Answered by Dana, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on Thursday, October 30, 2014
I agree wholeheartedly with Nell’s advice, and understand this is not an easy thing to go through. Without knowing a lot about the situation, my best recommendation would be to carefully examine what transpired, and be 100% ready to delve into both the termination and also the “takeaways” with a future interviewer.
This is a great time to reflect on the following items:
1) What circumstances lead to your being fired?
2) Was it a mismatch for your skills, passions, and/or personality?
3) Were the job’s requirements more than you could handle?
4) Could things have gone differently? How? Would you have wanted things to go differently?
5) What did you learn from this? Why?
6) How will you proceed going forward, to avoid roles with similar circumstances, and/or avoid making the same mistakes?
If you were terminated because it wasn’t the right type of position for you, think hard about the kinds of roles that are likely a much better match. You may have learned things during this process about your work-style, task preferences, interpersonal skills, and ambitions that you simply didn’t know before.
If you were terminated for being unable to meet the requirements of the role, consider what’s realistically manageable for you at this point in your career, and if things could have been completed more effectively/efficiently on your part. If you were terminated for other reasons, I would still be ready to explain to a hiring team what you gained from this experience.
Even if you feel it was not your fault, focus on the positives! Try to avoid spending too much time in an interview discussing who is to blame, and instead center the conversation around this next exciting phase in your career. Show how enthusiastic you are to be changing directions and shifting priorities, and why you are totally certain that you can be successful in this new venture.