How to Interview When You Were Fired

How to Answer Why You Were Fired Interview Question

If you’ve ever lost a job, either due to being fired or laid off, then you know that you don’t want to talk about it. The trouble is that if you have been fired, you will have to discuss it in your next job interview. We have insider information on how you can address this without losing out on the new opportunity.


Don’t Wait to Look For Another Job

Whether you were given some sort of financial arrangement from your last employer or you’re waiting for unemployment, don’t wait to start looking. The standard length of time to find a new position varies across industries and geography, but waiting is always the worst idea. Everyone needs to keep their skills up and keep sharp. Whether it’s an unrelated job or volunteering, you need to be ready for the next position that starts. Make sure you know what you can and cannot say in a job interview about your past employment.


Be Honest and Take Responsibility For Your Actions – Briefly

Admit that you were fired, but that you take responsibility for your part in that situation and it was unfortunate. Admitting to your own mistakes can then segue into how you’ve learned from past mistakes and moved on.


Don’t Bash Your Past Employer

Don’t launch into any personal grievances. If you’re in a tight-knit industry or a small town, then we can safely assume that the person interviewing you already knows someone you worked within the past and talking about personal issues will make it worse.


When to Give a More In-Depth Answer

You may have to give a more in-depth answer if the hiring manager knows your past employer or past manager. Be sure to keep it both brief and respectful. Explain how it wasn’t a fit, but that wouldn’t be an issue here.


Don’t Exaggerate

While you want to appear as the underdog in this situation, don’t stress the truth or misrepresent your experience, no matter what. Nearly all companies will fire you on the spot if it’s discovered that you lied on either your application or your resume.


Do Soften The Phrasing

Instead of using the word “fired”, try “let go”, “the company and I parted ways,” and then proceed with a brief explanation of what happened. Don’t be defensive, don’t go into specifics, and don’t imply that whatever happened there might happen at this new position you’re applying for.


Bring It Back To Culture Fit

Once you’ve given a brief explanation of why you were let go, it’s time to pivot to why you’re a good fit for the job you’re interviewing. Focus on why you think that you’d work out here, either referring to the company’s values (that you found online earlier) or with the people, or why you think your strengths would be a better fit here.


Keep in mind that plenty of people have been fired before and bounced back. You can do this!

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