Is this the worst job interview question? The internet seems to think so.

Recently Yahoo News! rounded up the best tweets describing the worst job interview questions.

The vast majority of users on Twitter took shots at questions pertaining to gap years, with one writing:

And another saying:

And then a bunch of other people chimed in:

Why all the hate for gap year questions?

Gap years, or periods where you don’t list your employment on your resume, can be a major liability during the hiring process. Yet more and more candidates in the U.S. are finding themselves saddled by frequent gap years induced by the pandemic.

“If your career lost steam during the pandemic, don’t despair,” personal finance expert Maurie Backman wrote. “If there’s a gap on your resume because you had to take time off of work, own it during interviews.

“That said, if you had to stop working during the pandemic due to childcare constraints, it’ll help to present prospective employers with examples of productive things you did with your time while you were unemployed.”

According to a recent survey by the American Staffing Association,
62% of parents said that it was impossible to keep a job because COVID-19 put extra childcare and virtual schooling responsibilities on them.

“Short gaps in your employment might generally go unnoticed, but longer, more extended gaps should be proactively addressed briefly in both your resume and cover letter instead of keeping them a mystery,” according to

Based on their massive survey of human-resources professionals around the country, it seems that extended gaps in your resume are only dealbreakers if there’s not a compelling explanation for them.

“Personally, it depends on the span of the gap on the resume or C.V., and if there was a brief explanation given,” said Phidelia Johnson, a human resources consultant. ”The hardest challenge for me is when no reason is offered by job candidates on their resume or C.V. as to why they were unemployed.”

Acceptable reasons for resume gaps

Resume gaps become red flags when they are frequent, extensive, or a combination of both. But even in those cases, there are ways to address them without taking too much damage. They can even work in your favor — if you’re tactful.

“I look at major gaps on a resume or C.V. as an open window with a reason,” Johnson said. ”I become interested as a recruiter to at least hear the story behind the gap.”

It may be that some spent periods of unemployment developing skills relevant to the position at hand. More specifically, Johnson said, taking time off to raise children; to take care of ailing parents, a spouse, or a child; to pursue higher education; or to volunteer can make you look more appealing in the eyes of the recruiter.

How to bring up gaps on your resume

If you’re worried about frequent or extensive gaps on your resume, consider compensating with any other potentially relevant experience., especially if any of it pertains to continued education classes or community involvement.

“Regardless of whether you’re taking a voluntary or involuntary break, you should remain competitive in your field by staying up-to-date on your industry’s latest trends,” Johnson said. “Go to conferences or other industry events. Show HR that you haven’t been idle while being unemployed and include those activities on your resume.

Transparency can help soften the effect extended gaps have on a candidate’s prospects for the position. Most employers conduct interviews to gauge both the competency and basic character of potential employees.

“There’s nothing wrong with taking an employment break, regardless of the reason, so don’t feel guilty or ashamed of your work history,” Johnson said. “If you feel negatively about the gaps in your employment, the recruiter or hiring manager will most likely feel the same way.”