Albert Aizman
June 12, 2013

Getting Fired: How to Explain in an Interview

Unfortunately there is no simple solution to get around discussing a termination in an interview.  However, there are steps you can use to minimize any damage it may cause.  Here are two important things to observe when a hiring manager brings up the topic of a previous termination.

Honesty is the Best Policy

Unfortunately there is no single phrase that fits every person’s situation when trying to answer for a termination.  However you choose to explain it, the best advice is, “do NOT lie about it!”  Be as honest and objective as possible on your point of view of what happened.  The worst thing you can do is to be less than honest about the situation and then the potential employer later discovers that you lied.  Therefore, be candid about the event.

There are a multitude of reasons for termination.  However it is best if your explanation focuses on being objective and not placing any blame.  Sometimes an employee is fired due to personalities clashing or perhaps the job description did not match the expectations.  Regardless of the circumstances, most often there are two sides to the story.  When asked about a previous termination, you have the opportunity to show that you are a compassionate person who can understand events from another person’s perspective.  Placing the blame completely on another person and having a chip on your shoulder will only be a turn-off for your potential employer.

Lesson Learned

What could you have done differently?  How could you have handled the situation better?  Sharing the answers to these questions in the interview shows that you took the occurrence very seriously and you want to improve yourself to avoid a similar event in the future.

Everyone can improve in some areas and it is good to stress that to a prospective employer.  Getting fired from a job is not as terrible as getting fired and not learning anything from it.  Explain the situation from the perspective of what you should have done differently rather than what your previous employer should have done differently. If you follow these steps you will find that most hiring managers will be impressed with you.

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