Getting fired does not feel good…ever. Sometimes we see it coming but refuse to face the reality. Other times it completely catches us off guard. It is hurtful and we take it personal. It messes with our confidence and we wonder if we will ever overcome this blemish on our record. Even worse we are often embarrassed to try and explain the firing to potential employers.
The very first step to overcoming being fired is to dig out of the emotional pit. This is often the biggest struggle for people. This is especially true for those who were blindsided and did not see it coming. Your attitude makes all the difference in your job search. If you hold any bitterness or discouragement from getting fired, it will show up in your attitude and tone of voice in the interview.
Before I offer you 5 interview answers after getting fired, I want to share with you a simple outline for how to handle the firing in an interview.
Keep your answer brief. So many people want to explain everything away. You want to build the backdrop and your perspective for the firing. This is often not a good place to start. If the hiring manager wants to know more then by all means share it. You need to put together your story in a compact way and keep it to the point.
Always be honest. This may be difficult, but you are better off being honest about what happened. I will be the first to admit that there is usually more than one reason as to why a person is let go. Some of those reasons are not always linked to performance issues.
Turn the conversation to the positive. Tell them what you learned or how you have grown from this challenge. Talk about how it has made you to become a better employee. Do what ever you can to turn the situation into a positive. This shows humility, trustworthiness, and openness.
I often share the above guidelines with coaching clients and it does help them to know how to handle the question in the interview. Still, they want something concrete that they can use. A script if you will. Below I offer 5 interview answers that you can use to explain why you were fired in your last job.
Answer #1 – It was a job that I should not have taken in the first place. I knew going in that it was not a good fit for my skills and experience. I will not make that mistake again.
Answer #2 – Things drastically changed from the day I was hired. A new manager came in and she wanted things done a different way. She began hiring new people to fit certain roles and my duties were changed into an area that did not maximize my talents and abilities. I knew the new position wasn’t right for me but I was trying to make the most of it.
Answer #3 – I made the mistake of checking out mentally. I knew I should of been heading in a new career direction but I delayed. I didn’t want to face the reality that things had changed where I was working. I now know better for the future and I have grown from the experience.
Answer #4 – There was a lot of restructuring going on and I was caught up in the middle of it. I knew that I should have been looking for another job sooner than I did, but I am sometimes loyal to a fault.
Answer #5 – The firing was not related to performance issues at all. It was directly related to some personal issues that I was dealing with at the time. Those have all been resolved and I am now able to completely focus on the job at hand.
Lastly, I want you to know that getting fired does not end your career. Everyone overcomes this challenge eventually. You need to face the obstacle, get better prepared for how to handle it. I go in the interview with enthusiasm and a positive attitude.