There may come a time when you are fired from a job or asked to resign. Honestly, it’s not the end of the world and you can recover from it. The important thing is how you handle it in the interview. You actually FIRST should decide if you want to put the job on your resume or not because the resume is what gets you an interview (in most cases). If you were fired from a job where you worked for 6 months or so, you can probably leave it off without having a huge gap in employment. But if it was somewhere you worked for a number of years, eliminating it will cause a gap on your resume that will require an explanation. Now, if you are filling out a job application, there is a way around putting the actual reason when asked why you left a job. You can simply put “Will discuss in the interview.” I have been a hiring manager before and when I saw that on an application, it didn’t stop me from calling the person in for an interview.
So once you have made it past the resume/application phase, the most important thing you can do to overcome this “termination problem” in the interview is to be prepared. You know you could be asked why you left a job so prepare for it. If you can speak about it calmly and professionally it won’t be that big of a deal. Trust me, you aren’t the only person that has been fired before. Be able to talk about what happened without giving away too much information and WITHOUT being negative about your previous job or supervisor. Also, be sure to mention what you learned from the experience.
For instance, if you were fired for extreme tardiness or absences, you can say “There was a point where I having some personal issues which were causing me to arrive to work late and miss days. I was let go due to this. I am fully aware that my absences were affecting the team because business must go on. So I understand my boss’ decision to terminate me. I have resolved those personal issues I had at the time and if I were given the opportunity to work here they will definitely not be an issue.”
If you were fired for breaking a company policy or not following the rules, you can say “At my previous job we had policy for __________________________________. While I was aware of the policy, I did not follow it completely because I got careless and was trying to take a shortcut. This mistake caused customers to complain and I was terminated because of it. I now fully understand that policies are in place for a reason and it is best to follow them. Customer satisfaction is always the #1 priority so anything that makes customers upset costs the company money. This was a great lesson for me and if I’m given a job here I will be sure to follow all policies and ask questions if I don’t understand why a policy is in place.”
If you were fired for consistently not meeting your quota, you can say “When I worked for _____________________, we had weekly sales goals. It was a fast paced environment and the expectations were very high. While I did well at first, business was very slow during the last few months I was employed there. I tried different strategies and getting ideas from team members, but I wasn’t able to close the deals necessary to reach my goals. I was ultimately terminated for this reason. I really enjoyed the job for the most part and I have no regrets. I am hoping to take some of the strategies that did work in my previous job and apply them here if I am hired for this position.”
Maybe you were fired because you just didn’t feel motivated any more and were not making valuable contributions. It happens to the best of us. You sometimes lose interest in a job or the company makes changes you don’t agree with. You can say “I pride myself on having a strong work ethic and being a contributor to the team. There came a point where I was no longer able to give 100% and it really started to affect my job performance. I had a talk with my supervisor and we realized that the best thing was to let me go so that I can pursue a job that I am passionate about. I believe I found that job when I saw your job opening. My previous boss and I actually still have a good relationship and he/she offered to provide a recommendation for me.”
So you see being fired/terminated does not mean your career is over. It just means you were in a situation that was no longer working for whatever reason and it had to end. If it was your fault, admit it and take responsibility for your actions. We all make mistakes, but the most important thing is keep moving forward. Talk calmly and positively about the termination and what you learned from it. Let your potential employer see the “brand new and improved” YOU!!