How much should you reveal in a job interview?

Check out this advice on when to admit the whole truth.
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Dec 10, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

Looking to find a job at a new practice? The interview process can be daunting, but if there's something in your employment past you're embarrassed about, it can be doubly nerve-racking, as described by a recent article on Yahoo! hot jobs. Here are some specific sticky situations, along with just how much you should reveal about them.

Past firing for poor performance
Many employers understand that team members may have been fired because they just weren't a good fit, not because they were bad employees. If this is case for you, anticipate this issue by explaining up front exactly why the job didn't work out. Perhaps the practice culture just didn't mesh or your values differed from the veterinarian owner.
    While you're discussing your previous practice, avoid bashing it. State the facts without adding emotion to them. This way your prospective employer will see that you're professional and could be an excellent team member at the right clinic. Note: This advice also applies if you've willingly changed jobs frequently because of a bad fit.

Gaps in your résumé
If your employment lapse was due to something more serious, such as needing to spend several months in a rehabilitation for drug abuse or emotional issues, you do not have to directly address it. This is especially if your rehabilitation didn't cause you to lose your previous job and won't affect your performance in the job you are seeking now.
    For those who chose the leave the workforce to care for a love one, for example, you might feel uncomfortable about your skills. You could explain your choice then emphasize that you'll apply your care-giving skills to pets. Also be prepared to explain how you've kept your skills up to date.

Criminal activity
Many standard applications ask whether you've been convicted of a felony, but they don't delve into lesser crimes. If you have a felony on your record, be honest. You don't want potential employers to catch you in a lie when they do a background check. Keep in mind that misdemeanors can show up on background checks as well.

In general, keep sticky interview discussions positive. And be sure to explain that any lessons learned will end up helping you be a better team member.