Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Preparing to Answer the Tough Interview Question, “Why Were You Fired?”

With the recent economic downturn, an increasing number of job seekers find themselves in the position of having to explain why they were fired from a previous job. Many experienced hiring managers understand that the current state of the economy has resulted in a significant increase in layoffs and firings. They also recognize that, in some cases, capable people are fired simply because a particular job was not a good fit or a personality mismatch existed between an individual employee and his/her manager. However, no matter how understanding a hiring manager is, it is that person’s job to ask why you were fired and expect a plausible explanation.

The best way to answer this question is honestly and succinctly while emphasizing any specific lessons gained. Stick to the facts and put a favorable spin on the situation by sharing how you’ve gained valuable professional insight that you can positively leverage in your next job. Avoid getting caught in lengthy details and placing blame on your previous employer. If the interviewer continues to dig for more details, try to turn the conversation back to how well your qualifications align with the position for which you’re interviewing and why you would be an asset to the current organization.

Be aware of your body language, tone, and the overall attitude you’re projecting as you discuss your firing. The best way to convey this confidently in an interview is to work on your attitude before the interview. First you need to accept the fact that you were fired and then you need to convince yourself that you’re genuinely ready to move forward. Once you do, you’ll likely start to experience newfound exhilaration about future job opportunities that lay ahead. And you can count on this enthusiastic and optimistic demeanor being well-received in any interview.

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