Sometimes people get fired. It happens, and while it certainly isn’t the most desired outcome, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your career. If you’ve managed to avoid discussing your previous employers in job interviews, consider yourself lucky. It will come up eventually, and when it does, you had better be prepared.

You need to address being fired in your interviews!

If you’ve been fired from a previous job, don’t avoid the question. These five tips will help you address the situation and move on to the rest of your interview:

  1. Be honest. If you’re directly asked whether you’ve been fired, don’t lie. It’s a bad idea, it’s unethical, and it will certainly catch up with you. Don’t do it.
  2. Don’t make excuses. Address what happened, honestly, and move on. Don’t make excuses about why you were fired. You’ll appear whiny, and no one wants to hire a whiny employee.
  3. Avoid trashing your previous employer. As much as you might be tempted, don’t trash your previous employer. Even if your last manager was over-the-top mean and cruel, your prospective employer doesn’t want to hear it. And the interviewer has likely never met your old manager. Even if he or she was a true demon, there is no way to verify that – so you’ll end up looking like the difficult one. Plus, if you trash your previous employer, who’s to say you won’t trash your new employer down the line?
  4. Address what you learned from the experience. If you were fired, you likely made a mistake or two down the line. Address why you were fired, and show how you learned from the experience. Showing growth, and the ability to learn from your mistakes, demonstrates emotional and professional maturity, and a willingness to learn.
  5. Prepare your answer ahead of time. Talking about something as emotional as being fired is not going to be easy. Lay out your answer ahead of time, but try not to sound rehearsed. Map out some bullet points you’d like to address, then speak from the heart. You’ll feel more comfortable and collected during the interview.

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