Getting fired from a job is always a frustrating and sometimes painful experience. Many people avoid talking about how or why they were fired from a job.
So how do you cover this touchy subject when a potential employer brings it up during an interview? Can you reply without making yourself look like someone that isn’t fit for the job?
Honesty is the Best Policy
Be upfront. There’s no way to hide a firing without looking like a fraud if your new employer finds out. Trying to cover up why you were fired is just as bad. Take the time to explain why you were fired, even if you were at fault.
Remember – all an employer has to do is check your references. While it is illegal for a previous employer to embellish your work record, they can explain why you were fired in honest terms. By being open and honest before the firing employer has a chance to have their say you are painting yourself in a better light.
The worst thing you can do other than covering up a firing is to badmouth your previous employer. Saying that the firing was all their fault doesn’t make you look like a victim. What that type of behavior does do is make a potential employer wonder if you would bad-mouth them while you are an employee. Don’t lay blame, suck it up and present yourself as an adult that has learned from their mistakes. This is the type of person that is valued – not someone that comes off as a whiner or finger-pointer.
Take responsibility for your actions and let your interviewer know you’ve grown. Understanding past mistakes and learning from them is a valuable skill in the eyes of an employer.
What to Say
There’s no set reply to a question about being fired.
The best approach, as stated above, is to be honest. Speak candidly, but keep your reply short. There’s no reason to dwell on the firing. Keep your facts straight – don’t keep adding in new details even if they are truthful. Briefly state what your side of the story and again, don’t lay blame, not if you’d like to gain a new job.
You might think about formulating your reply before ever walking into an interview. Visualize the interview and practice what you will say. Do you notice anger or frustration when talking about the firing? If so, practice talking about the event until you are calm. Role play the interview with a friend.
In the end the only person that can make a good impression during your interview is you. An open, honest interviewee is more likely to get and keep a job.
Lying to a potential employer or showing your resentment of a previous employer is a good way to remain jobless. Show all of your good qualities, including honesty.
About the Author: Tina Samuels writes on marketing and career topics, and personalities like Steve Wynn.