How to Discuss Getting Fired in a Job Interview

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Did you just land your first interview since losing your job? As if getting fired isn’t emotionally challenging enough, you now have to prepare yourself to talk about it.

It’s a given that the interviewer is going to ask about the gaps in your employment history or ask why you left your last position. Review the 5 tips below before being faced with the interview question everyone wishes they could avoid.

  1. Leave bitter emotions at the door
    Are you able to talk about why you were let go in a calm and professional matter? If not, it may be best for you to take some time to yourself to sort out your emotions before putting yourself through the interview process. Vent to friends and family, not the hiring manager.
  2. Do not lie
    The easiest way out of the awkward conversation would be to lie. Making up something much more attractive sounds like the way to go. I mean, you do want them to like you, right? Wrong. Telling a lie in any part of an interview is the worst thing you can do. It’s a smaller world than you think and chances are if the hiring manager doesn’t know someone from your past, the truth will come out when they call your references. Remember that many people have lost their job and have landed on their feet. Showcase that you are truthful and the employer will respect that.
  3. Do not bad-mouth your previous employer
    “It wasn’t me, it was all them!” The blame game is always the easiest. Although this may be true, saying terrible things about your past employer is a mistake. Doing so will make the hiring manager question if you will say similar things about them if they were to hire you. Instead, keep the conversation as professional as possible, find a way to take responsibility, and then mention what you learned from the experience. Showing that you can hold yourself accountable for past mistakes is a great quality that employers will appreciate.
  4. Move on
    In this situation, less is more. Answer the question honestly, mention what you learned from it, and then do your best to steer the conversation back to what’s important: why you’re a great fit for the open position.
  5. As always, practice
    Every interview question requires practice and preparation, and this one is no different. If you were let go from a position, practice how you want to explain the situation, keeping in mind all of the tips above.

When asked why you are no longer with a previous company, it’s important to remain confident. You were asked to come in to interview with the company for a reason and many hiring managers are more understanding than you may think. Practice your truthful, filtered, and short response and move forward!

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