM »
Who cares what one recruiter says?  Many of them are young and inexperienced.  You call them back, then find out they've jumped ship.  Work with others.  If you don't like any of them, don't work with them.

mozar

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2015, 09:11:03 PM »
Yep definitely moving on to other recruiters.
I'm surprised the consensus is that I should say they were downsizing, because it implies I'm not a top performer (because they didn't downsize everyone, and I thought it wouldn't be helpful to say unless the entire company was shut down) which could set off red flags. (I know sounding evasive sounds worse which is why I'm asking).
It was personal and it was "my fault" because they didn't like my face or whatever. I looked up hr rules/laws and it said that unless you were told that you were downsized, you were fired. And if I say it was the economy, they can call the employer and my record will say "skill mismatch" and then I will be accused of lying. In my industry the worse thing you can do is lie.

Re: matchewed I don't want to say that my skills have improved because my skills weren't actually an issue in the first place

Zamboni

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2015, 10:20:17 PM »
I'm curious what they said to you on your last day there.  Was it really just here is $2K if you don't sue us?  Was it "you know you last review was poor, so we're letting you go." Or was it a "as you know we are reducing staff at your level" kind of thing. Because skill mismatch doesn't really mean anything to me, and I don't think anyone who gets that line from that employer will know what it means. It certainly doesn't mean you don't have skills.

How long did you work there?  Do you need to list it for some particular reason (type of work you did shows unique experience that you'd like hiring managers to know about, is it a big recognizable employer name?) If it wasn't a long time working there, then I'd just leave graduation years and that job off my resume at this point and be done with it.

gooki

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2015, 02:15:22 AM »
When there downsizing by 75% it's not an issue of being a top performer or not.

mozar

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2015, 11:36:52 AM »
They literally said nothing. They said can we speak to you today? They took me into an office. They said "today is your last day and if you sign this paper saying you won't sue us we will give you severence pay." I know it's hard to believe. They didn't mention my reviews and reviews from other managers were good. But again they didn't give a reason. So here is a conversation I had with a recruiter a few years ago. Recruiter: what happened with this job? Me: I was let go during the recession. Recruiter: did the company shut down? Me: no. Recruiter: so it sounds like they kept their top performers. Why weren't you a top performer? Me: I don't know.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2015, 11:49:58 AM »
How long is the gap between the lay off and the next job you had?

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2015, 11:51:30 AM »
You could tell them that your reviews did not rank you, that you consistently had the highest quality rating, but the company did not tell you why they chose to let you go; but there was nothing to indicate it was performance related.

(Heck- you might have been better than someone else, but they were cheaper.)

Never use "I don't know".    If you have to, fluff it up to sound better.  "My previous reviews indicated I was a top performer and performance was not given as a reason for my layoff. Over 75% of my department was let go, so I cannot speculate on how they determined exactly who to keep."   

If they keep pushing I would really work on re-framing the discussion about the skills you've gained since then and about what you did while you were there.

And I agree with others that if you can just start your resume after that job since this has apparently been a problem for you.


Also, I would be shocked if your employer gives a reason for your lay-off. All the places I've worked in HR the ONLY thing I could say to someone checking references was "Yes, he did work here."  "His start date was X and his end date is Y."  NOTHING else.

mozar

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2015, 12:34:00 PM »
Ok, that's a good idea. It was nine months. In my field they mostly hire in the fall and I was laid off in january. I slow travelled for a few months in new zealand then came back and started applying so nbd.

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2015, 01:11:51 PM »
Because economy!

So during the recession I worked at a place that went through 4 rounds of layoffs.  Each of those layoffs had a different tone.

I'm going though this now just to give you some perspective regarding top performer and stuff like that.  People who have been paying attention aren't going to assume anything about you.  Don't let it tank your confidence.  People who haven't been paying attention aren't worthy of your concern about what they think.

So the first round was right around the time my company figured out something was going wrong.  That was late December 2008.  Around 10% of our clients had gone out of business.  That's 10% of our invoices weren't going to get paid.  The company told each office how much to cut.  The manager of the office had to identify how to do that.  Our manager did it by figuring out the fewest employees to cut and hit that number.

