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Job Interviewers: How to Explain Getting Fired

Anyone who’s ever been let go from a job knows it’s not fun to answer questions about it during an interview. Inevitably, interviewers somehow find a way to reach that dreaded topic. Honestly, there’s no good way to sugarcoat losing a job, so the best thing you can do is to embrace the conversation and hope for the best.

Of course, there are ways to approach the discussion that can help. Try taking these two steps if you’re ever asked about being fired from a position during an interview.

1.     Don’t hide the truth. Be honest.

There’s no easier way to blow a job interview than getting caught in the middle of a lie. If you were fired, laid off, let go, whatever you want to call it, be up front about it. Employers tend to call your references if they’re seriously considering hiring you, so make sure your previous employer doesn’t have a reason to contradict your story.

This isn’t to say that you need to go into deep detail about what happened. Not every employee is meant for every job. Employers understand that. Sometimes it may be a matter of clashing personalities, and sometimes it’s about job performance. Whatever the reason, your best bet is to calmly explain your side of the issue.

Here’s a tip. Don’t play the blame game. Placing blame on someone else will leave a sour taste in the interviewer’s mouth, and if you can speak unbiasedly about the situation, you’ll demonstrate a high level of maturity.

2.     Explain how you learned from the experience.

From every unfortunate situation comes a learning opportunity. Did you gather newfound wisdom after being fired? If so, share this with your interviewer. It could help alleviate any poor impressions the firing caused.

Depending on how long ago you were let go, you may have had plenty of time to reflect on what happened in your previous position. Could you have done better? Did you perform your tasks to the best of your ability? Did you put forth effort to get along with your direct coworkers?

Once you’ve had time to think about these questions, you’ll be better prepared to handle yourself in the future. Maybe it’ll take a little more concentration, a little more positivity or a little more punctuality. Just do your best to instill confidence in your potential future employer by showing that you’ve grown both as a person and as a worker.

If you’ve been fired from a job and find yourself struggling to explain yourself during interviews, don’t worry too much. Just remember to be honest with the interviewer and to show that you’ve grown from the experience. If you need more tips, or even one-on-one coaching for future interviews, don’t hesitate to contact the Jones College Career Services department!


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