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How to Answer the “Why Were You Fired” in an Interview

How to Answer the Why Were You Fired in an Interview

Have you ever been fired from a job? If this is the case, you may be wondering how to explain your situation in a job interview. After all, it’s almost certain to come up. How should you respond to the inevitable question of why were you fired? How can you explain a firing in such a way that it does not have a negative impact on you during the interview process?

Having to explain why you were fired is one of the most difficult interview questions to answer. It’s difficult to talk about losing your job under any circumstances, but it’s especially difficult when you’re trying to explain it to someone you’re hoping to hire.

What the Interviewer Really Wants to Know

What is the hiring manager looking for? Aside from the facts of your dismissal, the interviewer is interested in how you handle adversity.
Sure, they want to know that you weren’t fired for some egregious misbehavior, such as stealing. Beyond that, they’ll want to know that the problem has been resolved and that you can accept responsibility for your actions—as well as demonstrate personal and professional growth.

Why employers ask about you being fired

Employers are interested in why you were fired for two main reasons. They want to know the basic events that led up to your termination and whether it reflects on your character. They also want to know how you handled the situation and if you took any steps to improve. Taking responsibility for the situation, for example, demonstrates professionalism and personal growth.

How to explain being fired

It’s important to consider how you’ll respond to this question as you prepare for an interview. Following are some steps you can take to explain a termination:

1.Be honest

Always be honest and straightforward about why you were let go from a previous position. Because people are let go for a variety of reasons, you should try to give the potential employer the most objective explanation you can. To demonstrate maturity, calmly explain why you were fired.

2.Keep it simple

While an employer wants to know why you were fired, it’s important to present the basic facts and keep your explanation as simple and brief as possible. Unless absolutely necessary, do not feel obligated to provide details about what led to your dismissal.

3.Remain positive

It’s important to stay calm and positive, and to avoid saying anything negative about your previous employer. Because the hiring manager is determining whether you will be a good fit for the team, be mindful of how you begin and end the conversation.

4.Demonstrate personal growth

Once you’ve explained the basic reasons for your termination, use them to demonstrate what you’ve learned, both about your career and about yourself as a person. Explain to the potential employer what you would do differently if you could go back in time. Accept responsibility for any mistakes you made. Describe any steps you’ve taken to prevent it from happening again.

5.Promote your skills and experience

Practice changing the topic of discussion to the value you have to offer a company. This allows you to move on to discussing your skills, experience, and the open position while keeping the conversation about your termination as brief as possible.

How to Answer Interview Questions About Being Fired

The best approach is to keep your response brief and to the point. There is such a thing as too much information at this time.

There is no need to go into great detail or provide a lengthy explanation of what happened.

It’s better to state the reason first, then try to move the conversation on to another topic.

It is also essential to be honest and straightforward. If you’re tempted to give a reason other than being fired for leaving your job, keep in mind that your former employer may be able to reveal the reason for your termination during a reference check. Remember that if you are dishonest during the application process, you may not get a job offer, have it withdrawn, or be fired if your deception is discovered.

You’ll need to tailor your response to your specific circumstances and how your termination was handled, but these sample responses will help you get started.

“Why were you fired?” example answers

Following sample answers can help you prepare a positive response that demonstrates your professionalism. Here are some examples of responses based on the reason for termination:

Example 01: Unmatched skillset

“Unfortunately, my skills were not a good fit for my previous employer’s requirements. They thought they needed someone with my skill set when they hired me. However, after being hired, we realized they required someone with experience in that particular industry. I simply lacked the qualifications they required for the job. After a year, we decided it was time to call it quits.”

This is an excellent response because it emphasizes that the candidate was not fired, but rather terminated as a result of a mutual agreement that it was not a good fit. This response acknowledges the issue but avoids assigning blame to anyone. It demonstrates the candidate’s professionalism and maturity.

Example 02: Laid off due to company restructure

“My position was actually outsourced to a different country. While my supervisor was pleased with the work I did for the company, they ultimately decided that moving the work overseas would be more cost-effective.”

This is an excellent response because, while the candidate was laid off, they made it clear that it had nothing to do with their own performance.

What Not to Say

1.Avoid the Word “Fired” 

Keep in mind that an interview is, at least in part, a sales pitch. Avoid terms that have a negative association for many people when marketing yourself. Instead of using words like “fired,” use phrases like “let go.”

2.Don’t Dwell on the Negative

Even if your ex-boss or employer deserved it, now is not the time to belittle them. Maintain a positive attitude, and keep your negative thoughts to yourself. You don’t want the hiring manager to wonder if you’ll be that negative about the new company if you’re hired.

3.Don’t Lie

Refuse to present a firing as a layoff, for example. You’re likely to be caught, and if you are, you’ll miss out on the opportunity entirely. Be truthful, but don’t go into too much detail.

Read also: How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in an Interview