People get fired from their jobs every day. It’s horrible; no doubt about it. But regardless of the circumstances, you need to learn from the experience, put it behind you, and move on. Your life – and your career – will go on. And a key part of your recovery is being ready to discuss your termination in your next job interview. Being prepared will help you feel more confident and less emotional about the whole situation.

Script your response.

Write down your thoughts on how you will address your firing. Practice your response till you’re satisfied and comfortable with it.

  • Have someone observe you – not just hear the words you say, but also assess your body language. This feedback will help you improve your presentation.

Stay positive.

As you prepare for your interview after you’ve been terminated, stay positive. Chalk your firing up to a learning experience. Take pride in the fact that you persevered through a challenging period and did your best for as long as you could.

  • Share the things you learned. Talk about your departure from your old job from a “sadder but wiser” perspective. Try to sandwich your response between two positive statements. Answer briefly, then move on.
  • For example, start with a statement such as: “I work best in a team environment and am accustomed to a team where everyone encourages and supports each other.” Then: “I realized very quickly after I started working for my last employer that there was a significant amount of internal conflict and a high percentage of turnover.” Conclude by saying: “I performed the best that I possibly could in that situation, and got many compliments on my work ethic and organizational skills, but in the end, it was just too difficult of an environment to overcome.”
  • No matter how bad the situation was, never bad-mouth your former employer. No one wants to hear about someone else’s shortcomings.

Check with your references.

It’s important to find out what your former employer will say about you when contacted as a reference. Be sure that your response is in sync with whatever is said about you. If you left on agreeable terms, check and see what you can expect.

Be honest.

The worst thing you can do in an interview, regarding any topic, is lie. One untruth will lead to another. Before you know it, you’ll be in over your head. If you lie on a job application and then sign your name to it, any false statement will be grounds for termination.

Getting ready to interview after a job termination is a great time to work with a professional recruiter who can coach you through this touch-and-go transition – with emphasis on the “go” – as you move forward to a better and brighter future. Contact the PrideStaff Modesto team to learn more about how our career development experts can help you.


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