Performance was not taken into it.  Sick days, vacation balances, client satisfaction, sales, nothing was factored in.  The most expensive engineer got cut, and a secretary.  Their two costs combined was slightly over the number he needed.

The randomness of this has stayed with me ever since.

The second round came a few months later, and the managers had a lot more time to make the decision.  They had basically known it was coming since right after the previous round.  In the second round, every employee they'd had a reason to fire in the past 5 years but hadn't because there was too much work, they let go.  So if you had lost your temper and cost us a client, but managed to just barely hold on to your job, well, now you were out.  HR went through the personnel files and if yours wasn't flawless, you were out.

I kind of don't have a problem with this.  It seems a little wrong, it seems like there ought to be forgiveness, recent history trumps ancient mistakes, but if someone has to go this seems OK.  It's sort of like when a 55 year old goes to jail for something they did when they were 18, is there really any justice for anyone?  They'd clearly started over and been contributing since...

The third round missed our office entirely.  This round was entirely voluntary.  Nobody was strictly speaking, laid off, but the salary and compensation packages were reduced so severely that a solid 20% of the company resigned.  Basically, the best or proudest people left.  I was young and drank the company kool-aid to stay and fight on and help out by taking a smaller salary, but I regret it.

The fourth round was the deepest cut.  This was the first to be done properly.  A fair and honest evaluation of each person's contribution.  How many dollars are you earning the company, or allowing others at the company to earn?  The spare executives got cut, the extra project secretaries.  The IT guy who was someone's son.  The engineer who refused to learn the new software.  I still believe if they'd done this cut first, the others wouldn't have been necessary.

By the end of it, the best people at the company were gone.  The worst people at the company were gone.  A lot of people in the middle were gone.  It was random.  In 5 years I had 6 bosses.  40% of our clients no longer exist.  The ones that are still there exist because they're good at not spending too much money on services like ours.  Out of the original office of 15 people, when I finally left there were only 3 others still there from when I started.

All told, it was four years of random bullshit.  When someone tells me now that they were laid off, I make no judgement as to why.  Neither should anyone else.

If a company hits a rough spot and has to reduce staff, it simply doesn't follow that the staff they eliminate are useless, or tainted, or whatever.  Every company I ever worked for was pretty ruthless about cutting useless people on a regular basis.  The reason layoffs are bad is that the company is often forced to cut perfectly fine employees.

It's true that the best time to find a job is when you already have one, but never be ashamed about your story.

"Why were you let go?"
"My company wasn't managed properly, and had hired more employees than they could sustain.  I didn't take it personally, most of the new hires at my level were also let go.  They were kind enough to let us use the computers in our last few weeks to send out resumes and so forth."
"I'd work there again, if they were hiring in an office closer to my new place, no hard feelings."
*shrug* "Nothing to do with me, as soon as they let me go it stopped being my problem, on to the next challenge."

BlueHouse

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2015, 02:06:57 PM »
Don't let it tank your confidence. 
<snip>
It's true that the best time to find a job is when you already have one, but never be ashamed about your story.

Look at yourself in the mirror and tell the story until you can say it without batting an eye.  There is nothing to be ashamed of in your story.  Get the story down to the fewest words and only the relevant ones.  You were laid-off, fired, shit-canned, tossed out on your ass, ass-kicked, made redundant, etc.  Say it over and over again, in a serious voice, in a whisper, in a shout, in song, and in a joyful way.   Use every euphemism you can think of.  Be proud of it.  This exercise helps you lose emotion. If there is anything in your voice that shows embarrassment over it, then you've just lost the interview. 

MrsPete is right on the money with what you should say during interviews:
Perfect answer:  The company downsized because of the economy, you were one of many people let go.  It was a regrettable situation, but it wasn't personal. 


rmendpara

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2015, 02:25:08 PM »
Most important thing is to not come off as complaining and obviously to not be too honest.

When there's a big company problem, you just state facts. Recruiters can draw their own conclusions and you don't control that.

