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Was employed when I applied for new job, now I have an interview and am not

I understand this is a weird work situation and I am concerned how to handle it in my interviews. I was working at my last employer as a fund development, marketing and PR manager, a large senior community center, for two years. I was told by my boss that they were reorganizing and that my position was being eliminated. I was given three months notice. I then began applying for many jobs. The three months have now passed and I am now "officially" unemployed. Many of the universities I have been applying to (I worked at a university before for over 10 years and would like to back to higher education) are now starting to call me for interviews. I do have a good letter of recommendation from my supervisor form the senior center, but it was suggested to me by a young career consultant that it would be best to immediately mention my job situation somewhere in the middle of my answer to the initial "tell me about yourself" question ( "A reorganization was announced last month and my position eliminated.") and quickly get back to positives and strengths, but to not bring out my letter.. So yesterday I had an interview, tried that tactic and it seemed to go well. But now re-thinking everything I am wondering if I should have left the letter with them. This was a five person panel
interview and so stressful. I have another interview next week that is on the other side of the country. It is an all day interview and I will be meeting with several key staff. I am really nervous. I only previously had a half hour phone interview with the guy eh would be my boss and I don't want to embarrass him. If the prospective university knew upfront my situation I may not have been invited to interview. Should I bring up the letter? Also any other advice would be sincerely appreciated.

Answers

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

1. Is the reorg a known entity in your sub-sector?
2. Are reorg normal, customary and usual in your sub-sector?
3. You say "officially" - what does that mean?
4. The University doesn't need to know that your job has "ended"; it could have been extended.
5. Don't provide documentation unless they ask, and don't bring it with you. If they ask, confirm that you "can" get them something (unless it is already dated and then say you have a physical letter in your files at home) and you'll send (a copy) next week.

Anonymous
(Fund Development, Marketing and PR Manager) |

Thank you for your reply.
1) no, no one outside of my local area, a small suburb of Detroit, has likely even heard of my former company.
2) reorganizations are quite common in development (fundraising) departments.
3) it was August 4th that I was told that my position would be eliminated in three months. The whole thing was done very unprofessionally and as not well thought out. During that three month period I was, of course, applying for jobs as if I was still employed, which is why I say "technically." I had hoped to find a job before the three month period ended so that the transition would be seamless and I would have no employment gap but that did not happen.
4) I am afraid that the university will find out that I am no longer employed there when they do a reference check and if I do not disclose it upfront I think that will look awful, like I am dishonest. I applied for the job in September, had the phone interview in mid-October, and now the on campus is next week. The university is in a western state. The interview will last several hours and will begn with a one-on-one lunch with the guy I had the ph ntervirw with (he would be my boss btw) then I will be meeting with eight development staff at various times. At some point somene is bound to pose a question about my "job" and I feel must come clean.
They are payng for my flight and hotel and I don't want to come off as deceptive.
5) why do you suggest that I do not offer up the recommendation letter right then and there?

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

So if my calculations are correct you became "unemployed" in December 2016. The interview is in December 2016.

If you feel you "must" come clean, mention that the transition period ends prior to the end of the year.... there is no need to say Dec 4th... I say "must" because I think you are over thinking the downside.

They might not want it or need it. Again, I think you are over thinking (which is why you may be so nervous).

I assume you know your job; the University has already "checked" you out (otherwise they wouldn't be paying for you to visit). You've already had interviews. I think this is more of a cultural fit type interview then a "can you do the job" interview.

Relax; be courteous; know the etiquette; and enjoy yourself. Don't talk politics (outside of how it may affect fund development if it comes up) and religion. You should be fine.

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

I must endorse Wayne's advice. It is important not to view yourself as "damaged goods" simply because you are unemployed at present.

How about something like:
"My employer announced a reorg which recently was implemented. As a result, I am now ready to start as soon as I find the right opportunity." Turn it into a positive "and I'm hopeful this is the right opportunity."

If anyone asks further-"the reorg happened this month."

Be proactive, be positive, be truthful.

Anonymous
(Fund Development, Marketing and PR Manager) |

Thank you so much, Len. That is great advice.

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