A blessing was fired in disguise

Routes to finance

Have you been fired from your job? Don't you know what to say about that in an interview? How do you best respond to the inevitable question of why you got fired?

Asking why you quit is one of the toughest questions to answer. The loss of your job at all costs is awkward to talk about, and it is even more difficult when you are trying to explain to someone you hope will hire you.

How do I answer questions about the interview about the discharge?

The best strategy is to keep your answer short and to the point. There is no need to give a full explanation or too much detail about what happened. It is better to state the reason, and then transfer the conversation to another topic.

If you're tempted to give a reason other than get fired if you leave your job, know that your previous employer may be able to disclose the reason for your termination during a reference test. Also, keep in mind that the fact that you are dishonest during the application process could result in you not being offered a job, withdrawn, or fired should your scam is discovered.

You'll need to customize your answer to suit your own circumstances and how your termination was handled, but these sample answer examples will give you a starting point for designing your answer.

Best answers

Career specialist and writer, Joyce Lain Kennedy shares her twelve best job interviews with the question "Why were you fired?"

  • The breakup was a blessing disguise. Now I have the opportunity to explore jobs that better suit my qualifications and interests. My research suggests that such an opportunity might be the one on your table. Would you like to learn more about my skills in dealing with new technologies?
  • My skills were not what my previous employer wanted, but it looks like they will fit in well with your organization. In addition to advertising and marketing, are advertising skills also assessed?
  • Although circumstances caused me to quit my first job, I did very well in school and got on well with the students and faculty. Maybe I didn't fully understand my boss's expectations or why he fired me so quickly before I could prove myself.
  • The job didn't work, so my boss and I agreed it was time for me to move into a position that would provide better returns for both of us. So here I am ready to work.
  • After thinking about why I left, I realized that I should do some things differently. This job was a learning experience and I think I'm smarter now. I would like to have the opportunity to prove it to you.
  • A new manager came in and cleaned the house to bring in members of his old team. That was his right, but it cleared my mind to offer myself better opportunities elsewhere.
  • Certain personal issues that I have now resolved have unfortunately disrupted my work life. These problems no longer exist and I am strong and run strong to exceed expectations in my new job.
  • I wanted my career to move in a different direction and I think my mental breakup created the conditions that led to my departure. But, by contrast, the opportunity we are discussing seems to be made for me and I hope that I can eventually grow into a position of responsibility.
  • I've usually done very well with my superiors, but this case was the exception that proved my rule of good relationships. We just didn't get along well. I am not sure why.
  • My job has been outsourced to India. That's a shame because people who are familiar with my work say it's better and fairer.
  • I survived several downsizing but the last one involved me. Sign of the times, I think.
  • I was desperate for work and did the wrong job without looking around the corner. I will not make this mistake again. I would prefer an environment that is congenial, structured and team-oriented, where my best talents can shine and make a significant contribution.

Practice your reaction
Kennedy also says, "Practice what you're going to say beforehand. Then keep it short, keep it honest, and keep it moving." That way, you'll leave the sticky problem of getting fired behind you and turn to your skills and know why you qualified for the job.

Read more tips on answering interview questions about the reasons you were fired so you can respond with confidence, then come back to what makes you the best candidate for the job at hand.