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What Not to Say on an Interview for Unemployment

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The government offers a safety net for individuals who find themselves unexpectedly out of a job. Unemployment benefits provide the opportunity for these down-on-their-luck workers to collect a paycheck while looking for their next jobs. While requirements for unemployment vary from state to state, in most states, one of the first steps a claimant must complete to qualify for this coverage is the successful navigation of an unemployment interview.

Little White Lies

Above all else, everything you say at your unemployment interview should be truthful. Don’t allow your eagerness to qualify for this coverage to lead you to let fibs slip out during your interview. In all likelihood, the unemployment office worker will speak not just with you but also with your past employer. This means that any lies will ultimately be uncovered, potentially hurting your chances of qualifying for this unemployment coverage.

Overly Personal Information

The only information the individual holding your unemployment interview needs to know is information that is directly related to your job hunt or job loss. Even if these are things that lead you to perform in a less-than-stellar fashion at your past job, such as a divorce through which you are navigating or a family illness, you should not share these things with your interviewer.

Too Much Information

The unemployment interview should be a simple question-and-answer process. Resist the urge to give this interviewer any information that he does not directly ask for. In general, the less information you can give him the better, as the more information you present, the better your chances of accidentally saying something that will disqualify you from unemployment coverage. Particularly if you tend to ramble when you get nervous, bite your tongue and relax as you move through this interview process.

No Desire to Work

To qualify for unemployment coverage, you must be actively seeking a job. Even if the world of work seems tiring, you should never state that you have no desire to work. If you tell the individual interviewing you that you don’t intend to seek a job, you give him the right – and in some cases the responsibility – of denying your claim for unemployment.


Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.

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