Have You Ever Been Fired?

Job Interview Question & Answer: Have You Ever Been Asked to Leave a Job?

Common Formats

When looking at resumes, employers often notice the end dates of past jobs and inquire about reasons for leaving. Specific questions like, “Have you ever been asked to leave a position?” or “Have you ever been fired?” come up regularly. Even the best workers get terminated. Reasons range from overstaffing and budget cuts to behavioral infractions and lack of production on the job. Sometimes employers believe positions no longer serve tenable functions and simply eliminate the posts. Changes in industry trends and innovations in the field provide ample reasons why employers get rid of existing positions.

Approaching The Question

Workers who never experienced termination in the past may simply respond “No” and the interview should move on. Applicants asked to leave previous jobs, for whatever reasons, should remain positive when responding and focus on the specific details of leaving. Refrain from any kind of negative talk about past employers, coworkers, or the mitigating circumstances. Focus on positive steps made since the termination and any lessons in professionalism learned as a result. Some terminations may not result from inappropriate behavior or poor work performance. Reviewing the reasons why an employer decided to move on may make explaining the circumstances easier and take the pressure off of saying the right thing as opposed to the truth. Hiring mangers roundly respect applicants coming forward about reasons for termination far more than avoiding the question.

One user comment:

  1. Connie

    How could anyone answer this question without hurting their chances for the position? How can we get around this question, and still be honest with them?


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