How To Explain Why You Were Fired: Interview 101

Unexpected questions are often part of a job interview. You should be prepared to address a variety of topics, including an explanation of why you were fired from a previous job. Certain jobs are not a perfect fit for every type of employee, so as long as you can give an appropriate and professional explanation of why you were fired, it won’t count as a serious mark against you.

Here are some tips on discussing this sensitive subject in a professional manner.

Don’t trash talk your former boss.

Do not bash your old boss. Expressing bitterness toward the employer who fired you will make you appear immature and resentful. Instead, fess up to your mistakes. Holding yourself accountable will show that you have learned from your past mistakes and that they won’t be repeated. Use this approach: “This is what I did wrong, this is what I learned from it, and this is the way I handle it now.” Sour grapes are not welcome at an interview table.

Never lie about it.

Your credibility will be completely wiped out if your employer (former or future) catches you in a blatant lie. Being honest about why you were fired will demonstrate your integrity and accountability to an employer. This isn’t an easy discussion to sugarcoat, so the best way to approach it is with honesty.

Be positive and to the point.getting fired, interviewing

Whether the issue in your previous role was a problem with personalities or business performance, show how the end result was a positive experience. Remove all notions of blame; instead of stating, “They never made their expectations clear to me,” say, “My understanding of their expectations was not clear, and it resulted in an uncomfortable situation in the office.” An important tip for explaining why you were fired: Don’t deliver a rambling speech. Prepare by practicing what you wish to say beforehand.

Most importantly, it’s important to show a future employer that you learned something from being fired. The greatest wisdom often comes from our failures.

Do you have any tips for how to explain why you were fired during an interview? We’d love to hear them!