What should I way when asked why I was fired

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hw_chelsi
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 150
   Posted 8/27/2005 9:37 PM (GMT -7)   
It has been a month now since I lost my job.  I have spent most days on the internet looking for jobs.  I have had several interviews, some were over the phone.  First off, I am not good at interviews.  The hardest part is when they ask why did you leave and then ask why.  I am at a total loss.  I have been saying it was a personallity difference but some people just look at me.  I dont want to make myself look bad nor do I want to make the co. look bad.  That is a negative thing to do.  The think is that my supervisor wanted to get rid of me for some reason and used every little error I made a big deal.  When I talked to unemployment several weeks ago I asked them the reason my co. gave or if they could give it to me.  They said, yes, I could get the reason but the co. has not responded.  I know that was true as on my determination letter to tell me I would get unemployment it stated that the employer had not responded to the notice sent them for info.  If anyone has any suggestions they would greatly be appreciated.
 
Chelsi

AlwaysRosie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 8/27/2005 10:03 PM (GMT -7)   
There are some good dialoges at Monster.com. They have some great tips on interviewing, good questions to ask and ways to be prepared. They also have a way with words when it comes to discussing your previous job.

Let us know if you find some good stuff!!

Blessings!
In His Grip,
AlwaysRosie          "We can't control the waves, but we can learn to surf!"
Psalms 139
UCTD (Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease), Hashimoto's, Plantar Fasciitis, Inflamatory Arthritis, High BP, GI Inflamation, Diverticuloses
Plaquenil, Methotrexate, Folic Acid, Synthroid, RX Motrin, Lexapro, Amitriptelyne, Salagen, Lotrel (Centrum Silver, B12, B6, Calcium+D,)


dobson
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 8/28/2005 6:35 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi,

I've been working in Human Resources for 5 years, and I've asked the "why did you leave..." question many many times. Here are my thoughts on the matter:

Don't lie. If you do, they will find out and that will the end of the process. Not because you got fired, but because you lied to them about it. When I find out that an applicant has lied to me, I immediately think "If they lied about this, what else are they lying about? If they lied in the interview, how many lies will they tell after I hire them?" So the issue wouldn't be that you got fired from your previous job, the issue would be that you lied to me about it. And that's a big thing to lie about. You mentioned that when you tell them that you got fired, they just stare at you. The reason they do that is because they are waiting for you to explain what happened. They're not judging you, they're just waiting for you to say more.

Just be honest - that's the important thing. I've hired people who have been fired from their previous job. We in HR understand that sometimes things just don't work out; it was a bad personality fit, it was the wrong job for the person's skill set, the person was going through some personal issues, etc. You are correct in saying that you don't want to say anything negative about your former employer. But you can tell the truth without torpedoing yourself. You can say something like "my boss and I had some communication problems that led to misunderstandings that caused some performance issues." Or "the job wasn't a good fit for me" (it didn't utilize my skill set / the company's culture made me feel uncomfortable / I hated the job and that caused me to have performance issues..."

Do not say anything about health issues. Don't say anything about depression or anxiety or medication or anything like that. Why? Because it's none of their business. It's against the law for them to ask you any questions about your health, beyond "are you able to fulfill the essential functions of the job?"  If they ask you something like "do you have anxiety problems?" or something like that, just turn it around and say "why would you ask me something like that?" Then end the interview, because you don't want to work for someone who asks illegal questions in the interview. That's a big red flag.

I hope that helps. Keep your chin up and keep telling yourself that you will get another job. It might take longer than you'd like, but it will be worth it when you find a place that's right for you.

Hang in there,
dobson


hw_chelsi
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 150
   Posted 8/28/2005 11:08 AM (GMT -7)   
Dobson,

Thanks for some great tips. I have only had a couple of interviews and a couple over the phone. Is that a common practice to conduct one over the phone? The last one was from a company that has a job I want. I did not answer when they called as I was running late and trying to get dressed for a periodonist appt. But I got the # and called from my cell as soon as I got in the car. The first call got cut off but the second time went fine. Well, when I got home I did a quick thank you letter to her and mailed it out that day. I know you send them after a formal interview but I would like this job and thought it couldn't hurt.

One more question. I get all sorts of answers to this question but since you are in HR you would know. What can a person legally ask a former employer?

Having2LeftFeet
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 472
   Posted 8/28/2005 11:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Chelsi,
 
The one thing you can say is that you had some medical issues that are now resolved and your company needed someone there daily. Or, you can say that you did have a difference of opinion and that's why it was best to step aside and search for a good job or a better job. Both of these aren't lies. You do have medical issues and you did have differences with your supervisor. Did you get a resume ready? Do you sit and practice for an interview? I know how hard it is to change jobs. Just remember one thing. When one door closes another will open. Everthing happens for a reason. Put yourself together, build your confidence and hit the streets. Chelsi, you can do this. I will throw in an extra prayer for you!
 
God bless
"Lefty" 
There is no such word as can't. Can't simply means wouln't. Grab as much as life as you can. Future is a long way away for those who don't believe. Don't build a foundation of life on sand. It will take it away with the tide. Love a little more, be unkind a lot less.


dobson
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 8/28/2005 1:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi,
Phone interviews are very common; it's called "pre-screening" where they'll ask you a few questions to see if you fit the basic requirements and then if you do, they'll bring you in.
 
As for what they can ask former employers, it varies from state to state. However, in general, most times you'll be transferred to HR. The only info HR will give out is: name, title, start date, end date. In other words, all they will do is verify that you did work for them. That's it. From their professional perspective, the last thing they want is for you to come back later and sue them because they said something negative about you to a prospective employer. Most of them aren't Catbert; they hope you'll find another job.
 
One thing you should definitely do is to contact a former co-worker from the company that terminated you (preferably someone who is familiar with your work) and ask them to be a reference. Also, give the prospective employer references from previous companies where you weren't terminated. If you have 3 good references and one bad one (or one who won't give any info at all), usually the good will outweigh the bad. One very very important thing you must do is contact the people who you want to use as references, and make sure they agree to do it. Also give them a heads-up if you think a specific employer might contact them for a reference - that's what I do.
 
I know this might seem really awkward, but if it were me, I think I would have asked them, as they terminated me, what kind of a reference I could expect, or how they think it might affect my future employment. Since you weren't able to do that, you might contact your former employer and tell them that you're worried about finding another job after having been fired. You might be able to come to some kind of agreement with them about what they will or will not say when called by a prospective employer. They might be willing to provide a letter (on their letterhead) "To Whom it Might Concern" that lists what your job title was, start and end dates, and what your job duties were. The letter wouldn't give a reason why you left or an assessment of your performance.
 
 
Good luck and keep us posted on how your job search progresses! :-)
dobson
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