Download our free Resume Ebook

Asked by Carol on February 9, 2017

If I've been fired from my last job-how do I handle this? What do I put on my application? Say yes or no to contacting my last employer? How should I handle this in an interview?

Answered by Dean, Hiring Expert at Archer Daniels Midland, on February 28, 2017

Hi,  It is always tough no matter what situation led to you being let go.  Honesty will help you land on your feet and more importantly learn and grow from this set back.  First truly assess why you were fired.  What could you have done differently, was it simply not the right fit, what have you learned that you will apply in future situations.  These are the things that you can share during your interview. If you do not blame your boss or prior company, that shows that you have taken ownership of the situation and have potential as part of there team.  As far as what you put on the application for your separation, if it is not a required field, leave it.  If it does require an answer, career opportunity is always a positive response.  Most companies do not contact your prior employer, but again if it is required, answer yes.  You do not want to appear to be hiding information. 
Hope this helps and good luck!

Was this answer helpful?

Answered by Allegra, Hiring Expert at Cigna, on March 2, 2017

It’s very important to be honest during the recruiting and hiring process. Your application should be 100% accurate, and during the interview process you should explain why you were fired from your prior job. Use this opportunity to share what you learned from being fired, steps you’ve taken to further enhance your skillset and competencies, and what the new potential employer can expect in terms of what you offer. Regardless of the outcome, it’s imperative to always be open and honest when engaging a new employer for a job opportunity.

Was this answer helpful?

Answered by Tom, Hiring Expert at VF Corporation, on March 10, 2017

I echo the other experts comments and would like to reinforce one point.  If asked, honesty in the best policy, but if it is not required on an application to provide the information, it is best not to provide it.  Most recruiters are looking for the fastest, easiest way to get to the best candidates, seeing that a candidate was fired from their last job on an application is a red flag which will likely screen you out immediately, with no opportunity for you to explain why you were fired.  When asked during the screening/interviewing process, if you are honest about why you were fired, what you've learned from the experience and how you may have already applied what you've learned, you can minimize the concern.  Additionally, 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 (every company's policy is not the same) a sure way not to get an offer or have the offer rescinded.  Being honest on the application is not the same as providing information that is not specifically requested.   

Was this answer helpful?

Answered by Sara, Hiring Expert at Grace, on March 13, 2017

This is tough for all involved. I would say honesty is the best policy. You can say things on your application such as “I was let go” or “difference of opinion.” What you want is the opportunity to explain why. Most companies will not give out details as it pertains to your situation. They will only say if you are eligible for rehire. You need to understand what happened and how your former employer will respond. In an interview you need to be up front and honest. Think about how you will explain your situation; do not respond via emotion or negativity. Please understand that if you were terminated for cause and really did do something that was warranted it will be hard for employers to get past that. They will be concerned that if you performed poorly at one company you will do it again. I hope moving forward you will do anything in your power not to get fired from any other jobs.

Was this answer helpful?

Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at The Hershey Company, on March 16, 2017

It is always important to be honest during the application and interviewing process. As mentioned before if it does not require an answer no necessary to go into detailed but if it does ask make sure you are honest. When explaining to potential employers your situation it's important to let them know what happened but you do not have to go into specific details. Instead 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. Best of luck! 

Was this answer helpful?

Answered by Rachael, Hiring Expert at Merck & Co., Inc., on April 6, 2017

Honesty is absolutely key – being fired from a job isn’t that uncommon, and there are multitudes of reasons why. It’s important to be as objective as you possibly can, and to frame the process as a learning experience. Be prepared to convey to the hiring manager that you’ve taken the time to reflect critically on the situation and on yourself, and that you’ve learned from the experience. It’s up to you whether to include this on a resume, depending on the length of time at your previous role and its relevance to your job search; I would include it and be prepared to discuss it in an interview as mentioned previously. It’s much better for a hiring manager to hear the news from you rather than solely from a previous employer during a reference check!

Was this answer helpful?