Handling Job Interview after Long Unemployment Period

Many American who became jobless in the early days of recession remain unemployed and the practical and emotional toll is immense. The recent jobs report had mixed news. Overall unemployment levels have resolved at a relatively lower 8.5% percent but almost 5.6 million Americans have been out of work for more than 6 months and nearly 3.9 million for more than a year. Presently, employers are spoiled for choices. Many people are applying for the same job and unless you have a great work history, you have less chance of getting selected.

When someone who has been laid off for more than six months applies for a job, it’s hard to get back in. Employers look at the long term unemployed with a suspicious eye and have questions about that resume gap. Even if you have a great CV, the employer will think….if no one else is hiring this person, why should I? Moreover, they might also think that you are not motivated to find work and are not trying hard.

Long term unemployment leads to lack of confidence and once you begin to feel unworthy of a job, you stop bothering about your look and punctuality becomes less important. The more rejections you get the less confident you feel and the drive to live life can be exhausting…it’s a vicious circle.

Be positive while explaining long-term unemployment

The fact is that recruiters will presume that you have a fault or some other negative reason for your lack of work. Hiring managers will anticipate you to hold yourself accountable and at least be able to clearly give one or two genuine reasons for long- term unemployment. If you can’t confess to what has happened to some degree, then the supposition will be you are faulty in your ability to see the situation for what it is. In addition, you will be seen as someone who accuses others for setbacks.

Though the average length of unemployment in America is 10 months, you cannot mention down economy the only reason for your problem. This doesn’t make you look unlucky but you appear someone who feels offended and helpless.  So, a valid reason for being jobless for this long is a combination of the current economy and the mistakes made during the job hunt process. This will exhibit professionalism and the ability to learn from mistakes.

It’s very important to assure the interviewer that you’re not out of touch with your industry. For this, you should be capable of explaining the top trends, changes and challenges that are being practiced by your industry. This will explain your dedication to your field and your wish to stay in it. Emphasizing volunteer or the freelance work is the best way to clear that you have been making efforts to keep your skills up-to-date. Lastly, this shows that you understand the value of utilizing your time and energy as a way to continue growing yourself.

Many individuals have lost their job without any fault of their own, yet they are facing a crisis of confidence in their abilities. If you don’t deal with that fear, it will translate in your body language and facial expressions. Hiring managers will see through you, if you think you’re doing a fabulous job masking it. So, it is always good to work with an experienced career coach who can help you work through your feelings.

With unique personality humor can be used when discussing long-term unemployment. Too much joking and excuses will make it seem as if you don’t appreciate what has happened to you. Responsibility must be your mantra, when it comes to long-term unemployment.

Leave your past behind and keep your future growing

Keep yourself away from the people in the same boat. You need to surround yourself with people who are working in your industry. This can be done by joining groups on LinkedIn in your area of expertise, attending industry events and setting up interviews with people working in same domains that you aspire to. There are many opportunities to be to be found; but you must be looking in the right places.

    1. Jose,

      We’re not a scam or a fraud website:) has been around for more than 10 years and we’re one of the leading forums for unemployment insurance and unemployment in general. Our daily visitor and patron base is of considerable size and we truly believe in being a center for jobless workers to access resources and share their queries.

  1. I’m attemptiing to file my first weekly claim since my layoff, however, my PIN# is not correct. what do I do to get my correct PIN# , please?

  2. I have exhausted my unemployment benefits in Texas but my calendar year does not end until September. Do I have to wait until the calendar year is over in Texas, to apply for unemployment benefits in New York in which I have available quarters?

    1. Mattie,

      As much as I am aware, UI benefits are only a one-time cycle. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  3. Help ran out of unemployment benefits for the pass 8 years i have worked at Hexion speciality chemical plant in Brady Texas how can i get my benefits extended

    1. Roderick,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

    1. Annette,

      You can visit the official website of the Unemployment Office and ‘login’ to check the claim status. Alternatively, you can also call the Claims Center.

      PS: It should not take 6 weeks to process the initial claim. Please chase at regular intervals.

    1. Jocelyn,

      Unemployment is offered to claimants who’re able and available for work. Please call the Unemployment Office to ascertain if you can apply.

  4. I have been working for the same company for the past 11 years. I started out cleaning apartments, then landscaping and finally Asst. Manager for the past seven years. However, the owner/ manager had us all sign papers claiming we were “Independent Contractors.” I worked Monday thru Friday from 8am – 5pm the entire 11 years. Obviously, in reality, we had Never been “Independent Contractors.”
    Finally, October 2018 we became employee’s. On May 10, 2019 he sold the business which puts us all out of work. I tried filing for unemployment, but, I don’t have enough quarters in. Assuming I’m still out of work, can I wait for the next quarter to end, thus giving me the 2 quarters I need or will it not make a difference.

    1. Lea,

      Why don’t you look at alternate based period? Please use the link below to access the Base Period calculator.

  5. I have been working as an hourly employee for the last 4 months. Currently the board of the nonprofit agency came to me and told me that I had to file a 1099 or go to part time or find a new job. I have a scheduled time that I report to work. What are the laws here in Florida about who can receive a 1099

  6. I am unemployed and currently going to a community college. How can I apply for federal assistance?

    1. Carol,

      If you’re able and available for full-time employment, you can directly go to the website of the Unemployment Office and apply.

  7. I have worked in AZ since March 2016. However, I moved lived and worked for my employer in CA since 08/02/1982. Can I apply for Cali unemployment benefits?

    1. Robert,

      You should be applying from the state where your employment was based. Employers generally remit unemployment taxes to the state where the employee is based.

      1. How long does it take Washington state unemployment to deposit your back pay after they receive the determination letter from OAH stating I won my appeal?

  8. I have been trying for over a month to file and I still do not seem to be able to do it, but I finally got to the correct place, I think.

  9. Cumberland NJ Unemployment Center kept me on hold for 2 hours; I finally had someone answer my call, after providing my information and question regarding the status of my NJ Unemployment Claim the representative disconnected my call.

  10. Excellent list of things to help execute better. Even taking 3 or 4 of these that one does not currently utilize could help immensely.

    1. How did you calculate the total weekly Illinois benefit of $1495? Also, why isn’t Washington and Minnesota listed in your top 5 states with the highest paid unemployment insurance compensation?

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