Interview Help: Talking About Layoffs and Firings

During an interview, talking about layoffs and firing can be a difficult thing to do. If you were fired from your job, you may not know how to talk about it to your next potential employer. Here are a few things to consider about handling questions about being fired from previous job. 

Eliminate Negative Emotion

When someone fires you from a job, you will most likely experience a range of negative emotions. You might be angry at the person involved in the firing and the circumstances that caused the firing. However, whenever you are talking to someone about a new job, you need to eliminate all of those negative emotions. Before you go into the interview, make sure that you can talk about the subject calmly. If you get emotional when you explain the situation to a prospective employer, it will usually not end up well. You should not say anything negative about your former employer or go into elaborate details about what happened. Remain calm and conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times.

Different Direction

When someone asks you about being fired during an interview, you might want to respond with something about the of the company going in a different direction. You could say,"My former employer decided that they wanted to go in a different direction with the position that I was in." This can convey a sense of professionalism to the interviewer and help you avoid getting into any negative situations.

You Chose the Wrong Job

You may also consider mentioning that you chose the wrong position for your skills. Many people that are desperate for work will take any job that they can get. When this happens, your skills are not always in line with the required skills. If you choose the wrong job, it may eventually result in your firing. If you recognize that you chose the wrong profession, it may not reflect negatively on your work ability or skills. Therefore, this can help the new employer see that your last job was simply not a good fit for your abilities.

Focus on Opportunities

Whenever an interviewer brings up your previous employment, try to answer the question and then immediately get back to the topic at hand. Try to focus on the great opportunity that is presented by the new job instead of problems in the past. You could say something like, "Unfortunately, my skills were not a good match for my previous position. However, I believe that they would fit in nicely with your company." This diffuses the situation diplomatically and allows you to get the conversation back on track. Although the interviewer is in control of the conversation in most cases, you can do your best to direct the flow as well. Try to get through the unpleasant topics quickly and move on to things that you enjoy talking about.

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