"Well, the company had recently lost around 1/3 of the client base, and by the time I was laid off, around 3/4 of the analysts at my level were no longer with the company. I'd like to add that during the majority of my time there, I had positive reviews and feedback, up until the very end of my time with the company."

Any further probing is silly, and the recruiter is just a moron. It happens. Accept that some people don't knwo what they're doing.

For what it's worth, at investment banks when the company or group/desk gets into financial trouble, the 1st person to be shown the door is the lowest performer. The 2nd? The star who gets paid too much.

zinethstache

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2015, 02:59:26 PM »
Keep in mind that when being interviewed, it is a test. Interviewers are trying to get under your skin, to see what you are made of. As a hiring manager I don't want to hear your life story but a cryptic "I don't know" is also unacceptable given that you are then to sell yourself. I like the idea of practicing your speech to the point that you are totally comfortable and confident in the message. You will forever have this gap so it is best to master the message sooner than later:) There are lots of good suggestions on what to say, pick your story and master it. The best of luck to you!

mozar

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2015, 04:11:00 PM »
Thanks. I will start practicing.

Zamboni

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2015, 04:52:58 PM »
Good story, OldestYoungMan. I suspect that scenario for layoffs is pretty common.  Especially the first round, which is often made in a very short time frame under duress (ie figure out how to cut 10% of your budget by Saturday!)

Hi Mozar, I agree with the above.  Also, if you were only there 9 months, you can say that you understood that you didn't have any seniority and it was therefore no surprise that you and others new hires got let go when the economy tanked.  "Last hired, first fired" is a saying for a reason.

Finally, "I don't know" is sometimes honest but definitely not the best answer to any questions in an interview. Try replacing it by starting out with "Hmmm, that's a good question!" It gives you an extra moment to come up with some speculation while also complimenting the interviewer.

Good luck with your job search!

I'm a red panda

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2015, 05:36:28 PM »
Also, if you were only there 9 months, you can say that you understood that you didn't have any seniority and it was therefore no surprise that you and others new hires got let go when the economy tanked.  "Last hired, first fired" is a saying for a reason.


I didn't notice the only 9 months part. I think this is a perfect explanation.  "I lacked seniority at the time of layoffs."

mozar

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2015, 06:00:45 PM »
I was there 18 months. Unemployed for 9 months after.

curler

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2015, 06:58:25 PM »
Still, an answer of "Due to the economy, I was laid off, along with 75% of my group" is sufficient won't reflect poorly on you, and is much better than "I don't know".

ender

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2015, 08:05:08 PM »
Some recruiters are morons and complete idiots.

You appear to have found one.

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2015, 08:30:04 PM »
Ok, that's a good idea. It was nine months. In my field they mostly hire in the fall and I was laid off in january. I slow travelled for a few months in new zealand then came back and started applying so nbd.

If I'm reading this right, Job A ended in January of 2010, and Job B started in October, right? Then on your resume I'd say:

Job A 2009-2010
Job B 2010-???

Can't see anyone even asking about it then. If they do, the responses here about 75% downsizing due to economy is perfect.

mozar

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2015, 09:07:05 PM »
Hmmm, I've thought about taking the months off. I don't want to accused of hiding things tho, and have to sit there while the recruiter goes through the months for each job. They are obsessed with months. They love to nitpick about it. It's the easiest way to reject someone. /End rant.

catccc

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2015, 10:29:57 PM »
Hmmm, I've thought about taking the months off. I don't want to accused of hiding things tho, and have to sit there while the recruiter goes through the months for each job. They are obsessed with months. They love to nitpick about it. It's the easiest way to reject someone. /End rant.

I leave the months off of my resume.  It fogs the fact that I once took a job that i hated and quit 2 months later, and it also shortens the gap during which I was a stay at home mom.  Unfortunately, it also makes of my jobs that I had for almost 2 years look like just one year.  If they ask, just say with the layoff, you decided it was a good opportunity to get some travelling done that you'd been dreaming about.

choppingwood

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2015, 10:52:13 PM »
The suggestions about how to explain a layoff are solid.

