Came across your web page and "ask a manager" section particularly interested me.
Here's my query: hope I get some guidance.
An overview to my profile:
I am an MBA graduate.
An HR professional (Based abroad)
I've worked for 5 yrs with mostly start-up organizations. Throughout my career I made sure that I give my best to the organizations (for which I did win loads of accolades as well).
To the best of my knowledge, I've always had positive feedback about my work and personality.
I got married in 2008; due to demands at home my work suffered and I was fired (without any prior warning). The markets crashed soon after and unemployment prevailed for most of the year in 2009. By the time the markets got greener for jobs, I got pregnant and had to continue staying at home.
My child is 6 months old now. I am ready to work now.
I am not clearing any interviews in spite of most interviews having indicated good outcome.
Most difficult questions/situations interviewers present me with are :
•why a junior position if I apply for non senior positions (after being a senior manager) ;
•why did you leave your previous job ?(gets tricky if I tell them the truth and will get messy if they find out that I was fired!).
•Some state I am too qualified to start off again at a junior position.
•Could it be possible that my previous employers are giving a negative feedback. (Is it possible that a company reference checks with my previous employers without my knowledge? )
As we say in the service business, you are only as strong as your last encounter. It can be difficult to bounce back from a termination, though you say you are “ready to work.” Let’s see if we can emphasize this aspect of your candidacy in your next round of interviews.
In this market, of course, most candidates are more than ready to work, and many are laid off from senior high-paying roles and competing for junior positions. You have your work cut out for you. The market also works in your favor in one way: most candidates have a gap between their most recent employment and the present day. You may have the advantage in some cases of being assumed laid off, rather than terminated, and you are under no obligation to reveal that in an interview.
When the question arises, meet it honestly. You may even use it as a selling point.
Never Stop Learning
If this is also a situation where you are applying for a role junior to one you held before, or seem more naturally qualified for, you can also add, “I may not have been ready for that level. In my current job search, I am looking for opportunities to refine my current skills and better prepare myself to return to the senior role.” Again, a question back keeps the conversation flowing in a feel-good direction. “Can you tell me about professional training or mentor opportunities in your organization?”
I was once surprised to be listed as a reference for an employee I had terminated. It had been years before, it was for cause, and with warning... and I bore no grudge. I gave the HR screener who called me all the positive feedback I could about the candidate’s skills and talents. And I did say, “You should know that I did terminate 'Isabel,' though it was many years ago. You may want to ask her about time management and meeting performance goals, which had given her difficulty. I expect she has developed since then and has some strong ideas about how to help others with that challenge.”