Job hunting tip #8

I am helping a friend prepare for a job interview at the moment. During our roleplay, I asked him the following question:

“Why did you leave your last job?”

He proceeded to tell me what he did in his last job and what he is doing now (more on the latter below*), but he did not answer the question. He wasn’t even aware he had avoided the question. By avoiding the question, he made me (as the fictional interviewer) suspicious. What was he hiding?

In reality, I knew why he had avoided it. The fact is, he didn’t leave his last job. They let him go.

So I advised him to tell the truth, which was as follows:

  • He had been hired two years previously to lead a particular project, which he had recently concluded with great success.
  • The owners were planning to sell the company and wanted to make their books look better by reducing their salary costs.
  • He was the most expensive consultant they had, so (his project having ended) they made their books look better by getting rid of him.

I recommended that he tell that version.

What does telling that version say about him?

  • He is honest
  • He is self confident
  • He is courageous

I would say these are good impressions to give the interviewer. Good people are let go all the time in the business world. Interviewers get that.

*Getting back to what he is doing now, he told me that he is working as an independent consultant on a short term project, blah, blah.

“So are you registered as self employed at the moment?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied.

“So you will be able to provide me with with copies of the relevant registration documents along with your references then,” I said.

“Erm,” he said.


The fact is that he is working as a consultant for a friend who is trying to establish a new business. There is nothing wrong with that. It shows that between jobs, he is not willing to sit on his backside. However, he is not registered as self-employed and I deliberately led him into a trap.

So here’s the thing:

Tell the truth!

Chances are there is no need to lie, and if you do, you will only give the interviewer the chance to lay traps for you.

By the way, he did tell the truth in the actual interview and he got the job.

Kind regards,

Declan Chellar

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