Not every job is the right fit. If your previous employer terminated you, it can be intimidating to know how to present that experience on your resume and in the interview process as you move forward. Our hiring experts weigh in on how to handle this tricky situation with professionalism.
Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., shares, “Being fired is always a drag, whether you loved or hated the job, whether you knew or didn't know it was coming. I would definitely recommend talking through the scenario of your termination with someone you trust. Find the narrative that gives you a chance to be honest about the experience while also keeping a keen eye on what is necessary to share.” More from Stephanie
Katie, Hiring Expert at HP Inc., suggests, “If you are asked about the situation in an interview, I recommend being transparent about it and showing where you are today in regards to the situation. The question will most likely be directed at why you were fired, was it performance related, behavior-related, etc. Preparing to answer that question and being able to address how you've grown or changed from the situation will be a good way to handle this experience in your next hiring process.” More from Katie
“May We Contact Your Previous Employer?”
This question can cause quite a bit of anxiety, but it doesn’t have to. Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., says, “Being upfront and honest when applying for a position is always the best approach. If you were dismissed from a position, in most cases the hiring company will discover this eventually through a background check. That being said, you are under no obligation to answer yes and allow contact with your previous employer. If you don’t want a potential employer contacting this company, check no, and state something to the effect of 'the company was not a good fit for me.’ If questioned later about the circumstances, be honest and explain, but emphasize that it was a learning experience and you have grown from it. Showing a potential employer your ability to turn a negative situation into a positive experience could be an advantage for you.” More from Steve
Charlene, Hiring Expert at Gap Inc., offers, “You may want to call your previous employer to see what their policy is and what information would be given to any potential employer that calls. The next step is to explain, very briefly, the circumstances that surrounded your termination and follow up with, ‘what I learned from this was…’ This will tell the employer you are forthcoming, and that you took the situation and made it a valuable lesson. Another option is to state that you would like to explain in person due to the nature of the situation. This is best used if the situation is long and detailed and you are not able to capture it on the application. Be prepared to explain it in person during the interview.” More from Charlene
Honesty Is The Best Policy
Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., sums up well saying, “Many prospective employers will ask about previous challenges or situations where things didn't go as you planned. They will want you to briefly explain the situation and how you addressed it, as well as what you learned from the experience. Just remember, everyone has faced challenges throughout their lives and careers. It is how a person handles those situations and how they apply the lessons learned that matters the most. Always remember, be brief and honest in your responses, and always be professional in how you speak about the situation. More from Stephanie