How to Talk About Reasons You Were Let Go

How to Talk About Reasons You Were Let Go

As I go out and interview, how do I position the reasons that my last two jobs ended?

Great question and the good news is that you are in good company as many applicants today have moved around multiple jobs in short time spans. The bad news is that many job seekers fumble around the reason they left. Poor examples are: “Off the record, my boss was a jerk; I was fired along with others; I left to pursue my next career move; I wasn’t learning anything.” 

Rule #1: You don’t need to offer the reason you changed roles unless asked.

Interviewers look for the following: Are you self-aware, what did you learn, are you positive or negative, are you still confident?

Solution: Create a script to address a short rationale for each departure. Let’s take your examples then give others:

Instead of     “…needed to cut staff to make it attractive to investors.”

Go with:        “…mass multi-department downsizing due to business decline.”

Instead of     “I was not a good fit for the new duties.”

Go with:        “My entire department’s function was eliminated due to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) implementation.”

Other good examples: 

“Reduction in force (RIF) due to challenging financials.”

“Re-organization eliminated my team.”

“The company down-sized, like many in the industry.”

“Multiple departments were cut, including mine.”

Remember that you must have the majority of skills and experiences if you got the interview! If the company was concerned about the reason you are applying, they probably wouldn’t have granted you the interview. Shift your energy to preparing for the interview on so many levels, not just the reasons for your job dismissals. Do you have a concise answer to “tell me about yourself” or “why do you want this job?” Most interviewers blow it on the most commonly asked questions during an interview.