How To Spin Your Negatives In
A Job Interview
Bad references, embarrassing photos, criminal records — lots of things that can cause you problems in a job interview. But they don’t have to.
By Matt Christensen
Whether you got fired, failed a drug test, were slammed by a reference, or forgot to take down that Facebook photo of you ripping a beer bong with the Tri-Lambs, there may be several things you’d rather not discuss in a job interview. While (most) hiring managers realize that nobody’s perfect, they wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they failed to address potential issues that could wind up making you a bad employee.
Since out-and-out lying during a job interview is a risky and generally bad idea, you instead need to know how to answer questions about your weaknesses such that you end up making them sound like positives — or at least like things that won’t prevent you from being the bestest darned employee ever. Interview expert Heather McNab, author of What Top Professionals Need to Know About Answering Job Interview Questions, gave us some advice for how to handle a few potentially damaging scenarios.
1. YOUR OLD BOSS GAVE YOU A SHITTY REFERENCE
If your only references are all but guaranteed to throw you under the bus, minimize the impact by priming the interviewer first. Talk about how you’ve grown as a person and employee, and mention the ways in which you’ve changed since you worked for the
jerk person who may trash you.
“Suggest that they’ll probably get a different picture of you when speaking to your former boss,” McNab advises. “Mention that it was an interesting, educational, and worthwhile time for you, and that you’ve learned to do better homework before accepting a position.” In other words, you’re not saying what went wrong at your old job wasn’t your fault … but you’re artfully implying it.
Next: An Embarrassing Online Photo