In military jargon, the preemptive strike refers to seizing the initiative and taking action against an opposing force, before they take action against you, to maximize your tactical or strategic advantage.
Let’s consider this tactic with regard to the job interview. We all have issues that may be perceived by the interviewer as questionable or outright detrimental, and the older we are the more issues we may accumulate. So, what is the best way to handle these issues; take the burden off the interviewer; and get the job?
First, we need to understand the interviewer’s concerns. They want to hire a candidate that will provide good value for the salary offered. In addition, the candidate must fit in with the culture at the organization and be “low maintenance” with regard to management. One thing that is always on the mind of the interviewer is how to ask probing questions without getting into legal trouble. Knowing this, the candidate can conduct a preemptive strike and take much of the pressure off the interviewer.
Before the interview, sit down and go over your resume (and your life) in great detail and look for issues that may present a problem for the interviewer.
- Do you have several gaps in your employment history?
- Did you have several short periods of employment (job hopping)?
- Have you had significant health issues?
- Are you a single parent raising young children?
- Have you been incarcerated?
- Have you had difficulties getting along with co-workers or managers?
- Have you been out of the workforce for some reason?
None of these issues will necessarily keep you from getting hired, but the wise candidate will take the opportunity to openly discuss their issues during the interview before the interviewer develops concerns about them.
The preemptive strike may go something like this……“you may wonder why I have a five year gap in my employment history. I was caring for an elderly parent, and now that my assistance is no longer needed, I am returning to work, with a new-found sense of care and compassion for others”.
So…………..don’t be afraid to do a preemptive strike during the interview. It can put you in a good light and lead to a successful interview; followed by a job offer!