I was terminated, now what?

April 2, 2012

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There may come a time in your life when you get fired from a job. Whether it is warranted or not, you will have to find a way to bounce back from it.

I’m reading a book called Rework right now, (fabulous book by the way, I highly recommend it). The chapter I just read talks about owning your bad press. As a company or business owner you will have to deal with bad press at some point. In the days of social media, I can assure you it is very hard to hide. Your clients and employees will respect you more if you are open and honest about it.

As an HR practitioner I was always impressed when an interview would tell me they were terminated and why. It shows good faith. The HR department will most likely call around and do reference checks, so why not be up front about it?

You are your own PR firm when it comes to job hunting. You are responsible for what is on your social media profile, what your references say about you, and how you portray yourself. So if you have been fired before and are interviewing here are my tips:

  • Own it. Admit it before anyone has a chance to find it out from someone else.
  • Be truthful about what happened, you don’t have to spill every single detail, but be honest.
  • If you made a mistake and have learned from that mistake, then say so!
  • If you feel the company made a bad decision and you didn’t deserve to be terminated, then word it carefully. Don’t badmouth your previous employer, take the high road and stay professional.

More than likely your interviewer will understand. Everyone has made mistakes and deserves to explain themselves. Don’t lose hope when job hunting, it can be discouraging and some employers may not take a termination lightly but honesty and endurance will pay off.

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