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How to Answer the Question “Have You Ever Been Fired”?


“It can be liberating to get fired because you realize the world doesn’t end. There are other ways to make money, better jobs.” – Ron Livingston

In a highly competitive job market that goes through a lot of ups and downs, getting fired has become highly probable.

Be it a publishing house or a finance firm, a manufacturing establishment or a multinational consultancy dealing with clients all around the globe, an employee is always influenced by the stigma of getting fired.

being firedSo, what do you do if you lose your job?

Of course, you have to move on. You start applying for new ones and schedule job interviews with hiring managers.

But , what if the employer asks you why did it happen? or “Have you ever been fired?”

What is the right way to go about your answer?

“Since the job’s inception, my boss and I were at odds. We just had different ways to go about the tasks assigned. He was habitual to disagreeing with me and used to snap whenever he could. I don’t usually have a problem with bosses, but he was really unbearable”

That’s how Janine explained being fired from her previous job. Obviously, this was not the best way to present the situation.

The appropriate way of answering the question has to include and build on some essentials which will be elucidated in the following discussion.

Keep calm and organize all your thoughts:

Things to consider This is the first step towards keeping a balanced approach and answering the question in the most appropriate way.

Calmly revisit and examine the details of the events that occurred. Write down what exactly happened and introspectively acknowledge your role in the events that led to the situation at present.

Maybe the firing was an unjust decision, but you need to lay down every minute detail in order to answer the question well.

Deal with things that might make you nervous, before you enter the interviewing room. It’s high time that you wrestle with your demons and avert any uncomfortable situation in front of the employer.

Ask for Guidance and Start Talking to Your Network:

This is the right time to make use of your professional network for some good. Talk to the people with expertise and ask them the responses they would make if called by our target employer. Forward a copy of your Resume for them to help you out accordingly.

The next step may seem onerous, but call your previous employer who fired you. With a polite approach acknowledge your part in the termination.

Mention that you’ve learned from the experience and hope to avoid the mistakes in your career ahead.

Convey the fact that you are still looking for work and ask him about his possible reply, in case any employer contacts him regarding you.

Explain What you’ve Learned and How you’ve Grown:

As soon as the question crops up, there is a dire necessity to put a positive spin on it. Think about things that will make you appear as a desirable candidate.

Perhaps you should have discerned that the profile was not the right match for your skills or you should have communicated better.

Think how the firing has transformed you into an efficient leader and develop your answer accordingly.

Jot Everything Down!:

jot down An impeccable answer is usually preceded by a well scripted draft and that is what you require at present.

To stay confident while answering, you need to write down the answer and rehearse it well.

You can have a look at the draft given below and modify it according to your details and requirements.

“It was a great experience working at the XYZ company and i gained valuable intellect from my colleagues there. I worked in the marketing department and brought together a team full of efficient employees. Although, things didn’t work out the way I planned them to be, but I’ve learned from my mistakes. There were flaws in my ABC capabilities. So I took the necessary guidance from experts and worked on them. I’m sure I’ll put them to use and achieve the desired results”

This can be followed by a brief discussion about your abilities and how they suit just right for the profile you have applied for.

Whatever the case may be, remember never to speak ill of your previous boss, because that is a thing no employer would find acceptable.

Being negative will not only dilute your chances of selection but may also lead the employer to form a low opinion regarding you.

So by now things like, what to do and what not to do, how to go about it and how not to go about it, would be crystal clear in your mind.

Remember, that its just another question you need to answer . All that you require, is to stay motivated and give your best shot.

Author Bio: Anshuman Kukreti is a professional writer and a keen follower of the global job market. An engineer by qualification and an artist at heart, he writes on various topics relating to employment across the globe. Currently he is working for Naukrigulf