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LawTalk, Lawyer
Category: Job
Satisfied Customers: 37854
Experience:  I have practiced law for more than a quarter of a century.
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Ive got a very specific question about how to answer the question

Customer Question

I've got a very specific question about how to answer the question of my reason for leaving my previous job in job interviews. I know I'm supposed to keep it short and concise but the fact of it is that it's not an easy answer. I'm going to provide more specific details than I typically would divulge for the sake of helping you to help me as much as possible.

I work in restaurants as a sous chef. At my previous job I had a personal emergency wherein I had to leave work. After informing my staff that I was leaving (but would be coming back) and going over what responsibilities still need to be completed by the end of the night I left without informing my supervisor upstairs.

That is the one area where I have to take complete responsibility. It was a simple honest mistake (I obviously wasn't trying to be deceitful considering I told my staff and clocked out before I left.) Whenever I realized I should've said something when I left I called him and left a message. Only to discover 2 hours later when I got a call back that I had called the wrong number. But at this point I was already on my way back and figured I would explain then. When I got back my supervisor had already left and I went about the rest of my responsibilities as planned closed down the kitchen and left.

The next day was my day off and I received a phone call from my direct supervisor informing me that my executive chef was wondering why I clocked out for 2 hours the previous day. I explained everything to him to which he explained to my chef and I never heard another word about it. I asked my supervisor what was chef's reaction whenever he explained it and I was told that he didn't really react one way or another and left it at that.

I never heard another word, went about my business as usual and was treated just like I normally would be. Including being put on the schedule for the following week. It wasn't until I came in to work three weeks after the incident and was sent to HR that I found out there was an issue. Needless to say I was very surprised and never actually received any sort of real explanation from my chef about it.

I'm sorry, I know this is a lot of detail but I thought it was important to hear the whole story in order to work it down into a short concise response during an interview concerning the subject. I have no other discrepancies on my record and my performance at all of my jobs have been exemplary my career has had a consistent upward track record. Thank you for your assistance. Again, sorry for all the detail.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Job
Expert:  Michael replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for explaining the situation you were in from your last job. Your position being a sous chef with any food establishment is very important in order to assist the head chef in creating a well run kitchen as well as making sure all guests are receiving what they requested.

Reviewing your situation and how you performed as a professional in your position when this unexpected circumstance happen, understand that you did exactly what was required of you. Agree that you might have informed the head chef and/or management besides the staff of your emergency after reviewing the situation. Going back to work and performing your duties was what was expected and you did that just fine.

As to how to explain in an interview, begin with your record and performance with your career history in short detail. Don't speak badly about your previous employer as the interviewer may wonder if something unprofessional happen. The overall advise is to not bring up what happen as quite often the interviewer will not bring it up.

If though you are asked, practice ahead of time though going over the situation and offer that taking responsibility for problems is something you do as a professional. Again, take some responsibility for the reason you left but offer a positive spin such as:

1. Explain in your work history of your professional experience with working with those in supervisory positions.

2. Explaining that you are leaving for new challenges as well as excited about this particular opportunity to the interviewer.

3. While you thought well of your former employer, the job did not meet your expectations. Use this to your advantage by saying you have researched the company you've applied for and you are eager to work as part of their team being able to learn and develop new skills.

4. Looking for new challenges and job growth are both excellent reasons for anyone to seek a new job or career and you can use this to your advantage.

As for references from your prior employer, since it may not be something that your supervisor may offer to give you, see if former co-workers will offer to be a reference to demonstrate how much of a professional you are as a sous chef. Also look at previous employers and co-workers as well.

Best of luck and think positive and with your experience, you should land that next great job very soon.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Although his answer was long. It was kind of difficult to read due to the many typo/grammar issues. Not to insult the expert, it just made it difficult for me. I didn't feel like he was really understanding what I was asking and didn't really want to pursue this particular expert any further.
Expert:  LawTalk replied 4 years ago.

Good evening,

I am another professional. I am a business attorney as well as a business owner for some 3 decades. I have reviewed your previous expert's answer. With the possible exception of his spelling of the word “advice”---the spelling was spot on, and the grammar quite acceptable.

The answer was, in my professional opinion, well thought out and responsive to your questions, and your dilemma. If you were not able to understand the answer, I'm sure that the Professional will be happy to clarify it for you. We really are here to try and help, and I think that you have been give excellent suggestions on how to handle your dilemma.

I'm sure that if you have a follow-up question, they will be more than happy to assist you further. I will notify the Professional for you in case they did not see that you re-listed the question.

Have a great evening,