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Grieving man gives a 'very blunt answer' about the gap in his resume during job interview. AITA?

Grieving man gives a 'very blunt answer' about the gap in his resume during job interview. AITA?

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"AITA for giving a very blunt and honest answer on why I had a gap on my resume?"

Last Friday I (34M) went on 3rd round of interviews, which was generally the last one before I'd be hired. It was a company I worked for before but new management, overall I had a good experience with that company before, so I thought why not? It was with the people that would be my direct line manager, their direct manager and the recruiter that approached me.

During the interview I was asked why I had a gap for 9 months in 2020 and was asked if it was due to 2020. I just replied no. The recruiter asked me to elaborate, and I was getting a visibly upset and answered that I needed time to grieve after the loss of family. The person that would be my manager's manager just blatantly said "a loss of a loved one doesn't justify a 9 month gap in your resume."

I was trying extremely hard not to blow up, and burst into tears. The reason I needed that much time was that 2 weeks before lockdowns came into effect, both my parents and my 2 siblings died in a car crash. A drunken truck driver ran a red light and hit my dad's car while they were heading home. I would've gone with them as well, were it not that my boyfriend lived 5 minutes away and I was going to sleep at his, otherwise I would've also have been in that car.

I see it as a blessing and/or curse that I was not in that car. I was very candid with the manager in question and said very frank and bluntly, "that perhaps losing one loved one doesn't warrant that long of a gap, but losing both my parents and my siblings at the same time in a car crash does." The room went dead quiet and it turned very, very awkward as no one knew what to answer to it.

I said that I was sorry but that I need to leave. After the interview, the recruiter contacted me and said that my response was really uncalled for, my grandparents also said that it was not tactfully at all to have I said like that, whilst my fiance said it was good to have put them in their place, as a resume gap is none of their business. I'm questioning myself hard now, AITA for how I responded?

EDIT:

Thank you all for the kind words, I've had an immense migraine attack and have been in bed all day, but I want to say thank you for all the support you guys have given me. I just want to take the time to clarify some things too.

I was approached by a recruiter, as I did not apply for that job on my own. I have a job at the moment so I didn't need the other position, although it was a 30% pay increase, but I have said to the recruiter that I am withdrawing myself from the application after he said my reaction was uncalled for during the interview.

The gap in my resume had only been brought up during that interview and not beforehand unfortunately. It was also the first time one had asked me about it and it had taken me off guard, it's why I didn't have an answer to hand other than loss of loved ones and that it made me visibly uncomfortable. 9 months was in all honesty, not enough, and I had wished I took more time to mourn my family. But unfortunately my bills didn't pay themselves.

I've also became the legal guardian for my niece, as my youngest sister got her when she was 16, she past when she was 23, and the father had written off all parental rights. I am still in therapy for all this, and my fiance has been my entire rock, especially when lockdowns came into effect and I couldn't rely on my friends nor my other family members. I had said that it was because I was grieving the loss of family, I only answered more bluntly when the 2nd manager gave me that answer that made my blood boil.

To say that it is still an extremely sore, and emotional subject is an understatement. Again I want to thank everyone for the kind words, and those that reached out to offer their condolences to me. It means a lot.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

JustNKayce said:

Wow. Good for you for calling them out. Who TF are they to decide how long you need to grieve...especially since they didn't know the circumstances. And eft that recruiter for calling YOU out! The interviewer should have offered a full apology. You dodged a bullet. You don't want to work for someone who jumps to conclusions. NTA. PS I am so sorry for your loss.

-KristalG- said:

NTA. What a piece of sh$t interviewer. They don't get to tell you what is an acceptable amount to grieve someone's death. And they even had audacity to pass message that your response was uncalled for. Tell recruiter the counter feedback on how it was incredibly rude to do that to you. Also, give negative feedback about the company with your experience.

SeeKaleidoscope said:

NTA. But next time I would politely say “excuse me”? Then see if they double down. If they do say “I’m a little concerned that you would make that judgement without knowing anything about the situation."

Used_Mark_7911 said:

NTA. The person who would have been your manager’s manager was way out of line with that comment. At that point I would have decided not to work in that organization anyway. So whatever you said after that to shut them down was totally fine.

For future interviews, you should anticipate the question about the gap in employment being asked. It’s very common for interviewers to ask about any gaps as well as why you left prior jobs. So spend some time thinking about how you’d like to answer those questions. Having a prepared response will help you get through it.

If you are working with an agency, it may help if you disclose the context to them in advance because they may even get asked and can get ahead of it for you. (Some people may recommend against this, but I wouldn’t want to work somewhere that wouldn’t have empathy for your circumstances anyway).

Routine-Focus-9429 said:

NTA, you responded appropriately the first time. You could even be vaguer and say you had to deal with a family matter. That is an acceptable answer. They were rude and nosy, pushing for more info, and clearly did not handle being embarrassed well. You dodged a bullet if that was the direct manager, because they lack empathy and are not very professional. I am sorry for your loss and you will find somewhere that is a better fit. All the best OP!

Idonotgiveacrap said:

NTA. That person insisted and asked you to elaborate. You did. The recruiter didn't like it because it made him realize how big of a jerk he was.

Everyone was unanimously on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for this situation?

Sources: Reddit
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