Have You Ever Been Fired

How to Answer Interview Question: Have You Ever Been Fired?

Guide on how to answer the interview question: Have you ever been fired and what were the circumstances?

During an interview, an employer might be interested in learning about your previous work experiences. The question concerning how you left your last place of work may come up. The interviewer might want to know if you have ever been fired in one of your previous workplaces The term fired is very much different from being let go. Fired is a legal word used when an employer decides to terminate an employee’s contract because of inappropriate behavior, actions, or decisions.  Some of the reasons an employee can be fired include Serious misconduct such as theft, assault, dishonesty, habitual Neglect of duty, and willful disobedience of the employer’s order. This can be one of the most dreaded and uncomfortable questions to answer during an interview. But remember you hold the mantle, it is not the story that will be your doom, how you tell the story will determine a lot. Depending on your storytelling power you can explain a past stumble in a positive light and show that you are capable of filling the role.


Why does an employer ask this question?

The question “have you ever been fired” is not a regular interview question, so when it’s thrown at any answer cramming candidate it shakes you up a bit. If you have never been fired before then you simply say No. But if you have been in this situation and you are probably wondering why an employer would be bothered about the state you left your former workplace, then read further to get an insight. Even though answering yes to this question is a red flag to an employer, it is not a dead end. The employer wants to know the events that led to the termination of the employee. They want to know how the employee coped with the situation, the employee’s ability to take responsibility for his actions, whether he learned from his mistakes, and how much he has improved since then. Through the employee’s answer, the interviewer will assess the candidate’s personality and decide whether it will be a good idea to hire the candidate. The employer wants to make sure that whatever happened in your place of work, will not occur in his company. No company wants to hire a bag load of trouble, that they will have to fire at the end of the day. The recruitment process consumes a lot of time and money, most employers might not want to gamble it away on employees that will not change the order of things in the company.


Tips on how to answer the question” Have You Ever Been Fired Before?”

Answer the question truthfully

The importance of being truthful in an interview process should never be underrated. Most of these interviewers are skilled in the art and can easily catch up with your lies. In addition, this particular question is verifiable, just one call to your former employer and your entire ship starts sinking. It is of no good use to lie. Being fired can be humiliating and embarrassing but do not let fear of being blacklisted rule you.   You feel that you will never get another opportunity, but remember not all employers are insensitive.

Control your emotions

Even though a termination process can be painful and heartbreaking, try to keep your emotions in check when it is mentioned in an interview. A question like that can bring back the memories of all that happened but do not let your emotions get a better part of you. Do not give off a wrong facial or body expression, that will make the interviewer perceive you as a violent person. Mind your words while explaining the situation that led to the termination of your contract.

Keep it simple

Most employers view applicants who have been previously fired in a different scope. Therefore, this is not the time to flex your mouth and tell the story like a little child that has been gifted a Christmas gift. Try and keep it as simple as possible while being truthful. You are not obligated to tell the interviewer the full details of what happened. Unless the interviewer asks for more details, please give basic information


Be positive

Be mindful of what you say and how you say it. In an attempt to redeem yourself, do not paint your former employer black. Avoid any negative talk about your former company or employer. The interviewer is looking noting down everything you say. The interviewer might want to know the kind of energy you will bring to the team. If you have a negative aura, the interviewer might not want to include you in his team.

Accept responsibility

Be courageous enough to own up to your mistakes, do not point fingers. Personally analyze the situation that led to your dismissal and decide if you are wrong or right. The truth is that companies mostly terminate employees for reasons that can be documented or defended. In a case that is obvious that you are wrong, accept the fact and take responsibility for your actions. The interviewer understands that you have erred, but he wants to know if you are remorseful about your actions.

Redemption & personal growth

You can also use the opportunity to explain how the termination changed your view about work performance and how much you have grown since then.  It is popularly said that “Experience is the best teacher”, make the interviewer understand how this personal experience has taught you a lot and also improved your personality. Describe steps you have taken to prevent such issues from reoccurring.

Practice an answer before the interview

When preparation meets opportunity success is inevitable. It is not every day that you will get the chance to be interviewed for a specific rule in a particular company. Plus, there are thousands of other candidates outside the door waiting to be called in after you, so do not waste a golden opportunity by lack of preparation. Practice as many questions as possible and if you have been terminated before, let this question be no 1 on your list.


Sample Answers To Why Were You Fired

Unmatched skillset

The reason why I was let go in my previous place of work is that the skillset required for the role was a bit different from the skill and experience I had to deliver. Even though it was the role of a sales personnel, I noticed I was better at controlling the pharmaceutical market rather than the beverage market which was what my last company was into. I assumed the role with the hope that I could influence the beverage market using the same strategies I used in the pharmaceutical company I worked for. I increased the productivity level to about 25%, but we decided to part ways when an expert in the field came into play. This was the best decision for both parties, I get to do what am most conversant with while the company reaches its maximum potential through the skills of an expert. This is why I have applied to this role in this company, I believe that I can move his pharmaceutical company to its greatest height using my specialized knowledge skills, and experience in the pharmaceutical field.

Why it works

This example works perfectly well because

1) The employee did not belittle her skills, she only identified that the skills she had is not a good fit for a beverage company

2)  She was able to sell herself to the new pharmaceutical company. She made the interviewer understand that she is well-grounded in the pharmaceutical market, which is the company’s focus market

3) She did not tarnish the image of the former employer.


Example 2 Work-Life balance

The months before I was dismissed were the lowest point of my life. I had a personal issue I was struggling with that I was too ashamed to communicate with the management. My performance was dropping and I made some bad decisions that lowered the productivity of the company. I understand the decision the company had to make. These past few months, I have been able to straighten the issues that interfered with my job performance. I have learned a lot from this experience and if granted the opportunity I believe I will be onboarding with greater potential.


Why this works

The employee accepted the fact that she was wrong. She took responsibility and tried to straighten the crooked way. Most importantly she presented the fact that she was able to go through a difficult situation and came out stronger.

Interview Questions

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