The last time I was looking for work as an HR Manager, I had left my employer because a number of senior managers were treating me like dirt. A major recruiting company in my field refused to consider me for any job because of this, though I had years of great experience and solid references. Another strong recruiting company in my field put my resume forward to work at a great job on a term basis. That organization has rehired me twice, and I am just finishing up three years of work there.

As an a HR Manager, I won't use the recruitment agency that wouldn't consider me. I have hired through the recruitment agency that did take me seriously, when I need someone in a hurry. And the senior managers who were treating me like dirt all got fired  -- publicly -- the next year.

In general, though, I don't think that recruitment agencies are the best way to find job -- or to find someone to hire. You can represent yourself better to a hiring company than someone else and it just adds to the number of people who can screen you out. And if a company is recruiting the same way, it is time to look at different companies.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2015, 07:01:51 AM »
It's the easiest way to reject someone.

My goodness, what field do you work in?

I work in a field that is highly competitive to find the best work, but the companies are most interested in finding top talent, not wasting people's time and trying to reject them.   My lay-off, due to the economy, has never gotten more than a second thought.  Because in 2009, nearly every company had massive lay offs.  It had nothing to do with the people who lost their jobs in most cases.  Especially since you have worked since then. (Now if you hadn't found a job SINCE 2010, that would be a problem.)

mozar

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #32 on: April 30, 2015, 07:19:24 PM »
Accounting.

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2015, 07:34:58 PM »
Hmmm, I've thought about taking the months off. I don't want to accused of hiding things tho, and have to sit there while the recruiter goes through the months for each job. They are obsessed with months. They love to nitpick about it. It's the easiest way to reject someone. /End rant.

Honestly, it sounds like the way you're responding (or not) to questions is prompting them to dig for more information. My guess is your interview style is more of an issue than a layoff or dates. It might pay off to practice with a friend who's a stellar interviewer.

mozar

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #34 on: April 30, 2015, 07:53:31 PM »
I agree that's a part of it. If I feel the recruiter is being disrespectful I get irritated and tight lipped. All the jobs I've gotten are where the recruiter is just an intermediary and passes me to the hiring manager or just makes me an offer right away. I didn't have to interview for my current job.

I don't think practicing with someone will help. With hiring managers who are familiar with accounting, I am witty, gracious, great at saying the things they are looking for (typically that I understand the jargon), etc. But recruiters! Oh, the piss me off so much. This kid wanted me to pretend like this was a "real interview" and give him details about my current job. His eyes just glazed over, but then was mad when I stopped talking. He knew nothing about how job interviews actually go. It's as if he read yahoo answers on how to interview. Anyways, I rarely come across idiots like this anymore, especially with the economy improving, all of the sudden recruiters are getting nicer.

Kwill

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #35 on: May 01, 2015, 06:27:33 AM »
Maybe you could try to see yourself as magnanimously initiating the inexperienced recruiter into the wonderful world of accounting that you know and love. Rather than sending annoyed and hateful vibes in response to dumb questions.

mozar

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2015, 08:25:28 PM »
Hey I tried, I started off gently. But he was really arrogant.

Goldielocks

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #37 on: May 03, 2015, 12:15:56 AM »
They literally said nothing. They said can we speak to you today? They took me into an office. They said "today is your last day and if you sign this paper saying you won't sue us we will give you severence pay." I know it's hard to believe. They didn't mention my reviews and reviews from other managers were good. But again they didn't give a reason. So here is a conversation I had with a recruiter a few years ago. Recruiter: what happened with this job? Me: I was let go during the recession. Recruiter: did the company shut down? Me: no. Recruiter: so it sounds like they kept their top performers. Why weren't you a top performer? Me: I don't know.

At this point you can answer the RECRUITER with " I was not a great fit for their culture, as I felt uncomfortable praying publically to Jesus with my manager, as requested.  So when business fell, and they laid off 75% at my level, it included me.""

I may not reply to the hiring company that way, but a recruiter? More likely.

