Career Advice

Graceful Ways to Talk About a Bad Former Employer

Hired People June 13, 2018

Prospective employers sometimes have a way of stumping their candidates. Some of them take their candidates by surprise by asking them what they didn't like about their last employer. That's a tough question because there might be a lot that you didn't like about your former employer. You may want to blast the employer in your answer, but you should never to that. The potential employer may be testing you to see if you are a slanderer, gossiper, or a person who holds a grudge or doesn't know how to extract the positive elements from an experience. Here's how you can handle that topic gracefully.

Hesitate Yes, you read it right. Hesitate. Don't let the game show music play in your head for too long. Just hesitate long enough to let the prospective employer know that you have to really think hard even to begin to come up with anything bad about your former employer.

Turn the Negative Into Positive Next, you want to change the negative comment that you have in your brain into something positive by the time it comes out of your mouth. Let's say, for example, that your former employer had an extremely high turnover rate because of poor management. You could say that you wish you could have developed some lengthier and more meaningful business relationships with your colleagues, but you still appreciated the diversity. Don't mention the poor management.

Express your Appreciation Make sure that you close the commentary about your former employer with some appreciation for the learning experience and anything that made you grow a little while you were there.

If you use those tips to answer that question, you may be able to win your prospective employer's heart and the job. The way that you handle that question can say a lot about your maturity level. It will let your would-be employer now that you are a positive individual who knows how to find light in the darkest of situations.