Job Interview

You Left a Job on Bad Terms, Now What Do You Do in the Interview?

Let’s be honest. Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and neither is work. Your last job was not a great fit, and you didn’t exactly leave on the best of terms. You quit abruptly or were fired; and, after a brief “9 To 5” empowerment moment, feel a bit concerned about your future. I get it, I do. No one wants things to end negatively, but it happens often.

Here’s the good news: there is no bad news! What’s done is done, and you can now move on. Best of all, this is NOT the end of your career or of life as you know it. People leave jobs or are terminated from positions each and every day, and they still continue to thrive!

If you left your job on bad terms, and are a bit unsure about what to tell a potential employer, don’t be. Here are 3 tips to handle your interview with ease:

1.) Be Honest

You have always been told, “Honesty is the best policy,” but when it comes to an interview, “Honesty is the ONLY policy”. If you are caught lying about your previous position, it could cost you the job. This does not mean your chances of impressing a recruiter or hiring manager are slim. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Being honest, while remaining respectful, is the best way to demonstrate that you are in fact a trustworthy, dedicated employee.

2.) Be Positive

While honesty is an integral part of being able to interview well, negativity is not. It is important that you never speak poorly about your previous employer. Find a way to gently (and positively) spin the experience so that you are respectful of your former boss and company, while getting the message across. A seasoned hiring manager or recruiter will be able to read between the lines and understand the situation with great clarity. For example:

I am deeply appreciative for my time at XYZ Tech; however, there were several changes in staff, leadership, and priorities — I was concerned about the company’s stability long-term, and my ability to grow. When I realized the funding wasn’t available for the most recent project we were working on, and I wouldn’t be provided with the tools necessary to ensure the project’s success, I became increasingly concerned. My manager, Tara, made the most of the situation, but I did feel it was time to move on.

In other words: The company was not stable, there were countless changes, and I was not provided the support needed to do my job well, so – I quit!

3.) Be Comfortable

I recommend thinking of specific questions (some that may even be a little challenging) and practicing your response. Preparing your answers in advance by rehearsing them will help you feel comfortable when having these difficult conversations, rather than stumbling because you feel caught off guard.

If you are unsure how to develop your message, or are having a difficult time learning how to position yourself, give me a call. My comprehensive training program at The Job Search School will provide you with a personalized approach to help make your dream job a reality.

In the words of Helen Keller, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” So, pick your head up! By remaining honest, positive, and comfortable, you will be able to move forward in your career, and find a position that aligns well with your goals.

To a new opportunity!

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