Ask The Career Coach-September Edition
How do I deal with the shame of being fired from my job because of performance?
Most people go into a job with the intention of doing well. Unfortunately, sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just cannot find a way to make yourself successful. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means that this particular job, with this particular employer, was not a good fit for your skills and interests. Own this. It is the first step to dealing with the shame of your situation.
Secondly, know that you are in a very large club. Here is a shortlist of people fired from their jobs:
If you ask your friends and neighbors, you will find a lot of people have been fired from at least one job during their career. Being fired does not make you a bad person. It just means that particular job was not right for you. Now go and find the right one.
You are late for your job interview: What excuse do you give?
You will be in a tough spot since you should never be late for an interview. Everyone should plan for the time needed to get to the interview; add extra time as a contingency should something go wrong.
Yet, I do know that sometimes the best plans go awry. Perhaps you had an unexpected flat tire or a road was closed. So how do you handle this situation?
Call to tell the interviewer that you are running late. Most people have a mobile phone, so if you have one on you, you should be able to let the interviewer know ahead of time that you will not be on time and the approximate time you will be there. You can add the circumstances that will make you late if this is helpful for context (the bridge was out, my car would not start, etc.). If you are just running late, then skip the explanation. Less said the better.
Calm yourself down. You may be rattled. Take a minute or two to slow down your breathing. When you get to your destination, you may even want to make a quick stop in the bathroom to splash some water on your face, check your dress, and practice smiling. Smiling will also help calm you down.
When you are introduced to the interviewer, apologize. Your tardiness may have caused issues with his/her schedule or with other people that need to meet with you, so be sincere in letting the team know that you are sorry for any inconvenience.
There is no need to bring it up again in the interview. Obviously, this situation is not to your advantage, so there is no need to remind the interviewer of it.
Being late to an interview is not good, but it does not mean you are out of the running for the job. A family member of mine got into a car accident on the way to the interview in a car that the company rented for him. Obviously, it was not a great first introduction. Yet, he did get the job. If this happens to you, still give the interview your best effort. You never know what the result might be.
How do I avoid being rejected for a job due to being overqualified?
You can do some things to lessen the chances of rejection, but there is almost nothing you can do to absolutely avoid rejection. The hiring team may be skeptical that you want to do a job that matches skills you mastered several jobs ago. They may believe that if you are doing tasks that you mastered long ago, the chances that you will soon get bored are pretty high. I know someone that is in a job that requires him to do tasks that he did early in his career. He said that he finds the work tedious and feels he can offer so much more. This is what hiring teams fear will happen.
Salary can also be an issue. If a job requires three years of experience and you have 10 years, why should the company pay you a salary commensurate with your years of experience? It is not what the job requires. In this case, you would be asked to take a pay cut. Yet, another company may need the skills you have gained over your 10-year career and would be willing to pay you a higher amount. Why then would you want to stay at the job requiring the three years of experience and therefore less pay? That is also what the hiring manager may fear.
So what do you do if you really want this job? There may be very legitimate reasons why this job would be the best fit. The commute could be better or family requirements make it a better fit. Maybe you want to have a job that is less stressful due to health reasons or personal preference. Maybe you do not want to manage others anymore and prefer to be an individual contributor. If you have thought through the reasons for wanting to take a step back, then you need to articulate this well. This is where a cover letter may be helpful. Being able to explain yourself and answer the questions your resume poses is how you get past this hurdle. In addition to a cover letter, try to speak to someone on the hiring team to explain why you are interested in this job. If you can convince someone on the hiring team that you are sincere and are actively pursuing this type of work, and this is not just a fallback plan, you might get an interview.