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T is for Termination: Why Were You Fired Job Interview Question


The only thing worse than being fired from a job is being asked about it in a job interview. How do you answer such a sensitive, awkward, and frankly, an embarrassing question? What’s the best way to respond to this question without scaring off the hiring manager?

Certainly, being asked about your termination is one of the most difficult interview questions to answer. Here’s the best way to answer this difficult question.

Keep it short and sweet

The best way to answer this question is to get right to the point. There is no need for a lengthy and detailed explanation. The best strategy is to state the reason for termination and move on.

Directly answer the question and keep the conversation moving forward. Here is an example of how to quickly answer this awkward question without rambling on:

“The job wasn’t working out, so my boss and I agreed that I needed to move on to a position that would be a better fit for both of us. So here I am, ready to work.”

Be honest (without sharing too many details)

The absolute worst thing you can do if you find yourself in this position is to lie. If a previous employer fired you, the hiring manager or HR will likely call your past employer to get more information.

Answering dishonestly during the interview results in application decline, job offer withdrawal, or worse, termination. If your employer discovers the deception, there may be negative consequences.

Likewise, avoid sharing too much information about your termination. You don’t need to share every detail about why they fired you.

In short, unless asked on your application or during your job interview, you don’t need to mention your termination.

Never bad mouth your ex-boss or company

Don’t play the name-game. Pointing fingers at a previous employer or boss will ruin your credibility, and quite frankly, it’s unprofessional. Don’t blame your termination completely on your former employer without accepting any personal responsibility.

Do yourself a favor. If asked about your termination, at least comment on how the job role or organization wasn’t a great fit.


Overall, owning up to your termination will build trust and respect with your prospective employer!

Keep in mind that many people get fired at some point in their careers. Just move past it. Above all, if you find yourself in this situation, prepare your answer in advance, follow these tips, and practice your response!

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