What Do I Tell Interviewers About the Illness That Stalled My Job Search?

I recently signed up with ExecuNet to seek assistance with my job search. I left my position in mid-November and two weeks later I was diagnosed with cancer and required an operation. I am fine now but needed a couple of months to recover before starting my job search. My illness slowed my job search; if the question comes up why I  have been out of work for few months, do you have any suggestions on how best to answer? Is it appropriate to mention my illness and  that I completely recovered from my surgery?

Ann-Z-newI am so glad to hear that you have successfully beaten your health challenges and are ready to dive back into a full time role. In situations such as this, I am a firm believer in the “less is more”theory. Regarding the time lapse in employment, I would simply say that  you left your former role because you felt that it was better to resign so that you could dedicate your full attention to finding a new role once you made the decision to leave.

And then almost immediately after resigning you faced some health issues that required the need for surgery which postponed your career search for a few months while you recovered. Now you can assure them that you have fully recovered and honestly have never felt better.

I would not share the specific nature of your illness. Frankly it is none of their business, and there would be no positive advantage to discussing the details with them.

Please remember that it is much more important to stress that you are a highly skilled candidate with a field of expertise that is in demand. This is ultimately much more important than if you are currently employed.

I wish you all the best in your career path, please keep us posted on how you are doing!

Ask Ann,

Have a question you’d like a recruiter to answer? Write to me at AskAnn@execunet.com

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

A recruiter since 1996, Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is the president of International Search Consultants, a global executive recruiting firm launched in 1999.

ISC has become one of the country’s most reputable search firms, earning more recommendations on Linked In than any other 3rd party recruiting agency in the entire country. With a team of 15 talented recruiters, utilizing the very best high- tech tools available, ISC can produce highly qualified candidates for companies with hi-volume recruiting needs.

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