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Spark a Conversation: Explaining You Were Fired

Here at Spark Hire, we want to help candidates find their dream jobs using the power of online video. We get a lot of questions from readers about how to use online video in their search for a great job. These posts will address those questions about how to find success in your job search.

Question: How do I explain my firing in a video interview? -Nick from Colorado Springs

Thank you for your question, Nick! It’s a sore subject to bring up in any job interview, but the fact of the matter is if you were fired it is going to come up. On top of that, just because it is a sore subject it doesn’t mean you should avoid talking about it completely- especially if you are asked directly. Rather than have the employer bring it up, the best thing to do would be to address it as soon as you can and as simply as you can. Generally, hiring managers will ask one of the staple questions, “Why are you leaving, or why did you leave, your last job?” No matter what kind of interview you are involved in- be it a video interview, a behavioral interview, an in-person interview, etc- employers are bound to ask this question.

First thing’s first, don’t lie. Either through your references or just checking up on your resume the employer will likely find out and you will have no chance of getting the job. Instead, say that you were let go from your previous job and let them know why. If you didn’t produce adequate results, were constantly late or didn’t meet your goals just be honest and let them know. The best course of action is to let them know why you were fired and then to explain what you learned from the experience. What did you learn about yourself as an employee? Employers understand that sometimes an employee and a company just don’t mesh but they certainly want to hear what you are doing to improve yourself after being fired. Be sure to elaborate on this aspect of you being fired.

One of the most important things to remember in talking about this with an employer is to avoid getting defensive about the subject. Furthermore, don’t ever try to place the blame on your past superior or the company. For starters it is a huge no-no to speak negatively of your past company, and on top of that it makes it look as though you have something to hide or are trying to shift the blame on someone else. Perhaps your old boss was a miserable tyrant that was impossible to work for. If so, you need to keep that opinion to yourself because if this employer hears you speaking ill of a past employer they will think twice about hiring you. What will stop you from speaking ill of them when you leave? At least that’s what they will ask themselves.

Talking about getting fired is an uncomfortable situation, but it’s best to face it head on with confidence. Being fired from your past job should not define you as a job seeker and approaching it this way will show employers you are not afraid to directly deal with difficult situations.

Do you have a question you need answered? Spark a conversation with the Spark Hire team by submitting your question to blog@sparkhire.com or in the comments below.

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