Being Fired Answers 0


Being fired is severe enough in itself. Couple that with the fact that you often have to discuss why you left your previous company in job interviews, and it often feels like adding insult to injury.

While it’s perfectly normal to be frustrated with this situation, though, you shouldn’t feel hopeless — many people before you have been in that same situation before. In fact, “the majority of the workforce will get laid off or fired at least once in their career,” says career coach Jena Viviano. “It happens more often than you think.”

So the next time you hear the dreaded question, “why did you leave your former position,” don’t sweat. Just use the following tips to give a truthful, tactful and flattering response.

1. Know the Policy
Before you even begin interviewing with other companies, it’s essential to know what you can and can’t say per your arrangement with your former employer.

“Before you find yourself in a situation where this question is likely to be asked, check with your company’s HR department and with your boss to determine how the company will represent the separation,” recommends Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. “The story you tell must be aligned with what the company says. Some companies have strict policies about disclosing any information beyond dates of employment.”

Violating these policies may put you in hot water with your former employers, so it’s always better to do your due diligence and verify what you can and can not say.

“You don’t want to violate company policy even though you already left your employer. They can sue you or clawback your severance,” Cohen adds.

2. Be Honest
Discussing your firing is probably the last thing you want to bring up in a job interview. Still, it’s essential to show your employers that you’re trustworthy and truthful. After all, even if you lie about being fired in an interview, they could quickly discover the truth when they tap your references and former employers.

“I always tell clients it’s better to bring up the elephant in the room than to wait for them to dig in and find out,” Viviano says. “By bringing it up and being transparent, you can build trust regarding an otherwise uncomfortable topic.”

“Never stretch the truth or misrepresent your experience no matter how tempting or desperate you may be to get the job,” Cohen agrees. “Most companies will fire you on the spot if they discover that you lied on the application or in the interview regarding your separation.”

However, you don’t want to be honest to a fault. For example, instead of saying “I was fired,” you can use a softer phrase such as “I was let go” or “the company and I parted ways.” Then, make sure you have a brief explanation of what happened.

“You will need a defensible — not defensive — strategy to explain the departure. That’s where you acknowledge what happened, but you also provide some context that appears unbiased,” Cohen says. Otherwise, “you leave it up to the interviewer to form their own opinion– which may not be favourable. It may also appear that you are intentionally hiding the truth if you omit important information.”

3. Avoid the Blame Game
While you want to portray yourself sympathetically when discussing your firing, you shouldn’t come across as blaming everything on your former employer, either.

” It’s tempting to just put it all on bad managers or a trigger-happy company, but showing self-awareness is really important to your personal growth and your business success, so you do want to acknowledge your part in the issue and talk about how you believe you could do it differently in a new situation,” advises Jill Santopietro-ll, HR consultant and owner of 21Oak HR Consulting, LLC.

“For example, one friend was recently terminated by a cross-country manager who had barely ever met him and hadn’t formed a great relationship with him. In that situation, I would say ‘It didn’t work out for me at XYZ Company, as I don’t believe our employee-manager relationship was as strong as it could be without ever being in the same place. In the future, knowing that I had a manager who wasn’t there on a day-to-day basis, I would structure my interactions differently to be sure that my manager feels more engaged in our team’s work and challenges,'” Santopietro-Panall shares.

” Don’t ever bash the employer or blame it all on them,” Viviano agrees. If you do, they may wonder if you’ll do the same to their company if you were to receive an offer. “Take ownership of what you did wrong, and try to move on from the question as fast as possible.”

“Before you find yourself in a situation where this question is likely to be asked, check with your company’s HR department and with your boss to determine how the company will represent the separation,” recommends Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. “The story you tell must be aligned with what the company says. Some companies have strict policies about disclosing any information beyond dates of employment.”

In that situation, I would say ‘It didn’t work out for me at XYZ Company, as I don’t believe our employee-manager relationship was as strong as it could be without ever being in the same place. If you do, they may wonder if you’ll do the same to their company if you were to receive an offer.