How to Answer Interview Questions About Termination


Workplace terminations are common and can happen to the best of us. Organizations are constantly restructuring their departments and even high performers sometimes get ‘restructured out’ since their roles fall on the chopping block. Being terminated from a job does not have to spell the end of your career. While such a situation provides a reality check, by assessing the job market and own interests, it is possible to repositioning oneself as a sought after candidate with the right skills to potential employers. The most common concern that most job seekers have is how to tackle the question of why they left their last role, in their job interviews.

Here are some tips to help you respond to this situation gracefully and to position yourself as a capable candidate.

Stay honest and simple
Every interviewer will pose a question about why you left your previous job. Stay honest and give them the real reason. Do not attempt cover ups, because most interviewers are capable of picking up on dishonesty. Additionally, interviewers and employers are more understanding that ever given today’s corporate reality that terminations are no longer viewed as a negative reflection of you. However, the reason is important. Do not disparage your previous employer. It’s always a good idea to keep your answer simple and short.

Use numbers to portray facts
It might be a good idea to back your answer with numbers. In case you’ve been laid off as a result of restructuring, chances are there are a large number of employees from your previous organization who have been laid off as well. You could throw a percentage to your answer to showcase that it was only because of restructuring and not because of your lack of capability to perform the job.

Explain how you added value
During the course of your interview, try to give examples of how you performed in that role and how you added value to the team as well as your previous organization. Be sure to emphasize on the knowledge and skill sets you possess as well as those that you developed during your previous stint. Narrate examples with the help of numbers to show profits or increase in sales, or savings through efficiencies created, that you may have been instrumental in providing.

Get references
Getting references is always a good idea. Refer to our article on tips to get your references together for your next job interview. Testimonials about you and your performance are a great boost to your profile and candidacy for the job you are interviewing. You can go about gathering references by connecting with your colleagues, customers and perhaps a person you reported to in your previous organization.

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