So You Got Fired—It’s Not the End of the World

By TERRA Staffing Group

Posted on August 31, 2022

Woman looking out window

Sometimes we leave a job by choice, and sometimes the employer ends the job for us. 

But there’s no reason to panic. Getting fired does not mean that you’re a “bad” employee. All it indicates is that your last job wasn’t the best fit. And that’s okay. 

This is an opportunity to take stock of the skills and expertise you bring to the table and focus on finding a job that utilizes your strengths. 

That way, when your termination is brought up during a job interview, you’ll feel comfortable talking about this openly. And it will show you that you can still make a great impression.

Here are some tips to help you talk about getting fired in an interview.

Be honest—and brief.

If you were terminated in your last job, say so. 

Don’t be embarrassed about what happened. Employers appreciate honesty, especially if you’re upfront and open about getting fired. It can build trust and credibility. 

That said, you don’t need to elaborate beyond stating the facts truthfully and keeping it brief. If you’re not sure what to say, try these examples: 

  • My last position ended because I was fired. It wasn’t the best fit because {insert your reasons here}
  • After being fired, I realized that position wasn’t the best fit for me. This opportunity seems more aligned with my career because {insert job qualities you’re looking for}. 

A few sentences are all you need. Don’t fall down a rabbit hole when you’re explaining what happened.

Don’t pass blame.

Own your part of what happened—even if you feel that things ended unjustly. 

Casting blame will give the impression that you are making excuses and unable to take accountability for your actions. And even if the rest of your conversation goes well, this will overshadow your interview. 

You want your interviewer to remember that you’re an outstanding candidate, not how angry you are about your circumstance. 

So swallow your pride for the sake of having a great interview, because a prospective employer is never going to be on your “side.”

Discuss what you learned.

Getting fired is a learning opportunity. Tell your interviewer how it helped you discover your strengths and grow professionally. 

Managers value someone that has the capacity to acknowledge where things could have gone better and what they took away from the experience. It shows that you’re open to change and that you’re not rigid in your thought process.

Though it may be uncomfortable to bring up why you were fired, it will demonstrate to your interviewer that you are capable of learning with grace—which is incredibly valuable in any workplace. 

Showcase your skills.

Focus 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!)

Explain why you’re the best fit for that role specifically. Talk about your accomplishments, which can even come from the job that you were fired from. Use this to emphasize how and why your experience would translate well into the role you’re applying for. 

It might feel like you’re bragging about yourself, but it won’t come across that way. You’re giving a clearer picture of the skills you have and what you’re capable of doing. And it will demonstrate your dedication to the quality of your work.

Be positive.

Things happen. Not all workplaces are right for everyone. Employers understand that. 

During your interview, avoid using negative verbiage and avoid seeming resentful. Making snide comments is not going to help you land your next position. In fact, it will hurt your chances. 

Try to have an upbeat attitude. Remember the skills and work experience that you bring to the table when you’re talking about your work history. 

Use that to discuss what you loved about your last job. Look for the bright spots. Your personality and your energy will come alive, and that’s something that your potential employer is looking for when they meet you. 

Remember it’s a job interview. You’re not on trial.

It’s never an interviewer’s intention to make you uncomfortable, but they do want to hear what you have to say about the incident.

As long as you’re honest, stay positive, 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, don’t forget that.

You’re on to bigger and better things.

How TERRA Can Be a Resource

If you’re looking for extra help in finding your next opportunity, consider reaching out to TERRA. 

TERRA Staffing is a leading staffing agency with many resources available for job seekers. We partner with companies large and small, across a variety of industries and we can help open the door to new career opportunities.

Getting started with us is simple. Just check out our current job openings. We have offices in the Seattle-Puget Sound, Portland, Phoenix, Denver and Dallas-Metro areas.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Contact us! Our expert recruiters are waiting to speak with you.

Categories: Career Tips

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