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  1. Career Advice
  2. Interviewing
  3. How to explain being fired in an interview. Plus, discover our 4 examples!
How to explain being fired in an interview. Plus, discover our 4 examples!
Holly Skaggs

Holly Skaggs

How to explain being fired in an interview. Plus, discover our 4 examples!

Artwork by: Stas Podgornov

  • Will getting fired ruin my career?
  • Do I have to reveal that I was fired?
  • How to professionally explain why you were fired
  • Examples of how to explain being fired in an interview 
  • Key takeaways

If you’ve been fired, you’re dealing with the disappointment of losing your job, but you need to find a way to move forward with your career. In this article, we’ll teach you how to explain to employers why you were fired as you search for a new job.

If you’ve ever been fired, explaining the situation in an interview can be delicate. It will be up to you to convince a hiring manager that you’re a reliable candidate for a position. This article will cover some examples of what you can say when asked about the situation that led to you losing your job.

We’ll cover the following topics:

  • Will getting fired ruin your career?

  • Do I have to reveal that I was fired?

  • How to professionally explain why you were fired

  • Examples of how to explain being fired in an interview 

Will getting fired ruin my career?

While you may think that getting fired will ruin your career, experts say that’s far from the truth. Some even believe it could help boost your career.

Statistical Insight

Of 2,600 executives interviewed by Harvard Business Review, 45 percent had suffered a major career setback, like being fired. However, 78 percent of those executives went on to become CEOs at another company.

There are some things you can do to make sure being fired does not harm your career. Here are three steps you can take:

1. Learn from the experience. After you’ve been fired, reflect on what happened and what caused you to lose your job so that you can prevent it in the future. 

2. Adjust your resume. Include the dates you were employed, the company name, your position, and your responsibilities in your resume, but don’t refer to being fired. Waiting until the interview to disclose this information (if asked) allows you the opportunity to explain the situation.

3. Never speak poorly of a past employer. Avoid talking negatively about a past employer, especially during an interview. You should always be diplomatic when answering questions about past employers and never bash the company that fired you.

Do I have to reveal that I was fired?

If asked, yes. It can be tempting to avoid telling a potential employer that you have been fired, but this is not advisable. Employers will eventually find out about the firing when they verify your past work experience or run a background check.

Allowing potential employers to learn about a job you’ve been fired from on their own can ruin your chances for getting a job. Be honest about being fired so that you can explain what happened and what changes you have made to make sure you are the best employee.

How to professionally explain why you were fired

It’s unlikely that you will be able to escape the question regarding why you left your past position in an interview. A potential employer will want to determine whether you’re a reliable employee, which includes discovering as much about your work history as possible. Here’s how to explain being fired in an interview.

Stay positive

Instead of being negative about being fired, focus on keeping a positive attitude during an interview. Emphasize what you learned from being fired and how the experience helped you build your skills.

Give some details

Provide the interviewer with some details regarding why you were fired. Having some context about what led to you being fired can help a potential employer feel more comfortable about hiring you. However, remain professional and avoid disclosing confidential or negative information about your past employer.

Talk about your accomplishments

Along with briefly explaining why you were fired, be sure to tell an interviewer about the accomplishments you had while you were employed. Explain how those accomplishments will help you in the position you want. You can also use this time to highlight your references and show enthusiasm for the new work opportunity.

Examples of how to explain being fired in an interview 

Now that we’ve taken a look at how to explain being fired in an interview, let’s check out some examples. You can use these examples to customize your answer to the question, “Why did you leave your last job?”

How to explain being fired for misconduct

“I was let go from my previous job because I was unable to adhere to the attendance policy. Since that time, I have been able to secure reliable transportation and am more cognizant of the importance of being at work consistently and on time. I have developed a time-management strategy to ensure I do not have attendance issues any longer.”

How to explain being fired for personality conflict

“My previous employer and I had different opinions about how to complete tasks. This led to multiple disagreements, and it was ultimately decided that we would not be able to work out our differences. Since I was fired, I have developed strategies that will help me better work with those who might not have the same opinions that I do.”

How to explain being fired for not being a good fit

“I was let go from my previous position because I wasn’t able to learn how to complete my tasks as quickly as needed. I was spending time daily with peers and managers to learn the systems and tasks and was progressing rapidly. However, it was determined that I wouldn’t be able to learn what I needed to learn quickly enough.”

How to explain being fired for no reason

“Unfortunately, I was not given a reason for being fired, but I have been reflecting on the situation and have developed strategies to help ensure I am the best employee I can be for my future employer. I learned a lot in my past role and have achieved many things that will be transferable to this position.”

Regardless of the reason you were fired from your previous position, we are here to help ensure you have the best opportunities to find a great new position. Stop by our website’s Interview Prep section to see how we can help you prepare for your interview.

Key takeaways

  1. Many people have been fired but are able to bounce back and get a new job by making a plan for moving forward.

  2. It’s never a good idea to lie about being fired because a potential employer will likely find the truth.

  3. When telling an interviewer why you were fired, stay positive, focus on your accomplishments, and briefly share some details about what happened.

Holly Skaggs

Holly Skaggs

Holly is a writer and editor based in Oklahoma. She specializes in social media, small business, and human resources content. She has previously written for a collection of country music media outlets, including Wide Open Country. Holly loves writing cozy mysteries and fantasy stories. She is the proud pet-parent of two dachshunds who are forever taking over all the blankets and pillows.

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