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How to Explain Why You Were Fired in a Job Interview

With the current job market, it’s difficult enough to find a job for the most highly qualified and praised professionals, however finding a job can be even more difficult for those who were fired from a previous job.

When interviewing for your next job, it’s important for you to first assess what went wrong at your previous job. What could you have done differently? How will you change your behaviors in the future? What have you learned? How will this make you a better employee going forward?

The following are ways to explain your parting with your previous company, without flat out saying you were fired.

* Reason for termination: Change in corporate direction. Explain that the business took a new direction, and you did not support the changes that were being made. Then, quickly move on and talk about ways that the experience has made you a better employee. Demonstrate what you have learned about working with others, being flexible, and submitting to authority. Regardless of how ugly the break was with your formal employer, never speak unkindly of the company or the individuals there.

* Reason for termination: Change in management. Sometimes management changes, and you may have been let go because you didn’t get along with your new boss. If this was the case, explain that some people just don’t mesh. Do not elaborate on the conflict. Proceed to share references managers and colleagues with whom you had a fantastic working relationship. This demonstrates that while you may have had conflict with one person, you also have built strong professional relationships with many other people in the same time frame. Almost everyone has had a difficult boss at some point, and they will hopefully look past this. Do not speak unkindly of your former boss.

* Reason for termination: Conduct. While everyone can relate to an experience with a difficult boss, it can be rather tricky to explain being fired for infractions that are considered major office taboo such as sexual harassment, drug use, or misuse of company funds among other dirty deeds. In this situation, you need to be prepared for the fact that some companies will not hire your. The best approach is to honest, but brief, and show how you will be a better employee because of the situation. Then you can try to steer the conversation toward your professional accomplishments.

* Reason for termination: Poor performance reviews. If you were fired because your work was not up to par, first you should assess why you were under-performing and try to address those issues. You may find help by calling your past bosses and colleagues and asking them for ways that you could have improved. If you take this approach, remember not to be defensive. What is done is done. Listen humbly to their suggestions for your improvement. Once you have identified actionable changes you can make, it will be easier for you to assure an employer that you have made the changes necessary to succeed at their company.

Most importantly, do not lie about why you lost your job. It is fine to tell the truth, and then offer positive ways that the experience will affect your performance in the future. The truth does have a way of getting around, so if you lie to your employer, when he finds out that you have falsely represented yourself, you will likely be fired again.

Eric operates a top job board which is a comprehensive database of bilingual jobs in the United States and Latin America. Hispanic professionals are connected with Hispanic jobs every day!