Also I when 20% or less are let go, it is bottom performer cleanup, at 75% it is restructuring.

mozar

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #38 on: May 03, 2015, 08:58:45 PM »
Hmm. What do you meant by restructuring exactly?

matchewed

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #39 on: May 04, 2015, 08:30:28 AM »
Hmm. What do you meant by restructuring exactly?

What is meant is that when a company lets go of that many people it is doing some serious changes to the company, i.e. restructuring.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #40 on: May 04, 2015, 08:56:15 AM »
Restructuring example: My employer downsized last year because they had built up the administrative infrastructure to be bigger than they were actually able to be in terms of revenue. Not the fault of anybody who was let go, they were just truly not needed.

Now they're hiring again.

catccc

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #41 on: May 04, 2015, 11:38:59 AM »
I'm also in accounting.  The recruiters want you to act like you are on a real interview so they know how it will go when they send you on a real one.  If they send in duds that say "I don't know" that hiring manager will not want to take many candidates from that recruiter.  It is very much to the recruiters benefit, to the tune of 20% of your salary, to place you successfully. 

I am upfront and honest about my job history, I have had them ask about the months, explain to them why I have that in years, and they have always agreed with my approach.  They aren't your enemy, they are your resource.  Yeah, some of them are stupid kids trying to get their commission, but suck it up and play nice.  You know in your heart of hearts you are better than them, anyway.  I'm being sarcastic.  Maybe you aren't, maybe you are, but the candidate/recruiter relationship can be symbiotic.  Let it be.

That said, as an accounting job hopper (8 jobs in 12 years of career), I have always worked with recruiters in my job searches, but 5 of 8 times I ended up finding a position on my own/directly with the company.  So you certainly don't have to rely completely on them to find a job. 

(Just remember their job is to make the most placements.  If you make x salary and another candidate makes x+10K, you better believe the recruiter is sending out the other guy for the higher paying positions.  If you get that higher paying position, he can't give the lower paying position to the other guy.  They just want to make their matches...)


Axecleaver

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #42 on: May 04, 2015, 02:08:05 PM »
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If I feel the recruiter is being disrespectful I get irritated and tight lipped. All the jobs I've gotten are where the recruiter is just an intermediary and passes me to the hiring manager or just makes me an offer right away. I didn't have to interview for my current job.
Your primary issue appears to be interview performance. The recruiter is a gatekeeper, he's not the decision-maker. You're not making it past the gatekeeper. You need to be engaging and pleasant with everyone between you and the hiring manager, and that includes recruiters who know nothing about your line of work. It sounds like you don't have a lot of interview experience. One way to get it is to do a lot of interviewing and see what works and what doesn't.

Whenever there is a gap on your resume, you need to have a good explanation for it. Don't be evasive or irritable, these are not qualities that will get you hired.

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I'm surprised the consensus is that I should say they were downsizing, because it implies I'm not a top performer
No, this is a common misperception. Experienced hiring managers know that layoffs rarely consider job performance. They are more likely to be about office politics. Top performers are just as likely to be cut as bottom performers because they make the most money. I recommend saying, "My company had a [choose one: Reduction in Force (RIF)/restructuring/downsizing/layoff] and they cut 75% of my department." as other respondents have suggested. Keep it simple and move the conversation on.

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All told, it was four years of random bullshit.  When someone tells me now that they were laid off, I make no judgement as to why.  Neither should anyone else.
Exactly right.

One other piece of advice, never say that you had a personal conflict with anyone at work. Half of people who quit do so because they hate their boss, even if they like their coworkers . This is the last thing you should ever admit to in an interview. Saying you had a conflict with your boss always ends up making you look bad. As far as your interviewer is concerned, you are compliant, pleasant and easy to work with.

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I leave the months off of my resume.  It fogs the fact that I once took a job that i hated and quit 2 months later
No months in the employment dates is a red flag, any experienced interviewer will immediately recognize that you left the months off your resume and will ask you about that. Do not do this, just have a good story for your time between jobs. 

