Tips for Explaining a Job Loss

A face-to-face interview with a hiring manager trying to prove that you’re what the company is looking for can be a very intimidating experience – especially if you’re to explain how you lost your previous job. Fired, displaced, canned, laid off, resigned. However you put it, it’s still a job loss and it’s one of the most nerve-wracking subjects to talk about during a job interview. So how are you going to handle the situation if the interviewer asks you to explain a job loss? Here are some helpful tips to prepare you:

Be honest

Tackle the situation with all honesty. Failing to disclose the real cause of your job loss may put you in grave danger. When your employer checks references and finds out the truth, your dishonesty can cost you your job. And you don’t want to be asked again why you got fired in future interviews.

Make your explanation as brief as possible. Let the interviewer know what you’ve learned from the experience. Also tell him or her what actions you’re doing to change. And then talk about your accomplishments, qualifications, and how you can be an asset to the new organization.

While you have to be always honest when disclosing details, you don’t need to open the topic about why you lost the the job. You don’t have to reveal information voluntarily or focus the interviewer’s attention to this part of your resume unless he or she starts the conversation regarding the topic.

Changes in strategy

If your former company implemented radical changes in the organization that you didn’t fully approve of, briefly talk about the lessons you learned from this situation. It’s a no-no to say something bad anything about your previous company. You could say something like this instead: "Following the merger, our new boss wanted to change the strategy for the product group. I thought the status quo was much better than the proposed strategy.

Now, I’m thinking, I should’ve tried to understand the reason for implementing the changes more and made amends to support the changes." In this hypercompetitive business environment, every company needs to change. Tell the interviewer how willing you are to adapt to changes.

Monster boss

Difficult bosses are very common in many companies. Many times, you find yourself having a heated argument with your boss. If you lost your job because a new boss came along and you had difficulty getting along with him or her due to differences in opinion or just bad chemistry, tell the interviewer that some boss-subordinate relationships just don’t click. After this, talk about your good relationships with other bosses you worked for. Remember, never bad mouth your former boss as it will only make you look bad.

Dishonesty and other misdeeds

If you were terminated for very reprehensible reasons, such as substance abuse, sexual harassment, falsifying company information, or misuse of company funds, don’t be surprised if the company you’re applying for is not eager to hire you. Be very honest and disclose only what must be disclosed. You also have to share to the interviewer what you learned as well as the actions you undertook to change.

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