If you have ever been fired, you know it can be a tricky thing to discuss in future job interviews. It’s never a comfortable question; even if you were laid off, there’s always the risk that the interviewer will judge your competence based on a positive answer. The key to getting past the question is to frame it up in terms of what you have learned, not what happened to you.
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Career counsellor Kristin Johnson, writing at Profession Direction, explains that if you have been fired or asked to resign, you need to prepare for the question long before your interview, even if you don’t anticipate being asked. You should assume the company you’re interviewing with is asking because they found out that you were dismissed, so don’t try to lie. Instead explain — in the most professional way possible — the reason why you were let go or asked to leave, taking responsibility for the decision. Then explain what you learned from the situation, and how you’ve changed since then.
For example, if you were asked to leave because you were chronically late, explain that you struggled with time management skills at your last job, and that since then you’ve embraced a routine (or even a new productivity system) that helps you focus clearly on what’s important so you’re never distracted and short on time. She also suggests checking with your referees to make sure they’re delivering the same message.
Hit the link below for more tips on how to prep for the big question and how to spin it to your advantage. You don’t have to let a pink slip from a previous job stifle your chances at a great one in the future.
Answering “Have You Ever Been Fired? Asked to resign?” [Profession Direction]