Colman Collins MD of Collins McNicholas gives some advice to jobseekers who have gone through redundancy.

About answering the dreaded Q; “What have you been doing since you were made redundant?”
The first point I would make to someone attending an interview who is asked this question at an interview is to answer it truthfully as experienced interviewers are trained to pick up anybody’s language clues that you might inadvertently give which could indicate when this is not the case.

As any outplacement provider will tell you it takes time to come to terms with being made redundant and to deal with the myriad of feelings and emotions that can arise from such an event. In this situation it is better to work through these feelings before applying for any positions as any feelings of anger, resentment or despair are likely to emerge at an interview and are likely to indicate to the interviewer that you are not ready to move on and start the next chapter in your career.

I would also suggest to a person in this situation that it is not necessary to account for every week that you are out of work by filling it up with an account of positions applied for and of interviews attended. On the contrary, it is quite acceptable to respond by saying that you used the redundancy experience to take some time out to take stock to consider one’s options. Taking time out in this way is an indication of maturity as it shows that a person has used a painful experience positively to consider the type of position they might apply for, the industrial sectors they might be interested in, location options they would consider, whether to apply for a position in an indigenous company or in a multinational or indeed whether they might attempt to start their own business.

In addition, if you can show that you have used the time out to undergo some training or to commence a course that is likely to be of benefit to you then this is likely to create a favourable impression with prospective employers.

On a practical level having identified the employers that you would like to work for, I think it would make a positive impression on an employer if you could indicate that you did some research into how to get an interview with this company. This could be as simple as using personal contact to submit your CV and speak on your behalf, using your online network or by identifying a recruitment agency that is a sole or preferred supplier to that company – all are indicators of a well thought out strategy to access the desired employer.

In summary, I think if you can indicate that you took time out to come to terms with redundancy, consider ones options including training and further education and research targeted employers you will create a favourable impression on most prospective employers.

Colman Collins

Founder & Management Consultant

Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services