How do you tell a potential employer you were terminated ?

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  1. donotfear profile image85
    donotfearposted 11 years ago

    How do you tell a potential employer you were terminated from your last job?  So what do you tell them?  Or, should I say, HOW do you tell them? 

    The real stickler, what is the tactful words to use when they ask you point blank, "Why did you leave your last job?"

    Then if they want more information about why you were terminated and ask, "WHY?"  or "What happened?"

    Go for it................

    1. smcopywrite profile image59
      smcopywriteposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      if you can get away with not telling them you were terminated, dont. if the reason you left was something other similar to you have too many sick days or something along those lines, avoid it.
      maybe you can explain that you outgrew your position, you wanted to grow and the company didnt provide room for that..something along those lines. if your reason for termination was something terrible-sexual harassment or something similar, you may not want to mention your last employer and get some counseling

    2. Marisa Wright profile image91
      Marisa Wrightposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      If they don't ask, don't tell them. 

      If they do ask - it depends what the reason was. 

      If you were terminated because the company was downsizing, say so.  Some employers will assume that only the poor employees were let go - so explain how the terminated staff were chosen, e.g. your whole department went, or the most recently hired.

      It's hard to give advice on other situations without knowing what the situation was.

  2. livewithrichard profile image76
    livewithrichardposted 11 years ago

    Just be honest at the interview they're going to follow up anyway and it's best to have it all out on the table in your words before they get it from your last employer. But before that question comes up be sure to play up your strengths.  Most interviewers want to answer why they should hire you not why they shouldn't hire you. So, if your strengths outweigh your weaknesses then you'll be in a better position.

    Work on good answers to the questions: What did you like most about your last position/employer? And What did you like least? Don't be negative about your previous employer or position especially if you are going for the same type of work.

    1. Marisa Wright profile image91
      Marisa Wrightposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Is that what happens in the US?  In Britain and Australia, if you give a previous employer as a reference, they will follow up - if you don't offer them as a reference, they can't.  Though obviously, if you don't offer your last boss as a referee when applying for a new job, the interviewer is likely to be suspicious!

      1. livewithrichard profile image76
        livewithrichardposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        Many of the less corporate jobs here in the US only require a job application and a resume is optional. On the application you will be asked to list your previous employers along with a contact info, though many applications ask if it is ok to contact this employer.  Like you said, it's suspicious if you don't allow for contact.  The interviewer or other staff will follow up depending on how many applicants there are for each position and how much you sell yourself at the interview.

  3. rebekahELLE profile image87
    rebekahELLEposted 11 years ago

    Make sure you understand clearly why you were fired, if you were given a reason. Some employers simply say, 'we no longer need your services' and don't give a reason. And sometimes they do that for your benefit, if you need to collect unemployment, or to cover themselves if you decide to sue.

    If you understand the reason, and have worked through it, you'll be better able to answer the question if asked. My advice, be so good with your first impressions, the way you're dressed and groomed, your preparation for the interview that they've already made their decision in those first crucial minutes.

    An excellent book to read is '60 Seconds and You're Hired'. You'll be well prepared for any interview. Here is a link to an excerpt on Google books, your question answered is #68. … mp;f=false

  4. Peter Owen profile image61
    Peter Owenposted 11 years ago

    So many people have been laid off in the past 6-7 years, that there is no shame and employers understand this. I looked the new employers in the eye and told them I got caught in a layoff. It doesn't mean you are bad or unqualified. It can simply mean you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Go in with confidence.

  5. psycheskinner profile image82
    psycheskinnerposted 11 years ago

    I say where I worked and when. How I left jobs is something I answer in a straightforward way if they ask.

  6. donotfear profile image85
    donotfearposted 11 years ago

    Well, if they ask, I'll have to say "I lost the position."  I know they are going to ask why. 

    This is the short explanation on what actually happened:

    I have an online support group.  I use an alias name.  I posted about an incident that happened with a client...a mental client that I was assessing.  I was so rattled about the incident, I vented to my online support group aobut what the girl did..she did so&so, then I called names used.  Then vented about stuff at work in the office, NO NAMES used.  Somebody, a troll, used a link from my signature to track me down, put 2 & 2 together enough to know what state authority to send it to.  Then they sent to the state, who in turn, not knowing who the actual person was who posted, sent to my employer, obviously narrowing the search down to one certain section of the state. 

