View Full Version : Interview Questions


JollyBadger
11-17-08, 06:55 PM
I lost my job last month and am currently signed up with a career transition center. That sounds so Orwellian, doesn't it? But, I digress.

I was talking to my "coach" at the career center last week about the ADD issue. Technically, I lost my job because of ADD. . .HR and my supervisor knew I was diagnosed and I'd made a formal request for accommodations. That request was denied by my supervisor. . .the reason given by her was that it was too much, and she refused to change the way the department was run (none of my requests even came close to expecting the department itself to change).

Anyway, my concern is that one of the questions in a job interview is almost always "why did you leave your previous job?" Well, basically, I was fired because I have ADD and they didn't want to have to deal with it. But I can't really say that to a potential employer, can I?

I could simply say that my supervisor and I didn't quite see eye-to-eye on certain work-related issues, but that comes dangerously close to crossing the line into boss-bashing, which is a huge interview no-no.

So. . .has anyone here been in that kind of situation? Any advice?

Thanks!!

Retromancer
11-17-08, 07:29 PM
I am in fact in a similar situation. In my case my termination came at the end of a deteriorating relationship with the management. They were looking for a pretext to fire me -- and I duly gave them one. In an interview I do not discuss this. Instead I say that there was a change in management at my workplace and as a result I was informed by them that my services would no longer be needed. Full stop. All true -- I of course do not inform the interviewer that the change occurred over 2 years before my dismissal...

Always keep in mind that unless you are working on a contract you are hired "at will'. Both you and your employer are free to end your employment at any time for any reason -- or no reason. As a employee it is customary to give two week notice. There is no such expectation for employers -- of course...

I would strongly encourage you to have someone call the contact person at your last job to find out what they are telling potential employers. Thankfully in my case the HR department is being very cautious. They actually decline to answer the dreaded "is this person eligible for rehiring?" question. Not exactly a ringing endorsement but I will take what I can get...

chartreuse
11-17-08, 08:24 PM
Well, the first thing I would do is talk to an attorney that handles employment law. My understanding is that ADD is considered a disability and that your employer is REQUIRED to make reasonable accomodations. Their discharge of you may not have been legal.

Other than that, Retromancer's suggestion to find out what your employer is saying is excellent. You can then craft an answer that is as favorable as possible to you without contradicting what your employer said.

Retromancer
11-17-08, 09:20 PM
Unfortunately the ADA law is much more persuasive while you are still employed. Again your employer does not need to justify your dismissal. They can simply say that your continued employment was not a "good fit" with their organization. What do you have in writing ?

In my case the non-profit organization that employed me was a "self-insured" operation that had an incentive to insure that I was denied my unemployment. So the management came up with a suitable written pretext. (There are employees still working at the same site that are as just as guilty of the infraction cited as I was...) Ironically it was an organization dedicated to housing the homeless. Putting me at risk at becoming homeless apparently was not a problem for them...

NickL30
11-18-08, 12:19 AM
Never say you were fired or terminated. Say you left because your position was eliminated due to a company or department restructuring. That is all you need to say especially these days where layoffs are being announced daily.

Retromancer
11-18-08, 12:45 AM
I guess I could say my job site was restructured. It is rather obvious that the managements vision of how that place should be organized did not include me... ;)

Never say you were fired or terminated. Say you left because your position was eliminated due to a company or department restructuring. That is all you need to say especially these days where layoffs are being announced daily.