“Have You Ever Been Fired?”

“Have you ever been fired?”

Being fired is the worst. However, it’s also very common. In 2014, the US Department of Labor reported that an average of 55,318 people were laid off or fired every 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?

Best Practices

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 into 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 reasons. It has no bearing on your long-term career prospects, your ability to land a great job, or the skillset that you possess. Don’t beat yourself up or adopt the mindset of nobody will hire you because you’ve been fired. A strong answer to a question about an employment gap will show your interviewer that you’ve moved on from a very brief career setback in a positive and reflective way.


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