Have You Ever Been Fired?

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

Reason for the Question

During a job interview, a manager might ask, “Have you ever been let go from a company?” to better understand your work history. Interviewers can learn quite a bit about a candidate based on how they left previous positions. Supervisors also want to know whether the firing resulted from your actions or company overstaffing and budget cuts.

How to Respond

This can be a challenging job interview question to answer, and not preparing a response ahead of time can negatively impact a manager’s view of you. If you have been fired, answer honestly and without making excuses. Face the question head-on with a detailed explanation of the circumstances that led to you losing your job.

Responses to Avoid

If you encounter a question like, “Have you ever been asked to leave a position?” avoid answering defensively or placing blame on another person. Additionally, refusing to answer the question or becoming agitated and upset can harm your chances of getting the job.

Sample Responses to “Have You Ever Been Fired?”

It’s important to prepare your answer to this interview question ahead of time, so take a few moments to think about what you’ll say. Use the following sample responses as a guide to help develop a thoughtful, effective reply:

Sample Answer 1 – Furniture Store Sales Associate

“I was let go from a previous job due to a financial error I made. A young couple came in shopping for a new living room set, and I helped them. When I rang them out, I accidentally used the wrong barcode, which cost the company money. I completely understand why I was terminated, and I’ve made it a point since then always to double-check transactions carefully.”

Sample Answer 2 – Movie Theater Usher

“The cinema I used to work for had to lay off most of the staff due to the economy. I was among those who were let go. A lot of great people lost their jobs, and the manager felt terrible about it. We understood that it was out of his control, and everyone was just thankful the business didn’t have to close its doors.”

Sample Answer 3 – Cafe Barista

“My first job was at a busy cafe. I did fine during my training, but once I was out on my own, I started having trouble. I would feel overwhelmed and mixed up customer orders. After a few warnings, I was let go. My manager told me that I needed more experience working in a busy environment. Since then, I’ve had multiple fast-paced jobs and now feel very comfortable in any situation.”

Things to Keep in Mind

Your response to the job interview question, “Have you ever been terminated from a job?” should focus on what you’ve learned as a result of the situation. Be honest about your job loss and show the hiring manager the positive changes you’ve made to become a better employee.

Similar Questions Employers Will Ask


  • Connie says:

    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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