By: Eric Thomas
Being fired sucks. Someone give me an amen! I’m not the only one who has been fired. You show up five days a week, on time even! Most days you have a smile on your face when you arrive at the one place you never wake up wanting to go: Work.
Then one day they tell you, “You don’t need to come back anymore”. Suddenly, you are angrier you don’t need to show up, than all of the combined times you had to show up. The hardest part isn’t figuring out how to pay bills, collect unemployment, or even where to start looking for a job; it’s figuring out what to say about your previous employer when the time arrives to interview for the job you actually want.
If the idea raises your blood pressure, simmer down, I have a guide for you to follow.
Let’s assume a few things: You managed to leave without cursing anyone out. You already have an updated resume and you’ve jumped straight to the interview. Knowing you will need to answer a question you do not want to hear is bearable when you have a great answer. So, forget all of the bad emotional tension between you and your former employer and focus on moving forward.
Let’s role play shall we?
Potential Employer: “So tell me why you are no longer with Company A?”
You: “Ummm…” [Insert head scratching and nervous cough].
– End Scene
-Explain you were not a good match for the previous employer
-Emphasize your compatibility with the new employer
-Give details about how your previous experiences will enhance your future work performance
-Bad-mouth your previous employer
-Detail the reason you were fired (Legally a company can not disclose why they fired an employee)
Always be forthright without selling yourself short and do not denigrate the previous employer. Why you were fired matters much less than why any potential employer should hire you. Show that you gained from the experience. This is more impressive than never making a mistake. Be clear regarding your interest in being somewhere that will allow you to develop your skills, contribute to the team, and most importantly, impact the bottom line [also known as making the company look good].