Fired? How to Handle It in Your Next Job Interview

June 28th, 2013

When you’ve made it to an interview, how do you explain getting fired to the prospective employer? It’s never easy or comfortable to answer this interview question, but there are four important steps you can take to minimize the potentially negative effects of being terminated, separated, laid off or let go.

First, you need to clarify what you mean when you say, “I got fired.” In the past few years, many companies had to lay off record numbers of people due to cost cuts, mergers and closings. All of these are beyond your control and have nothing to do with your job performance.

However, a genuine firing occurs when you’ve done something illegal or unethical, failed to fulfill a job’s requirements or couldn’t get along with your coworkers or management. While explaining what happened under these circumstances can be awkward, you can do it in a way that won’t hurt your chances in the interview.

Here’s how to answer the question “Why did you lose your last job?” with confidence:

  • Remember you’re not the only one this has happened to – Getting fired happens, for many reasons — and employers know that. They’re willing to hear you out with a reasonable explanation.
  • Be objective with your explanations – Get past your emotions about being fired. Work with a friend or family member to figure out how to explain the situation objectively so that you sound rational and also able to accept blame, if necessary.
  • Show what you gained or learned from the experience – You can turn the negative into a positive if you take this attitude. Sure, maybe this happened because you were in the wrong company or position, but probably you were at least partly responsible. Tell the interviewer what you’ve learned from your past experiences and show that you are ready to move on with a new outlook.
  • Keep it short and simple – Your firing is just a small part of your past work experience and shouldn’t take over your interview. Stick to the facts, and if you don’t focus too much on the subject, the interviewer might not, either.

Still feeling nervous about your past? Could you use some help putting your best foot forward to get your next great opportunity? Call or contact the experts at Synerfac anytime!

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