    When supervisor asked, "hey, is this you?"  I didn't lie, I said, 'well yes'.  So that's it.  The canned me at the end of the day, no reason given on the dismissal letter,  though reason given to me was 'unethical and not up to the standards of practice upheld by the joint commission'.  Period. 

    Mental health field is a touchy thing. I spilled my guts, I get fired. It was a retalitory action from some do-gooder who decided they would stick their pompous nose up and "report this unethical post".   


    1. profile image0
      Baileybearposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      that's so rude they hauled you over the coals like that (after all their supersnooping, esp as you didn't reveal identities).  I wrote in my hub fired for being too honest' - got slaughtered when stuff I said was twisted. 

      Ugly politics.

  7. Lisa HW profile image61
    Lisa HWposted 11 years ago

    Have you contacted your former supervisor (or whoever you'd need to) to ask if s/he'll give you a decent reference or not?  Sometimes even if someone is terminated a supervisor (or "whoever") will give a reference (maybe not a glowing one, but sometimes not always a dirty-details one).  I think that's what you need to know first.

    1. donotfear profile image85
      donotfearposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, she already told me to have them call her directly on her personal phone. But when they DO ask "Why were you terminated", I don't know a tactful non-condemning way of telling the truth.  I refuse to lie.  What'a tactful phrase to use?

      1. Lisa HW profile image61
        Lisa HWposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        I'm kind of scared to even make a guess about what you should say here.  If there's absolutely no chance "reason for leaving last job" will be left out (by a potential employer, your former one, or you), I'd think something like "inadvertently broke a rule, mainly because I didn't have an adequate understanding of it at the time" might be one approach?  Maybe you could add something like, "Now, I understand that kind of policy better."

        I'd think that if you've decided to just be out with it and not lie or try to avoid dealing with it, chances your best bet may be to try to come across as "understanding" of the former employer's policy, sorry that you "inadvertently violated it", and sorry that you were under the mistaken impression that an anonymous online group didn't also include saying nothing; they'd get the idea that you found your "mistake" regrettable and had learned from it.  I don't know what kind of support group it is, but maybe one side to things would be that a support group encourages people to speak about personal issues in anonymity; and maybe you could add something related to that, and say something like, "Maybe I should have had a clearer idea of what not to say even under a fake name, but I didn't - and I didn't really think I was doing anything wrong at the time.  Now I know, and I won't be making that particular kind of mistake again."

        Your job situation aside, I do think, in general, that most people respond best when someone acknowledges that something was mistake (if there really was a mistake made, of course), expresses that he's sorry it happened, expresses that he's learned from it, and expresses why it is it won't happen again.

        I'd think if there's a chance you feel you were unjustly terminated, then that would be a different thing; and if that were the case, what would be the best thing to say would be different, of course.  smile

        1. donotfear profile image85
          donotfearposted 11 years agoin reply to this

          I think you've nailed it right here. Of course, being too open was what got me fired, but then again, the truth will set you free.  Now I'm not one to say more than is needed to say & certainly wouldn't walk into it spilling my guts right off the bat.  But I think just coming clean will be the best thing to do, just as you worded it.  Now if I can just persuade the unemployment board......

          I filed for unemployment and I know they are going to appeal it, we'll have a hearing, etc.  I'm going to stick with my guns on the fact that I revealed no identifying information and no person was harmed in any way (other than me).  They may try to say I deliberately violated, but I don't consider it a violation unless direct reference is made that identifies and individual to a situation. And I've always been careful with that, as I was in the post, NOT to identify nor put out something that would lead to the person being identified.
          Oh well, I've learned, now I must go on.

          1. Lisa HW profile image61
            Lisa HWposted 11 years agoin reply to this

            Good luck.  Hope it goes well for you.    smile

      2. profile image0
        Baileybearposted 11 years agoin reply to this

        maybe you could say they didn't like your honesty and you got culled because of politics?  Unfairly dismissed. Don't elaborate.

  8. Gail Anthony profile image60
    Gail Anthonyposted 11 years ago

    You don't need to tell anybody you were terminated.  In the United States, there is too much exposure for any company to provide information other than dates of employment, position held, and verification of salary.  Most corporations have policies limiting referral information to verification and dates of employment.


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