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How to Interview for a Job After Being Fired

June 2, 2017

Be Honest

This is without a doubt the most important thing to keep in mind while interviewing after being fired. Never lie to a potential employer about being terminated. You may be tempted to leave the job off of your resume, but you probably should not do that. As Tom from VF Corporation says, “Many companies require background checks that will verify your employment history and use your application as the basis for that verification. Lying on your application is usually a sure way not to get an offer or have the offer rescinded.” 1 With that being said, if an application does not specifically ask for the reason you left your last job, you do not have to say you were terminated on your resume. You can explain this in an interview.

The only situation in which it would be acceptable to leave a job you were fired from off of your resume is if the job is irrelevant to your career. If you have other, more relevant knowledge, skills and abilities, it may be okay not to list the position on your resume.

Demonstrate How You Have Grown

Instead of shying away from questions about your termination, you can use it as an opportunity to show how you have improved since being fired. Samantha from Archer Daniels Midland puts it like this: “If and when the question arises in an interview, you can explain the situation, highlighting what you learned from the experience and how you’ve grown professionally since then.” 2 If you have taken steps to enhance your skill set or improve since being fired, you can share this to show the potential employer what they can expect from you. By showing them that you have reflected on the situation and yourself, it will be easier to look past your previous termination.

Explain the Situation

There are many different reasons people are let go from their job, and some do not reflect as poorly on the employee. If you were laid off due to the company downsizing, that is something you should let potential employers know. Nevertheless, it can still be tricky to explain why you were laid off, so it can be helpful to think about what you will say when asked and rehearse it ahead of time.

It is also possible that you were terminated from your job due to a personality conflict with your boss or coworkers, though it had nothing to do with your job performance. According to Lori from Cigna, “There are many individuals that end up in situations where they are terminated or leave on their own because of a negative experience or environment.” 3 Again, the most important thing to do is explain the situation to the interviewer and then elaborate on how you grew from the experience.

Moving on and finding a new job after being fired can be stressful, but by staying positive and following these tips, it doesn’t have to be. Ashley, a hiring expert from The Hershey Company, sums it up best: “Focus on what you have learned from your experience and what you know you can do better in your next position. It is important to learn from your mistakes and take it is as a learning experience.” 4

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