I’m asked this question all the time… How to prepare for a job interview after getting fired?
How do you explain yourself and answer all the tough questions they’re going to ask you?
I’m going to walk you through this step-by-step. I know it’s nerve-racking because I’ve been fired too, but once you know what to do, it’s going to be a lot less intimidating.
Let’s get started…
Okay first, you’re going to want to be upfront and have a quick, clear explanation for what happened in your last job.
Example: “I was laid off from my last position. My performance wasn’t up to par with what the company expected in the highly-competitive sales group I joined, and they let me go two months ago. I sat down after this happened and thought about what had gone wrong, and I came to the conclusion that my organization skills were holding me back in my career. I was spending too much time each day tracking different tasks and obligations, rather than making more sales calls. I’ve developed a new system to make sure this never happens again based on what I learned. I can tell you about it if you’d like to know more.”
Next, have a reason why you want to work in THEIR company
After the step above, you’ll want to quickly re-focus the conversation on your skills and how they match with this new company’s needs.
When someone is fired there’s a tendency to panic and apply to every job out there (and be willing to accept just about anything too).
Here’s the problem: Employer don’t want that. They want someone who is being careful and selective in their job search. This is something I talk a lot about in my job interview answer guide because it’s so important to show.
So after you’ve explained why you got fired and what you’ve done to make sure it NEVER happens again, pivot the conversion and show them why you want THEIR specific job.
Example: “I wanted to apply here because I’ve heard from a few colleagues that the opportunity to grow as a salesperson is tremendous because of the training and support from managers. I’m committed to growing my sales career, in fact sales is the only type of job I’m looking for. So that’s why I wanted to find out more about this specific opportunity.”
If you follow these two steps, it’s going to make a HUGE difference in how you perform in job interviews after being fired.
Getting fired is tough, I know as well as anyone because it’s happened to me. Right after Christmas.
But if I had taken this advice instead of trying to hide it and cover it up, I would have found a job much faster.
That’s why I suggest this method every time someone comes to me for help with a job interview after getting fired.
One final step: Drop a few hints to show them your job search is going well
They might ask directly how your job search is going. Sound excited. You don’t need to lie and say you have job offers (or other interviews) when you don’t. But you can say something like this:
“It’s been really good so far. I’ve been getting some great responses from companies I’ve applied to, and I’m starting to narrow down the choices and go on interviews now. It’s still early in the process… but I’m really optimistic so far.”
It’s okay to tell a white-lie, and my favorite is what I used above… saying you’re still early in the process and just starting to get some interviews.
This will help you a lot in your first few interviews after being fired… and it’s probably true (you’re just starting to talk to companies, etc.)
And if they don’t ask directly, you can still drop hints. For example, think back to Step #2 above: “have a reason why you want to work in THEIR company.”
Now after you tell them why you were interested in working in their company, you can drop a little hint that you’re in-demand by saying something like: “in fact all the companies I’m speaking with right now fit a similar mold… mid to large sized organizations known for having great sales cultures.”
You’re showing them that you know a bit about them, they fit what you’re targeting, and that you’re getting attention from other companies and you’re not desperate.
That’s it. We’ve covered the 3 most important steps in your interview after being fired.
Note: If you want more general job search help, I recommend this article on how to conduct your job search after being fired. It’s going to help you find more job leads to apply to, and get more interviews.