6 Tips for Explaining Your Background to Potential Employers
Submitted by Caryl Anne from Applya
Looking for a job can be frustrating and intimidating. The level of stress associated with job hunting can rise if there are issues that may pose a problem during a background check. Below are six tips to consider that can help you explain your background to potential employers.
1. Be Familiar with the Facts
One of the first things you’ll need to do is make sure you’re familiar with the facts. For instance, there’s a possibility that one of your past employers will not provide a favorable reference. In fact, there are many times with a former employee is unaware that a company for which they worked is providing negative information about their employment tenure. It’s helpful to know in advance if you will receive a positive reference from a former employer. The best way to find out is to ask.
The same applies to knowing what type of information is revealed during a criminal background check. It’s worth your while to obtain a copy of your criminal record from the state in which you reside so that you what type of information will be reported.
2. Focus on Your Positive Attributes
Whether or not you have disparaging information in your background, it’s prudent to focus on your positive attributes during an interview. This is a strategy that should always be applied. It doesn't mean you don’t respond to the questions being asked, it just means you focus more on the positive by redirecting the interviewer to related experience and how you have made a difference.
3. Anticipate Uncomfortable Questions
The way in which you respond to a question will often depend on whether or not you were caught off guard. You should anticipate uncomfortable questions and prepare for them in advance. This can be accomplished by having a mock interview with a friend or family member. You can have them ask you questions about your background. It’s important that you treat this time as though it was an actual interview. If you prepare for uncomfortable questions, you’re more likely to provide acceptable responses.
4. Tell the Truth
The very best thing you can do during an interview is tell the truth. Lying to get the job is a bad strategy. By telling the truth, you demonstrate integrity, which is a characteristic that’s sought after by most employers. Even if you fail to be truthful during the interview and get the job, your employment can be terminated later for dishonesty.
5. Share Achievements
To compensate for any negative information found during a background check, you should develop a list of achievements that you can share with prospective employers. This isn’t something that’s read off in a list format. Instead, you simply have a list prepared so that you can integrate the information into your conversation during the interview. It’s a way to demonstrate the value you can bring to the company.
6. Study the Position
There are many times during an interview when the focus is just on the candidate instead of how the candidate can excel in the position. To overcome this issue, you should study the position so that you can speak clearly about how you can meet the demands of the role. To some degree, this will take the focus off of you and put it on the needs of the company. After all, the goal of a prospective employer is to hire someone that will add value to the company. By studying the position you will understand what’s needed and communicate how you can fill those needs.
Explaining your background to potential employers doesn’t have to be complicated, even if you have had problems in the past. It’s just a matter of being prepared and making a commitment to do the best you can.
Caryl Anne is a contributing writer and media specialist for Applya. She regularly produces content for a variety of career blogs.