“Have you ever been fired from a job?” is a question often asked in interviews.
When you go to an interview for a new job, the hiring manager may ask you why you left your last job and if you’ve ever been fired. If you were fired from a job, it’s best to have a clear, concise answer ready that helps the interviewer understand what happened. If you can explain how you’ve learned from your mistakes and accepted responsibility for them, you can turn the conversation in a more positive direction.
This article explains why employers ask about past firings, how to answer the question if it comes up in a job interview, and gives a few examples that may help you answer the question.
Why potential employers want to know if you’ve ever been fired.
Employers often ask about terminations to find out what kind of worker you are and if you can stay positive even when things are tough. If you give an honest answer that shows you can learn from your mistakes, hiring managers will know you have a good work ethic.
During the last part of the interview, most employers also do background checks or call references. If you talk about being fired during your interview, you can give more details about what happened and prepare the employer for anything they might find during the checks.
How to answer, “Have you ever been fired from a job?”
When getting ready for a job interview, it helps to know how to answer this question in a way that shows off your skills. Here are some things you can do to help a future boss understand why you were fired:
1. Be honest
It’s important to be honest when you answer this question if you want to work with or for this person in the future. Give an honest answer with enough detail for the hiring manager to understand what happened. This will also help them prepare for any reference checks that might happen.
2. Keep it short and simple.
Even though you don’t need to give a lot of details, a short explanation can help the hiring manager decide if they want to hire you or not. Once you’ve told them why you’re being fired, let them know that you’ve taken full responsibility for your actions and tried to learn from them.
3. Let people know how you’re doing.
If you change the way this question is asked, you can talk about how an event has helped you grow both personally and professionally. Show your interviewer that you’ve put in the time and effort to improve. Once you’ve done that, try to switch to a more positive topic.
4. Think about what you have to offer and what is good about you.
You can stay in charge of the conversation and make a good impression by keeping your answers focused on what you can offer a potential employer. Talk about how your skills and qualifications make you feel ready to take on a new role.
5. Use the STAR technique
The STAR method is a great way to talk about why you were fired and what you learned from it. STAR stands for:
- Explain what happened when the job was taken away.
- Tell me about what you did.
- Talk about what you did to learn and grow after you were fired.
- Result: Tell what you did to reach your goal, like learning a new skill.
Use the STAR method to give the hiring manager detailed and impressive answers during the interview.
6. Practice your response
You can be more sure of your answer to this question if you practice it. Try practicing your answer in front of a mirror to get your facial expressions and hand gestures ready, or ask a friend or family member to play the role of the interviewer and give you feedback.
Answers to “Have you ever been fired from a job?”
Review the following examples to help you come up with a professional answer that explains why you were fired and shows how you’ve changed to become a better worker:
“I had trouble keeping track of my time at my last job, so I didn’t meet my monthly goals. Since then, I’ve set up a new way to get things done in my personal life that helps me stay focused on tasks so I can finish them on time. I’m excited to work in this role for your company, and I think this system will help me do well in a new place of business.”
This is a great answer because it shows that the candidate has worked hard to get better. It says that even though they lost their job because they didn’t meet their goals, they’ve made a new system that has helped them personally and, hopefully, professionally as well.
“I didn’t think about whether or not I had the skills needed for my last job before I applied. Even though I didn’t have any experience in the field, I got the job. Within a few months, it was clear that I couldn’t do the job, so I was fired. Before I decide to apply for a job, I now make sure that my skills and experience match what is expected of me.”
The interviewer is more likely to be understanding if the candidate says there were no behavior problems that led to their firing and if they admit that they just weren’t a good fit for the job based on their experience.
“After a little more than a year at my last job, the company decided that my position was no longer needed and fired me. I’m glad I had the chance to work with them because I learned a lot.”
This is a great way to answer this question if the candidate was fired through no fault of their own. Most workers know that layoffs happen sometimes and that most of the time, they can’t do anything about it.