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Honesty is the Best Policy When Discussing Why You Got Fired

Blog / May 6, 2021

As if getting fired isn’t painful enough, you’ll probably have to relive the experience the next time you interview for a job. That dreaded question: why did you leave your last job? It’s a fair question, and it’s common, so you know it’s coming. But it’s still uncomfortable and, when you’ve been fired, a tad stressful. But 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.

Be honest with yourself first

Before being honest with anyone else, you have to be honest with yourself 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.

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.

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 spill the tea about a previous employer because they’ll assume you’re going to one day do the same to them some day. Plus, you’ll seem like a sore loser. Instead, stay focused on your accomplishments and contributions to the company.

Move along

When you discuss being fired, stay positive and composed. 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, and this is your chance to convince them of that.

For more advice on how to prepare for an interview, check out our website at https://www.chiefofstaffkc.com.

Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh