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Career Advice

Former recruitment agency experts answer employment questions, candidly suggesting how to negotiate your salary, find a really good job, handle phone interviews, and more.

Sage advice like this is priceless.

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Being Fired?

Q: I was fired from my last position. What should I say if an interviewer asks why I left my former employer?

A: It depends on why you were fired. If it was for something illegal or something like sexual harassment, then this is going to be a tough situation to deal with no matter what you say.

In less extreme cases, you want to start by remembering not to say bad things about your former employer. Candidates can get into trouble during interviews by badmouthing their former employer and coming across as someone that is highly negative.

Try your best to minimize the reason for your termination. You can try to explain how the incident is simply one of those unlucky things that can happen to any of us. For instance, if you were in sales and were not able to meet your sales quotas, then perhaps you were let go was because of market changes that affected your territory and customer base - in other words there was no longer a large enough market for the product you were selling.

However, most often people are fired for either personality differences between you and your boss/co-workers, or lack of production. This may not be entirely your fault - you may have been placed into a role that you were not qualified for in which case this is also partly the fault of the employer and you can say this without coming across negatively.

Overall, try to quickly explain how you've learned from the experience and that you have taken steps to avoid such happening again. And if at all possible, try and reconcile with your former employers and ask them to at least give you a fair reference.

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