In a previous post that talked about offering too much information in an interview, one of the examples of TMI was, “…when queried about a prior employer, your answer ends up being, ‘XYZ Corporation was a great place to work. If I hadn’t been laid off, I’d still be there!’”
One reader asked, “Why would it be bad to say you would still be working at XYZ if you hadn’t been laid off?”
It’s a good question, really. On the one hand, responding enthusiastically about a past employer shows your level of commitment.
BUT, the negative side to that kind of answer really outweighs any potential positives.
In my response, I said, “If your time with XYZ Corporation has been fairly recent, ABC Company may be concerned that you would leave them to go back to a place you loved if the opportunity arose (e.g. if XYZ Corporation calls on you to offer a role comparable to what you had been doing previously).”
Think of it in this way — say that you are in a relationship and are very happy with your significant other. Things are going swimmingly when, suddenly, your beloved informs you that the relationship is over. Just like that. And, oh, you are told, “It’s not you. It’s me.”
You are devastated by the news. You try to make sense of it, but there’s just no way to do so. You have no choice but to plod forward with life.
You start getting out there, meeting new people, and there is someone who catches your eye. You get to know this person better and mutually decide to go on a date. One date turns into two, and from the feedback you are getting, it seems like a good fit.
During one of the early dates, the conversation turns to your prior relationship. And you gush, “Oh, I was really in love! Everything was great. If I had not been dumped, I would still be with my ex!”
Would you want to enter into a relationship with someone who is still living in the past? By the same token, how do you think a company would feel about a candidate who is still living in the past?
Even if you worked for the best employer in the world and it was unfortunate circumstances that led to you being laid off, don’t make the interviewer feel like they are a second choice. Be present in your interview.
Convey enthusiasm about the position and the company that is in front of you right now.
How present are you in your interviews?