As if being fired weren’t already stressful enough, now you need to start the dreaded job hunting and interviewing process. And no matter how much you wish it doesn’t come up during an interview, you WILL be asked, “Why were you fired?” It’s inevitable.
Don’t panic. All is not lost. You can answer this question and still have a successful interview.
Just breathe and follow these simple tips:
- Be honest. If you were terminated by your previous employer, say so. Don’t hide or sugarcoat what happened. State the facts truthfully and keep it brief. A few sentences are all you need. Don’t fall down a wordy and negative rabbit hole.
- Be positive. Things happen. Not all workplaces are the right fit for everyone. Employers understand that. Avoid using negative verbiage and avoid seeming resentful. No one wants a hateful person on their team. Positivity is attractive. Negativity is decidedly not.
- Don’t pass blame. Own your part of what happened – even if you feel that things ended unjustly. A prospective employer is never going to be on your “side.” Blaming someone only serves to give the impression that you are making excuses and are unable to take accountability for your actions.
- Reflect. Incorporate what you learned from the experience and explain how it has helped you grow professionally. It’s a great opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.
- Showcase your skills. Always steer the conversation towards the skills and abilities you bring to the table and how you can be a valuable asset to the organization. (That’s what you’re there for!)
It’s an interview, not a trial. Interviewers are not looking to make you uncomfortable, but they do want to hear what you have to say about the incident and whether you make excuses, are bitter, or if you dwell on it. As long as you are honest during your interview, maintain a positive perspective and do not linger on the topic of being fired, you’ll be OK.
Things may not have worked out at your previous job, but that does not negate your accomplishments or depreciate your skills. You can still bring value to an organization, remember that.
Make your peace with being let go. You’re on to bigger and better things.