job interview tips

This is a true story about Bob who was let go from his last job because of poor performance.

He is now interviewing for a new job, but his past boss is giving a prospective employer a poor review of his job performance.

Just because Bob was let go from his past job, does not mean that he can never work again.

Let’s see if we can offer a few job interview tips to Bob that will help him turn around a bad situation and make it good.

Bob’s Question:

I am applying for a Fraud Investigator position with the State of Washington. I believe I did very well during the first panel interview. There were a total of 5 applicants, but I believe one was eliminated during the interview process because they way he was dressed.

Two days later, I sent follow-up letters to each member of the panel (4 total). Three days later the panel’s lead person, Ms. Davis, requested a signed release to call my references and to conduct a criminal background investigation.

I called Ms. Davis today to see if she needed any additional information, at which time she indicated all my references said to her I was a good guy and easy to work with, but my past supervisor informed Ms. Davis my production performance fell to the bottom 10% of the list and when the company I worked for had a reduction-in-force; I was let go.

Ms. Davis indicated she was the person that would make a recommendation based on the reference testimonies and that there was not going to be a second round of interviews. She also indicated the final decision will be determined in about three weeks by someone else after receiving the criminal background investigation results. So I am not sure if I am still in the race or not.

Do you think I should send another follow-up later next week, reminding her about how my experience can help solve her office caseload (being that I was in the bottom 10%)?

Don’s Answer:

For starters, I would not list your past supervisor as a reference anymore. Not only did he let you go, he’s hindering you from getting another job. What a great guy. If it were up to your past supervisor, it seems that he would rather never see you work for anyone else again. We can’t let that happen.

You were at the bottom –so what — that’s just some other guys opinion. If we keep listening to all the negative things people say about us, we’ll soon start believing them and subconsciously begin acting them out and that kind of thinking will get you nowhere.

Before you do anything, change your mindset and look at everything you have that is a positive and FORGET any negatives because there is nothing you can do with negatives except turn them around or diffuse them. You can’t use them to leverage your position so they are useless.

Let’s take a look at what you have:

1.Did well in the first and only round of interviews, meaning they definitely see something in you they like.

2.You also have a clean criminal background, a must for this position.

3.Your references were good.
So based on everything you have going for you, I don’t think sending another letter will do anything to increase your chances for getting this job, but make you look anxious and impatient.

Since they said they plan to have a decision in about 3 weeks, then I would call Ms. Davis in about 7-10 days and talk to her about the status of the position. It’s hard to say if you’re out of the running or not, but play the game like you are IN the running.

Basically, be on the offensive, instead of the defense and don’t let your past boss’s comments bother you. If Ms. Davis brings up your past supervisors comments, then it’s a concern for her, if not, then it’s not a concern — but don’t you bring it up. If it comes up, focus on diffusing them instead of defending them.

Best Job Interviewing Tips – There is a big difference between the two strategies. Defending makes you look guilty, but diffusing makes you look unbiased and non-blaming.

You could simply say that I pride myself on being able to get along with anyone and that you and your past supervisor did not get along on a personal level and it’s really nobodies fault, it just unfortunate that it worked out that way. (but put in your own words) STOP RIGHT THERE and say no more.

Don’t say anything to vindicate yourself. When you put it like this, you are not blaming anyone, you’re not pitying yourself, you’re simply stating the unbiased facts. You’re also not accepting blame, and you’re not showing any anger or bad feeling towards the company or your boss.

You have just read a transcript of real problem posed by Bob, whose past boss is giving a prospective employer a bad review of Bob’s on-the-job performance and making it difficult for Bob to get hired somewhere else.

The Complete Interview Answer Guide is filled with job interview tips that will show you how answer interview questions. The 201+ sample answers in the guide will quickly help you craft your own professional answers for ALL types of interview questions for any occupation.

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