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Explaining Long-Term Unemployment In A Job Interview

CBS MoneyWatch blogger Amy Levin-Epstein shares tips on how the approximately 5.6 million Americans who have been out of work for longer than six months (and 3.9 million who’ve been looking for over a year) should approach long-term unemployment in interviews.

She first points out that hiring managers will assume that those unemployed for long stretches will have a personal flaw. According to Levin-Epstein, if job-seekers don’t hold themselves accountable for their absence from the workforce, recruiters will assume they either don’t understand their situation or have a tendency to blame others for setbacks.

Though the average length of unemployment in America is currently around 10 months, she advises job-seekers to avoid blaming the economy for their predicament. She says job-seekers should point to a combination of the economy and mistakes made in the job search process.

She also advises that job-seekers deal with their fears about their unemployment directly rather than masking it, and to avoid using humor to describe their unemployment. These “masks” can be perceived as negatives which recruiters will pick up on and find distasteful.