“Have you ever been fired?”
Being fired is the worst. However, it’s also very common. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that an average of 55,318 people were laid off or fired each day. The total for the year was 20,191,070.
It happens. If it has happened to you it’s likely that you’re going to be asked about it. Your best bet is to be prepared. Follow these tips and you can turn a difficult question into a springboard to a new job.
WHY ARE THEY ASKING YOU THIS?
When hiring managers ask about an employment gap they are asking because they want to know:
- Are you a risky hire?
- Can you handle a tough question / adversity?
- How do you handle pressure?
- Are you honest?
- Realize that this question is not an attack on you or your skills.
- Being honest and forthcoming says a lot about your character.
- Take responsibility for your role in the situation.
- Frame your response in terms of what you’ve learned—not what happened.
- Explain what you learned from the situation, and how you’ve improved since then.
- Don’t speak negatively of your former employer, ever!
- Avoid going in to detail about how it happened, your emotions, how it affected your family, etc. All the hiring manager wants is a simple answer to a simple question.
- Keep it brief! Rambling will only get you in trouble.
- After you answer, turn the conversation back toward the new position and how your abilities match what is needed.
- Keep it positive and focus on how it makes you a better candidate today.
Thousands of people are fired each day for a myriad of issues. It has no bearing on your long-term career prospects, your ability to land a good job, or the skill set that you possess. Don’t beat yourself up or adopt the mind-set of nobody will hire you because you’ve been fired. How you deal with questions about your firing will depend a lot on how you have resolved the issue with yourself.