Nicole asks an excellent question: When an interviewer ask if you have ever been fired, are you honest or do you want to present yourself favorably?
Here at The Work Buzz,we’re anti-lying, and here’s why:
1. Once you lie, you have to keep it up. (Too tiring.)
2. If you get caught, you can lose the job offer/job. (Bummer.)
3. If you get caught, your professional image is damaged and can haunt you. (Booooo.)
4. After you lie, you spend a lot of time worried that you’ll get caught the aforementioned reasons and always have that anxiety in your mind. (Waste of energy.)
That said, we don’t think you need to expose all the skeletons in your closet unless necessary. In other words, don’t walk into an interview and say, “First things first: I was fired from my last job.” That’s like opening a first date with, “My last breakup was heinous!” Big no-no.
Answering this question can definitely put you on the defensive, and you’re guaranteed to get some follow-up questions with it. How and what you say is really circumstantial.
Were you fired in 10 years ago when you were a high school or college student who was more concerned with partying than working? If so, admit it was a folly of youth. You were young and didn’t have the right priorities, but your work history since then can prove you’ve rectified the situation.
Were you fired for something more serious, such as failing to achieve goals or job duties that were your responsibility? Explain why you messed up and what you learned from it. Don’t make excuses. Put the facts out there as gently as possible and then give examples of what you’ve done or will do that proves you understand the importance of job performance.
Were you laid off? That’s definitely different than being fired and you should be aware of that. Tell the interviewer that due to a reduction in work force, you were let go/your position was eliminated for purely financial reasons and not due to your performance.
You might be thinking, “Can’t you just lie and get away with it?” Technically, you might be able to. If you were fired from your babysitting job in junior high, I doubt anyone’s going to notice, and that’s not really relevant. But if you were fired from a job that’s part of your work history, the employer will likely find out. With job seekers outnumbering job openings at a great rate, employers are going to make sure they’re taking the best of the best. One call that reveals a lying candidate makes their decision that much easier.
To get back to the last part of Nicole’s question, you do want to portray yourself favorably. Part of what makes a good candidate is experience because it’s not just what you’ve done, it’s also what you’ve learned. Don’t let one firing characterize your professional life.