How Do I Explain a Termination at a Job Interview?

How Do I Explain a Termination at a Job Interview?

Right up front.
The best way to deal with this uncomfortable situation at a job interview, is to address it immediately.
First of all, why were you terminated? If the company was down-sized or a product line was eliminated
or the company just went through a merger, then chances are good that your termination had nothing
to do with your performance.
The ones that are uncomfortable are terminations for cause. If you were terminated for cause, then you
do have some explaining to do and trust me, your interviewer will ask.
Now if you were terminated because you stole from the company or slugged your boss, then please stop
now. No explanation will excuse that.
But if you terminated for a performance issue, then you can get past it! Think of this as a learning
experience.
As mentioned above, one approach would be to get ahead of it. Explain right up front what happened
and what you’re doing or have done to correct the issue.
Were you habitually late for work? Then how are you going to make sure you never do that again. Were
you unable to work with a specific design software program that your job required you to know? Take a
class, learn it, and be able to demonstrate your newfound proficiency.
Or did you not get along with your boss? This one is a little more difficult. Why did you not get along
with your boss? Was it just a difference in philosophy or are you just naturally opposed to taking orders
from your superiors (especially those you don’t agree with)?
Or did you not get along with co-workers or team members. Same issue.
This is more problematic, but unless you want to be self-employed, you need to learn to work within
your employer’s policies and procedures. And yes, even those you don’t think are right. It goes with the
job, so you need to learn to deal with it.
Even if you don’t address your termination right up front, know that any good interviewer will ask about
it, so be sure you’re prepared with an answer.
Be sure and own it. Resist the impulse to blame others or point fingers or just complain about your
former job situation. Employers will not be impressed. Take ownership, admit your behavior, explain
how you have or are working on changing it and move on.
Keep it simple. Long-winded, tedious explanation will not be appreciated or effective. If you’re honest
about it and take responsibility to fix it, employers will be more open to giving you another shot.
Everyone makes mistakes. The proof is how you’ve dealt with it and learned from it.