Being terminated is a terrible experience in one’s professional journey. However, it does happen and it has happened to countless people in the employment marketplace. But life goes on.
The question is how do you explain a termination to a potential new employer?
There are, of course, a couple of different ways that a person’s employment can be terminated. They could be laid off for any number of reasons, including the financial state of the company. On the other hand, they could be fired for something that they did or for something of which they were accused.
Regardless of how it happened, though, it can present a challenge when you’re in the midst of a job search. And how you meet that challenge and attempt to overcome it can affect whether or not you enjoy success during your search.
Below are five steps for explaining a termination to a potential new employer:
#1—Be honest about what happened.
There’s no point in trying to be misleading. With a little digging, the hiring manager can find out what happened, anyway. And at that point, you’ll just be branding yourself as a dishonest person. So if the hiring manager is interested in you initially, they will then become disinterested in you. That’s called heading in the wrong direction.
#2—Don’t ramble on and on.
Once you start talking about what happened, you might be tempted to explain yourself. And explain yourself some more. And then maybe explain yourself a little more, just to be on the safe side. This is normal to a certain extent. However, strive to keep your comments focused and concise. You want to appear confident, not desperate or pleading.
#3—Don’t express bitterness about what happened.
Regardless of what happened at your previous employer (or how it happened), refrain from bad-mouthing anybody, including your boss or supervisor. This will only reflect poorly on you and not on anybody else. After all, the employer is considering hiring you, not your previous boss or supervisor. And if you’re bad-mouthing your former co-workers, then you might bad-mouth your future ones, too.
#4—Discuss what you learned from the situation.
You can learn something from just about any situation, and more than likely, the hiring authority is going to want to know what you learned from this situation. So be prepared to discuss it. That means actually knowing what you learned before the interview and the conversation begins.
#5—Emphasize your value.
This is the bottom line regarding the interview and your candidacy. That would be the case even if you weren’t talking about a termination. What is ultimately most important is how much value you can provide to the company if it was to hire you. That is what you should emphasize in as many different ways as you possibly can. That’s because if you can offer enough value, the organization will hire you, regardless of whether or not you were terminated at a previous employer.
The Doepker Group has experience placing professionals in the Information Technology and Engineering industries, and we can place you, as well.