Fired? How to Talk About This in Your Next Interview

If you’re facing a job interview and wondering how to talk about having been fired by a previous employer, you are not alone.  Every day, job applicants throughout the United States deal with this question during an interview.

While it is always best to be honest about a previous termination, some ways to discuss your firing are more effective than others.  Here are some strong ways to talk about a firing during an interview:

  • Be honest.  Hiring managers will always learn the truth about a termination in the end.  It is best they hear the truth from you, instead of discovering it during a background or reference check.  Be honest, but take the opportunity to explain the situation in a way that works with your current job search and needs.
  • Share the facts.  Decide how you’ll talk about the firing before you enter the interview.   Prepare a concise, straightforward version of the facts.  Do not let your feelings or perceptions creep into this explanation; instead, focus on answering the question “what happened?”
  • Take ownership.  Although your feelings about a firing may still be raw, express your anger and frustration among trusted friends or family, never at an interview.  Instead, use the interview to talk about your own role, either in the firing itself or in your pursuit of a position that fits your needs and goals.
  • Recognize the “silver lining.”  Many firings offer a “blessing in disguise.”  If you can find the silver lining in your termination, consider discussing this in your interview.  For example, if you found that you were a poor “fit” with your previous employer, discuss how the previous employment revealed what kind of workplace would suit you best, and talk about how the firing gave you the opportunity to find a better match.
  • Emphasize what you learned.  If you were terminated for reasons related to your performance, describe what you learned and how you’ve made an effort to address those shortcomings.  If your termination was the result of restructuring, “downsizing,” or other events not based on your performance, talk about what you’ve learned or how you’ve grown since you left the organization.

At Marquee Staffing, our experienced recruiters can help you put your best foot forward throughout the hiring process, from submitting your resume to handling your interview with confidence.  Contact us today to learn more.