Explaining Redundancy in an Interview

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Explaining Redundancy in an Interview

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Those moments when the “But why?” questions pop up are never pleasant. Prepare an answer for why you had a redundancy. Restructuring, organisational transformation, and downsizing are all change management terms that are used nowadays to describe the changes that organisations are making for commercial sustainability. And for employees, that can often equal “that position is not needed”. You must remember that a redundancy that is a consequence for you, is not a reflection on you or on what you can bring to an organisation. Being made redundant can be an agonizing time. If you get challenged about either of these situations during an interview, consider our tips and prepare yourself to speak confidently about where your strengths are!

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Be ready to answer why you left your last job

If you are currently unemployed or under-employed, prepare to be asked about it at job interviews. Write out a response and internalise it so it sounds natural. There is nothing to be ashamed of with a redundancy or leaving a job, but you need to be prepared and you don’t want to invite uncomfortable questions. Consider something like, “My last position was removed as part of a restructure that impacted a number of employees.” or “I am looking for X.” “Turn the conversation away from being made redundant, which you can’t control, to what you want.” Say it confidently and no one will inquire. Say it with fear and the interviewers will ask more questions that you don’t want to and shouldn’t have to answer. So write out your response and practice out loud until it sounds natural. The more confidence the better.

Take the Opportunity to Explain 

Explaining redundancy might feel uncomfortable, but if you take the opportunity to clarify the situation fully, this will give you a chance to frame the loss of your position in a better light. Instead of simply saying “I was made redundant” in your answer, prepare an explanation about what was happening in the company at that time. The scenario surrounding the redundancy is critical; for example, there may have been multiple redundancies, budget cuts, or the redundancies could have been an unavoidable result of the pandemic. The truth is that redundancy can happen to anyone – it is not a bearing on your skills or abilities. Explain honestly and openly, and this will help you build trust and rapport with the interviewer.

Take a broader approach in your job hunt

When job hunting, you may try to match your skills with new job roles. However, don’t limit yourself to just looking for jobs exactly matching your skillset. If you focus too much on skills, you may miss out on other options. Also consider your constraints. Is re-training an option? Can you take a drop in salary? Once you have narrowed down your options, make a list of the types of jobs to apply for. Start by having a clear idea of what you want. Draw a mental line between your experiences and the job you want so potential employers understand how to use your experience in a new environment.

Take this time to find your purpose

When you’re unemployed or between jobs, it can be easy to rush into the first job you’re offered. You are often feeling isolated and perhaps even rejected from the redundancy experience. No one wants to be ‘not wanted’. Give yourself space to find your ideal job and consider carefully each role you are considering. Take your time. Think about what you enjoy doing and what excites you in the workplace. What are you really good at? What did your previous manager acknowledge you for?? Each of us has unique skills that make up our own personal brand. Ask yourself ‘what is my personal brand’. These questions may uncover some answers for you and give you the confidence to prepare well for your future career.”

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Staying Positive

There is no shame in being made redundant – always keep in mind that it was the position and not you that was made redundant. Often, from redundancy can spring new and exciting opportunities that may not have presented themselves to you beforehand. View your redundancy as a chance to kick-start your career again – if you have been made redundant from your Admin related work or in line with Aged Care Facilities role and are wondering how to navigate the job market, we can help.


Written By
Ashley Reyes

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