Fired? How to Explain it in a Job Interview


Successfully navigating a job interview is all about highlighting your accomplishments and downplaying your failures. There are some topics, however, that are especially difficult to avoid or put a positive spin on – namely being fired from a past job. If you have been in this situation before and struggled to discuss the subject, use the tips below the next time you have a job interview.

Give Yourself Some Credit

Remembering going in that not all employee/employer situations are a perfect match. Plus, almost everyone has been fired from a job at some point in their career. The fact that you have lost a job is not necessarily an indictment of your skills and potential, so don’t let it affect your overall interview performance. Just because you have been fired doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the new job.

Tell the Truth

There is a natural tendency to sugarcoat the circumstances surrounding your firing. This is always a mistake. An outright fabrication will get you immediately taken out of consideration, and even minor embellishments to the truth can raise red flags. Complete honesty is the only strategy.

Focus on the Facts

You can tell the truth without divulging every detail of the story. As you are explaining the reasons for your firing, focus on the facts and avoid talking about your feelings. You want your explanation to be concise, because hiring managers will not be interested in a drawn out tale of office politics and interpersonal conflicts.

Leave the Negativity at Home

When talking about a firing, you should never bring up any resentments you may have with your former co-workers, boss, or company. Complaining like this, especially in a job interview, makes you look petty and raises questions about your character. No matter how bad your experience was, talk about it in neutral tones and terms.

Frame it as a Learning Experience

If you talk about your firing as something that came out of nowhere and was completely not your fault, you won’t get a lot of sympathy. Instead, own up to your role in the situation, and discuss how you learned from the experience and became a better professional as a result. Everyone makes mistakes. Hiring managers want to see that you understand where you went wrong and are prepared to avoid a repeat.

Talk about your firing in the right way and you might even be able to get some support and sympathy from the person leading the interview.

Learn about other ways to make the best possible impression by working with the team at Bayside Solutions.