Interview Q&A

How to Explain the Employment Gap with Acceptable Reasons?

Last Updated on Apr 13, 2023

Do you have employment gaps? And you’re concerned about explaining them in your interview. Don’t worry! We all have gone through the employment gaps at least once in our careers. It is outstanding. You’re not the only one.

It creates a dilemma when hiring managers ask about the employment gaps during your interview. You may feel nervous if you do not have an acceptable reason or feel uncomfortable about explaining the issue rightly.

So, what shall you do? In this article, I will put all my efforts into helping you!

Just stay connected till the end!

What is Employment Gap? With Possible Reasons

The span in your career for which you’re not working is considered an employment gap. There can be multiple reasons, including voluntarily or involuntarily. Generally, if you take a break from work for over six months, it shall be considered a professional gap.

If you’re not actively working for less than six months, nobody will regard it as an employment gap, and you can say that you were waiting for the right opportunity.

And, what possible reasons for taking a gap from work?

  • Lousy health conditions: You or your close family member faced a severe medical issue that forced you to leave your job for a particular span.

Even interviewers are human beings, and they will understand!

  • A course/training/higher education: Another acceptable reason! You wanted to learn new skills to get better and upscaled opportunities in your career.
  • Seeking the relevant opportunity: You or I want to move ahead, and sometimes, compromising is not a thing to go with. You can mention that you were waiting for an eligible job.
  • Childcare: Looking after toddlers is not a sinecure job! It takes some real effort to handle and look after them.
  • You were fired! It is an earth-shattering situation and doesn’t seem like a very flawless thing to say. Also, it may give you a vast level of discomfort, but this can be the reason. Life doesn’t end here.

As I have mentioned several times, It is ultra-fine even if you have a gap. But, you must care about giving an impressive and convincing explanation. Choose your words smartly and convince the employer.

A quick note: In addition to the same, you must work on your CV too. It needs reconstruction.

A Quick-tip Overview

Now, even if you have a logical reason for your employment gap, you must know the right way to explain the same with uttermost confidence in front of your hiring managers. It is not only about the explanation or communication; there is much more to it.

Let’s get to know some of the examples,

  • Prepare hard! If you want to nail the response with brilliance, prepare beforehand. It will help you the most! You’ll know what to say, how to say it without getting confused. Keep your viewpoint positive.
  • Don’t get into the personal details much. It is not a great idea to involve the hiring managers too much in your personal life. Even if your reason is personal, explain it generally without being specific and move ahead. The plan is not to gain sympathy but only to provide them with an explanation.
  • Work on your communication skills. How will you manage to convince them without having proper communication? Tell them, and with the right approach. It is not a matter of concern if your verbal skills and body postures are not perfect. You can start working on them anytime.
Stay true to yourself and your interviewers. Lying is fallacious.
You may find it easy to describe something randomly, but what if they ask
another related question?

How to Explain Employment Gaps in an Interview? Answers


OK, we have reached this far, so now is the right time to put up with a few examples. I have prepared different sample answers for your ease so that you can relate and customize them accordingly.

Reason: Certification course for the better opportunity

I have been a software development engineer for the last five years. Everything was going well, and I was a happy professional. But then I decided to upskill myself. I enrolled in an online certification course and tried hard to learn something new and better to develop my career path, which worked affluently. I am glad my decision worked out, and I got to know some excellent skills as a software developer. After seven months of hard work, I am now a certified ethical hacker and ready to dedicate myself much more than before. I can serve any organization in improved ways with more self-reliance. 

In the example, the candidate worked successfully as a software development engineer and wanted a career up-gradation, so he took a break for a certification course. The explanation doesn’t seem nervous or regretful about his break, but he is very optimistic.

Reason: Medical condition of a close family member

Everything was going well, and suddenly my father got ill. He was diagnosed with a rare cardiovascular disease that was extremely severe. My family went through a difficult time following the unhealthy condition of my father. Moreover, I had to relocate to a big city for better treatment and care. He is my father, and I didn’t want to compromise his health. I wanted to be on his side 24*7. So, I had to leave my job. We lived there for around eight-nine months and came back when he recovered. Now, I am recharged with double energy and enthusiasm. I want to work in an improvised form to develop even better provisions for the company.

The candidate gave a very logical and emotional reason. He couldn’t leave his parent’s side and explained the same well. He has also mentioned his positivity and dedication to return to work which can increase his chances of selection.

To Travel and explore

I always wanted a solo trip to happen to me so that I could travel and explore the world extensively. For me, traveling is the one rare experience that I couldn’t have till last year. I needed a good break. It affected my mental health as I could not concentrate on my work. When things got severely flawed, and before I messed up everything, I planned a solo trip and resigned. For around a year, I traveled to different destinations around the world. It was more indescribable. I am much more energetic and can provide better than my last opportunities. I regained my energy and passion for my work, so now I am back.

Traveling is a fair and very personal reason to leave a job for about a year. He said he needed a break, and travel experience recharged him to work a cut above. Every employer needs that! They want you to be all-time glowing and blooming with freshness.

Reason: Childcare

Being a mother is one of the roles and responsibilities I enjoy and love the most. It is one of my most substantial priorities in life. My kid is a newborn, and I realized his need for me. It was more vital than anything else for me, and I resigned. Getting maternity leave for that long was unimaginable, but I had already decided. Raising a kid and watching him grow is beautiful, and that was something I had been waiting for so long. I took a break from my career to enjoy motherhood and am so proud of it. Now, my child is a little conscious of himself as he is growing at a good pace. Thankfully, I decided to rejoin.

The given reason is powerful and portrays the importance of human emotions, especially of a mother. Hiring managers look for someone with a strong personality, not emotionless robots, and they will hopefully understand it with open hearts and minds.

The Don’ts

Don’t ruin your show by giving the wrong answers. There is nothing like right and wrong with your reasons. But, the way you deliver it, or if you’re giving a lame excuse, it will not work.

  • When you’re sitting in front of the interviewers, it is obligatory to be precise with your words. Don’t ramble. Be focused.
  • Don’t lie. Don’t worry about their thoughts and whether they are going to like your response or not. This is not something under your control. Speak the right thing, but in the right way.
  • Don’t sing a lullaby for your interviewers. Talk straight to the point and be concise. I don’t think they will be much comfortable with the long story.

The Substantial Takeaways

  • Don’t panic about your employment gaps. Stop making it your obstruction in the interview process.
  • Prepare well. Add a lot of research to your daily learning process.
  • Be confident with your reason.
  • Refer to my sample answers for a better understanding of the content curation for your answer.