What to Say at an Interview if You Were Fired from Your Last Job

Being prepared for a job interview is stressful enough, without having to worry about what to say at an interview if you were fired from your last job. If you are wondering how to handle this tactfully, there are ways to manage a termination and still get a job offer. Here are some suggestions for how to discuss your termination with a potential employer.

Be Honest

Before you try to come up with elaborate excuses about why you were let go from a previous job, stop and think about whether or not you are being honest. People get terminated from jobs for a number of reasons, often through misunderstandings or company politics. Hiring managers understand this and they want to know that you are capable of learning from your previous work experience by being honest about it.

Avoid Saying Negative Comments

One of the biggest mistakes that interviewees who have been fired from previous jobs can do is make negative remarks about the employer. Despite your feelings about your old company or the circumstances surrounding your job loss, leave all anger aside when in the interview chair. Your future employers do not want to hear negatives said about past employers. Instead, they want to find out what you have accomplished with your career and what lessons you have learned that you can take into the next job. This is what human resources professionals want to hear - that you've been able to move on from an otherwise traumatic event in your career and find something better to do than dwell on the anger you felt at that time.

Talk About the Positive

While this may seem a little contradictory, talking about the termination with a positive spin will actually demonstrate to the person interviewing you that you've been able to move on and bounce back from the event in a good way. For example, if you were let go and then later decided to go back to school to get a higher degree you should emphasize that. Maybe you went on to develop a new skill or start a different career as a result of losing your last job? Try to focus on the positives about getting fired and have a slight sense of humor about it for the best results.

Practice What You Will Say

Getting interviewed is stressful especially when coupled with anticipating the question about having been fired from a former job. In order to get over this nervousness, it's advisable to practice in front of a mirror or with a friend a few days ahead of time. Consider what your body language and your tone conveys to others. Make sure you make plenty of eye contact, smile and be truthful about the general circumstances that occurred when you were let go from your previous job. By the time the interview day arrives, you will be able to handle this topic with grace and dignity.