How to Explain Why You were Fired at a Job Interview

Category: Job Preparation | Date: | Total Views: 2900

Tags: Job Preparation


Being fired from a job is quite a painful experience, and having to explain it at job interviews for your next job is basically salt to the wound.

“Why were you laid off?” Or “Why were you fired?” is definitely the toughest question that can be asked in a job interview. And if you have been terminated from your last job, that’s also a guaranteed one.  

So how do you overcome this dreadful question without getting burned? Here are a few tips that might help you prepare good answers:

1. Be Honest: Firstly, be honest. Lying about it can only make matters worse. Apart from the person who got kicked out of work, you don’t want the added label of being a liar. Most recruiters these days are hardly any lesser than private detectives, and they’re going to know sooner or later anyway. Lying can only additionally lessen your chances at getting another job.

Just be strong and tell the truth. At the very least, it will let your potential employers know you are honest. They might also admire your courage to speak straightforwardly of complicated situations. However, you don’t need to be too detailed as well, unless they start probing. Just give them a brief overview of what happened and hope they move on from it.  

2. Don’t be resentful: No matter how unfairly you feel you have been treated by being laid off, don’t portray the grudges you hold toward your previous workplace to your potential employers. Just give an impartial reason along the lines of “The boss and my heads didn’t match”, or “Being desperate for work, I ended up in a workplace that didn’t suit me”, or “the stressful work environment made my emotions get the better of me.” Etc. The idea is to blame it on the situation, and not on specific people or places.

3. Portray it as an experience of learning and opportunity: Show your potential employers that being terminated was actually a positive experience in your life. That it was an opportunity rather than a setback. Being fired should most definitely have been a learning experience for you in some ways and you should elaborate more on this rather than the reason you were fired. Also, if you’re interviewing for a job at an interview in a new industry, you could emphasize on how you now have the opportunity to work at place where you would fit in more.

4. Talk more of the optimistic future: Lastly, stress more on the future than the past. Being terminated would probably have had an impact on you as a person, and you would most likely have gained some self-realisation on how you could handle a similar situation that led to your termination in the future. Shift the focus of the conversation to how you can now better perform at work and what good things your potential employers can gain from you. Stress the details of this more than anything else.      

We hope these tips might help you move past this obstacle in your life to a more fruitful and fulfilling career. Also know that despite following everything mentioned above, you might still not be well-received at all your interviews, but we urge you to not lose hope. Put behind the past of being fired and move forward to find better opportunities for a better future. Remember- “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, ........Don’t look back!

Also, if you are in Nepal, and need some career guidance to help you move forward, please feel free to reach out to us at merojob. Our professional career counsellors are more than willing to give career counselling absolutely free of cost.

More suggestions to read:

  1. 6 Mistakes Leading You to Getting Fired
  2. 5 Skills to Win Employers’ Heart
  3. Office Etiquette: 5 Things to Never Say at Work
  4. Be Successful: Practice 7 Common Habits
  5. Tips to Reduce Stress at Work

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