View Full Version : Fired from last job, now what to say in interview?

02-20-07, 01:38 PM
Hey kids. Does anyone have suggestions/experiences on what to say in a job interview when they ask "why you left your last job?" and it's because you were fired? I was fired last month due to excessive absences, low productivity,(but "you were the most accurate claims processor we had") and one too many outbursts/anxiety attacks...blah, blah, blah...

So, even though I had these problems with all my previous jobs, this was the first time I was fired, instead of just quitting. Now I'm worried about what to say in job interviews (have my first one over the phone tomorrow) in regards to the question above. Obviously I don't want to say I was fired, or why, so any advice on this would be great! :eek:

02-20-07, 09:35 PM
hmm that is a hard one. here are some ideas
The job wasn't working out so my boss and I agreed that it was time for me to move on to a position that would show a better return for both of us. So here I am, ready to work.
After thinking about why I left, I realize I should have done some things differently. That job was a learning experience and I think I'm wiser now. I'd like the chance to prove that to you.
usually hit it off very well with my bosses, but this case was the exception that proved my rule of good relationships. We just didn't get on well. I'm not sure why.
My job was offshored to India. That's too bad because people familiar with my work say it is superior and fairly priced.

02-20-07, 10:16 PM
SO- DON'T say you were fired.

Admit it--the only reason you let it get to the point of being fired is you were just tired of pulling the trigger yourself. That's the only times I've ever been fired--when I knew it was over and just didn't want to expend the energy to end it. (ok, there was one time that I made the VP of sales look like a moron--well, he is a moron...but so was I for providing everyone with evidence to prove that he is a moron...but I digress!)

You don't have any obligation to tell a prospective employer the details of your separation from your previous employer. You parted ways because you WANT more and want to be challenged more and you felt your time was better spent finding a place where you really would feel like giving 110% than wallowing in mediocrity with that job. An interview is a sales pitch. Focus on WHY people hired you to begin with.

Searching for a better job IS a full time you must be one of the really smart ones to have put away enough money to carry you for a couple of months while you look for a team that's a blast to work with--especially during the times of high stress.

You get what you focus on the most--focus on the positive stuff and forget about being "fired". There is NO company loyalty on this planet anymore. Stop selling yourself on loyalty and sell yourself on results. What results can you accomplish for the new employer???

02-20-07, 11:24 PM
Thanks, guys!

Lunaslobo - those are some great suggestions. I'll probably use one of those!

And FightingBoredom, I like your way of thinking. I tend to focus on the negative or the worst thing that can happen, instead of seeing things, or approaching things in a positive light. You're a great motivator!

I'll let you know how it goes, and thanks again

02-21-07, 08:21 AM
One thing working in your favor is that employers are very concerned nowadays about consequences of giving people bad references. Normally they will only confirm that you worked there between X and Y dates to avoid lawsuits over anything else they might say. So don't worry too much about their reports to prospective employers.

That said, I would outright lie to anyone you're interviewing with-- that can only come back to bite you. (I know someone who lost a job days after getting it because he was caught in a lie). I would emphasize your good qualities and potential to deliver your new company results like the other folks said. Categorize your previous job as a not-so-great fit that is better over now, and anything negative they infer can be reframed as a positive by the rest of the impression you create in the interview.

And if you hated your previous jobs so much you had absentee/productivity problems, look in a different direction this time. Hope you find something that will grab your interest and make for a better day at work!

02-21-07, 02:19 PM
thanks, miriam!

02-21-07, 05:33 PM
...Lunaslobo's suggestions/replies in front of me! After her first question of, "are you still employed with [former employer]?" and I said no, then sure enough, "so tell me why you left the company?" Aaah!! But I didn't miss a step with my little print out of your suggestions, and read off the first idea you wrote down, like they were my own words! (hope that was ok?)

What a life-saver you are, Lunaslobo - thanks a million! :D :D :D

02-21-07, 08:22 PM
your very welcome. been there done that with being fired and moving on a um well a few times and a few jobs. I am just happy that I was able to give you a hand. but I can not take all the credit. here is the web page where I got those ideas.

02-21-07, 08:56 PM
I just read an employment column on explaining "why did you leave your last job" when you are at a new job's interview.

Their #1 Tip? Do not show any or much emotion when stating ;why you left'.

Give a brief summary, but don't get into it. (Just say enough to give a very short response, and get to the next question.)

Too much emotion or explanation arouses suspicion.

02-22-07, 07:35 PM

That question has never been asked of me in person, though it's usually on the application. My answers switch between "exploring other opportunities" or "looking for a better fit with my skills, interests, and abilities."

03-09-07, 04:27 AM
Here is the problem I have with this. I am in the exact same situation. My issue is I do not play the game at all. I do a good job, i do a loyal and honest job. Personally I have tried playing the game over and over and its just not me.

Some of you can play the game but me? No I am too much about principle. Some of those things to say at an interview I couldnt say with a strait face. They could tell i was lying or bs-ing too much.

It's just not me. This is why I will probably fail.

03-09-07, 04:48 AM
Movingshadow, could you tell us what the game is?

03-09-07, 04:59 AM
Yes sorry - the game : office politics, office BS... it all comes down to that when people come up with stupid reasons to harp on your mistakes or go overbaord. If the supervisor doesn't like you or has a personality conflict with you then you have to do every little thing that they want the way they want it.. and by doing it that way they feel a power gain.. they don't want to feel like they have no more power over you - thats their fear. I am thinking of suing my employer - Apple computer.. none the less for giving me such a hard time.

03-09-07, 01:16 PM
I see. Apple Computer? Cool!
Was there an office protocol for you to follow, a job description, etc. ?
Did they break any labour laws?
Were there witnesses when your supervisor spoke to you?
Just giving you some ideas.

03-14-07, 10:19 PM
so kg how goes things. any updates?

03-14-07, 10:42 PM
Many great points. It is true, most previous employers will only give out information regarding dates that you were employed with them. The Employer will not state whether you left or were fired. I was fired from a job that I had worked in for 5 years. I told my current employer I left my job to go home to New Zealand to visit a sick relative. Honesty is always the best policy, that being said, I wouldn't go into details regarding being fired.

03-14-07, 11:03 PM
I think much of this depends on the workplace you left and the workplace you are heading towards.

I also think it is important to say that employers in the US have wide protections for giving honest references when asked. They can disclose anything that is factually true and represents their honest opinion.

Some companies choose to adopt a standard that says they will only confirm dates of employment, etc. but, to my knowledge (confirmed at this is not only NOT a law in any state, but is not how reference checks are usually practiced.

As someone who hires quite a few people, I know their are cruddy bosses and bad job fits out there. I don't usually ask people if they were fired and will usually settle for a "I learned a lot there, but it wasn't the best fit. I wanted a place that had more of what you offer here."

03-14-07, 11:25 PM
Good people get fired from jobs every day. Just because you were fired doesn't mean no one will hire you in the future. If you have a good attitude, show interest in what you will be doing, you have a good shot at being hired. Persistance, keep trying. The more job interviews you go on the better you will get at them.

Attitude is everything.:)