Good luck Mozar!

catccc

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #43 on: May 05, 2015, 07:46:29 AM »

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I leave the months off of my resume.  It fogs the fact that I once took a job that i hated and quit 2 months later
No months in the employment dates is a red flag, any experienced interviewer will immediately recognize that you left the months off your resume and will ask you about that. Do not do this, just have a good story for your time between jobs. 


I have to disagree, and I've had several experienced recruiters feel the same.  It depends.  That job that I took that I quit 2 months later was my 3rd job of 8.  I've successfully found 5 jobs since then (and I left the prior positions on my own accord).  If people probe, I am honest, I tell them I took this job that wasn't a good fit (great position, title, very small company, realized there was no room for growth and they were not up for positive change, etc.)  I tell them that I leave it off because I want to get in for an interview and show I am a capable person before they pass judgement on that blip.

Mozar can change it to years, and if people ask, he can say he was laid off along with 3/4 of his colleagues in an unfortunate downsizing move (end explanation). But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because he took the opportunity to do some extended traveling before hopping back into the job market.  Yes, it can be a red flag, but often it will just raise a question.  (And they need to talk to you in an interview or over the phone to get an answer.)  If you are a good interviewer, you just need to get them to see you.  Once they feel you are the right person to get the job done, the right fit for the culture, it's not going to matter that you didn't have the months on there, esp. if you explain it well.

Also, the further you get into your career, the less they will care about months, in my experience.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2015, 07:50:10 AM by catccc »

BlueHouse

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #44 on: May 05, 2015, 11:15:38 AM »

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I leave the months off of my resume.  It fogs the fact that I once took a job that i hated and quit 2 months later
No months in the employment dates is a red flag, any experienced interviewer will immediately recognize that you left the months off your resume and will ask you about that. Do not do this, just have a good story for your time between jobs. 


I have to disagree, and I've had several experienced recruiters feel the same.  It depends.  That job that I took that I quit 2 months later was my 3rd job of 8.  I've successfully found 5 jobs since then (and I left the prior positions on my own accord).  If people probe, I am honest, I tell them I took this job that wasn't a good fit (great position, title, very small company, realized there was no room for growth and they were not up for positive change, etc.)  I tell them that I leave it off because I want to get in for an interview and show I am a capable person before they pass judgement on that blip.

Mozar can change it to years, and if people ask, he can say he was laid off along with 3/4 of his colleagues in an unfortunate downsizing move (end explanation). But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because he took the opportunity to do some extended traveling before hopping back into the job market.  Yes, it can be a red flag, but often it will just raise a question.  (And they need to talk to you in an interview or over the phone to get an answer.)  If you are a good interviewer, you just need to get them to see you.  Once they feel you are the right person to get the job done, the right fit for the culture, it's not going to matter that you didn't have the months on there, esp. if you explain it well.

Also, the further you get into your career, the less they will care about months, in my experience.

I've only ever had one person ask me for months and I used to interview quite a lot.  I think it depends on your industry, etc.  Now that I'm a self-employed contractor, I don't even have a resume.  I use a "bio" and write about myself in the 3rd person (standard for proposals, but still seems weird to me).  You also reach a point in your career, where what you've accomplished is much more important than a job history.  So depending on where you are in yours, you may decide to change the entire section to "relevant experience" and only include the jobs that you want to highlight for THIS job.  One recruiter asked me about that one time and I said I'd be happy to complete a job history for an application, but that's not what I wanted to highlight as a selling point. 
I haven't had to look for work in over 8 years and I know it's changed a lot out there.  Are recruiters even relevant anymore? 

catccc

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Re: Gap on resume - explanations?
« Reply #45 on: May 05, 2015, 01:31:27 PM »
I haven't had to look for work in over 8 years and I know it's changed a lot out there.  Are recruiters even relevant anymore? 

I think it varies a lot by type of work, but in my experience, they are still heavily used in accounting.  Accounting is an easy one, there are lots of compartmentalized skills.  I've always felt as a candidate that recruiters are like servers, and you almost go in and order a job to meet certain specs.  Same from the other end as a hiring manager,you tell a recruiter you want x years of abc experience, exposure to 1, 2 & 3, and they set you up with some interviews.