You are in an interview and the dreaded question comes. A question which you really don’t want asked because your response could be negative, for example “Why is there a big time gap on your CV?” or “Why is your previous Boss not one of your referees?” or “Why were you only in that job for 3 months?”
If you know there is something on your CV or application which is likely to trigger a question you don’t want to answer then you must prepare for it. Just because you don’t like the question doesn’t mean you can just brush it away. Any attempts to do so will just raise a red flag to the interviewer and make them dig deeper leaving you feeling very uncomfortable, or worse floundering for words.
You must have a well thought out answer prepared and practiced so it comes out naturally. Ask someone you trust to ask the question and work with them on an answer that you can put a positive spin on. Even if the only positive you can add is “I learnt the hard way and it’s not a mistake I will make again, this is how I would do things differently in the same situation.” Being completely comfortable with your answer tells the interviewer that you are probably being truthful. So watch your body language as well, any fidgeting, putting your hands to your face or dropping eye contact sends out signals that you may be being economical with the truth.
A good interviewer will make allowances for nervousness, but will be impressed if you manage to answer the tricky questions fully and honestly – after all we are all human and mistakes happen. Demonstrating that you can face up to a mistake and learn from it shows maturity. And it’s far better to get it in the open now rather than it coming to light once you are employed as you may find your job at risk.