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Job interviews

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2010

I have been off work for 1 year due to complications from my Breast ca surgery.I have started a job search, I would like to get back in the hospital, I'm an RN. My question is what do I say when the interviewer asks me why I was off so long? Should I tell them I had Cancer or will that hinder my chances for getting the job.I know that legally that aren't supposed to hold that against you but I can't help but think that they might worry about you becoming ill again. has anyone else dealt with this issue. Thanks for your help.

Posts: 242
Joined: Jun 2010

I just started a job a month ago and was faced with the same dilemma. The advice a good friend gave me was not to disclose any personal information until the second interview or when you are sure you will be offered the job. I took her advice and was glad I did. On my second interview I told the employer about my breast cancer and my plans for treatment. She was very appreciative and very supportive. We agreed that during treatment time, (I only had two more treatments left at the time, now down to one - tomorrow) I could take 3 days off. The day of the treatment and 2 days recovery.

I've also been blessed to have a great hospital next to the place where I work, so I will be having my 35 rounds of radiation there during my lunch hour so as not to affect my work schedule. My boss, Helen has been a godsend and has kept this information private. Even though I am OK if people know, I have not told anyone else here at work yet.

Good luck with your search.

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2010

Sparkle, thanks for info.but if I'm on the first interview and they ask why I've been off a year, what do I say? FML,Personal just took a break, or the truth???

Posts: 242
Joined: Jun 2010

I say tell the truth. Did you leave the first job due to illness or job cuts? I was laid off from my job due to budget cutbacks, so I told them that during my first interview. But I think the truth is the best way to go. It will help when you have to be off for treatments.


Posts: 992
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Bunny,

You do not have to disclose health issues under HIPPA privacy laws so you will not suffer any consequences for keeping your health history private. If asked, "I would say that I always give a job 100%. I had some personal issues that needed my attention so I took a leave of absence to handle them. Now they are resolved and I'm ready to get back to work."
I would also recommend that your bring letters of recommendation from people who worked with you in the past.

Cancer can raise concerns about future insurance claims which can effect future premiums. You would never know why you did not get the job but that is a big concern today. I say it is non of their business what your personal issues were. Now they are resolved so you are ready to get back to work.

Be glad you are in health care. Looks like there are jobs available in that field.


Posts: 41
Joined: Jun 2010

You are correct legally they cannot ask you . However, business being what it is they would not ask you directly but might question why you were off. I have interviwed 100's of people during my career and I always appreciate candor. People leaving a job or not working for several months is not a new thing and most employers are not going to hold it against you. If they do you don't want to work for them anyway. Do not volunteer information but if asked I would say I was off due to some medical issues that have since been resolved. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

New Flower
Posts: 4299
Joined: Aug 2009

Just say you had a family circumstances which is true. It is illegal to ask about your health. If you feel capable of doing the job,please do not bring this up. It will complicate situation. I have started my new job a month ago. I went through a very rigorous interview process. Health is is your personal issue , like if you are married, have kids or religious affiliation. Please do not talk about cancer during your job interview, it is different than being laid off.
Good luck

KayNYC's picture
Posts: 495
Joined: Mar 2010

I also work in the healthcare field. I have disclosed my diagnosis to my supervisors and coworkers having been in my present position over 11 years, however, I would not disclose details of my medical issues on interview for a new position. I would indicate that I was on FMLA or attending to personal issues that have been resolved when asked about the time I was not employed (if that is the case). This is personal information and there are implications for medical nsurance coverage. I do think it a good ideat to have personal letters of references and/or copies of work evaluations from former employers and others who have worked with you in the past.
Best of luck in your search for your new postion.
Hugs, K

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