4 Ways For Explaining Why You Got Fired From Your Last Job

Two people having a conversation at work

If you’ve been fired in the past—even if it was unjust—then job interviews are probably a little more stressful than they need to be. You’re dreading that question: why did you leave your last job? It’s a fair question, and it’s a common, so you know it’s coming. But it’s still uncomfortable. But it’s totally doable. If you’re honest and you frame it the right way, you can make it seem like it’s no big deal. Here’s how to talk about getting fired in a job interview.

4 Ways For Explaining Why You Got Fired From Your Last Job

1. Be honest with yourself first

First, revisit the firing and explore your own feelings about it. Was it justified? Was there something you could have done differently to prevent it? Are you angry about it? If so, are you mad at your boss or at yourself? If you don’t process these emotions in advance, then you risk them coming out during the interview. The more comfortable you are discussing it and the more natural it is, the more at ease and confident you’ll seem when it’s important.

2. Keep your answer short

When you discuss it, keep it short. Don’t lie about it or pretend it never happened—hiring managers always find out the truth—but you don’t need to over-share either. Just give them the facts. If you just keep chattering away about it, you might say something negative about yourself, about your employer, or something else that puts you at a disadvantage.

3. Stay positive

Don’t badmouth your employer—this one is important. This is true even if you didn’t get fired. Your potential employers doesn’t want to hear you speak badly about a previous employer because they’ll assume you’re going to one day do the same to them. Plus, you’ll seem like a sore loser. Instead, stay focused on your accomplishments and contributions to the company.

4. Move along

When you discuss being fired, stay positive and poised. Maintain your dignity. Talk about how excited you are for your next opportunity, skills you’re looking to develop, and what you can offer to your next employer. You’re the best-qualified, most talented candidate for the position, you just have to convince them of that.

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