How To Answer The 'Why Were You Fired?' Interview Question

In the past I wrote about how to move forward if you were laid off this period. Now, what if you were asked the question 'Why were you fired?' in an interview, what should be your response.

why were you fired from your job

People get fired for different reasons. it might be for reasons totally out of your control, or you may have acted in a way that you now regret and have learned from. In either case, when in a job interview, you need to be able to eloquently talk about why you were asked to leave your previous employer.

I begin by saying that getting fired is more common than you think, so don't assume it will ruin your future job prospects.

After you've been fired, the temptation might set in to bad-mouth your previous employer and explain why they made an unfair decision. But this has proven to be an ineffective strategy over time. Rather than blaming anyone specific, lay out the facts of your firing and let the interviewer draw their own lines between them.

If there's not much you feel like you can say without casting a serious negative pall on yourself, there's no harm in keeping your answer short and truthful. Just make sure you represent it in a way that wouldn't cause the interviewer to feel like you hid key details from them, especially in case they eventually talk to your former employer. 

Also, make sure you're on the same page with your former employer's HR department about how they will be discussing your employment when asked.If it doesn't come up in your interview then it may not be wise to bring it up unnecessarily.

Employers ask about why you were fired for two main reasons. They want to know the basic events that led up to your termination and whether it's something that reflects on your own character.

Here are sample responses you can give:

The job wasn't working out, so my boss and I agreed that it was time for me to move on to a position that would show a better return for both of us. So, I'm available and ready to work.

I outlasted several downsizings, but the last one included me. Sign of the times, I guess.

My department was shut down. It was unfortunate, because people familiar with my work say I did my job well and I always got excellent reviews from my managers.

Use phrases like “let go” instead of words like “fired.”

A note of warning. Don’t Lie. Resist the temptation to present a firing as a layoff, for example.

You’re likely to get caught, and if you are, you’ll lose the opportunity altogether. Be honest, but don't overexplain. You want to be forthright and honest in your response, but there’s no need to belabor the point. This is a time not to share too much information. 


Read also : Interview Preparation 101 : How to prepare for interview.

Tags: Layoff,lose job,firing,interview

Author : Kekeocha Justin