How to Handle an Interview If You’ve Been Fired.

You’ve heard the cliche, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Just because you’ve lost one job doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t get another. Your presentation and focus is what makes the difference in getting the offer or decline. If you make the fact that you were fired an issue (lemons), then it will be.

While employers are very concerned about your ethical behavior, they want to see you as a solution-provider, thinker, achiever. Hiring managers want to know how you will benefit them if they hire you. It doesn’t matter if you make fries at McDonald’s or are the Sr. Accounting Director for fortune 500, you are not the consecutive sum of your jobs and responsibilities.

You are, however, what you achieve. Your achievements speak volumes about who you are and what you can do. If it’s fries and you were able to reduce customer wait time by 1 minute through effective management of cook times or as Sr. Director you saved the company $500k in expenses through monthly supply audits creating a recycle program, communicate this. Focus on the positives of a not-so-good circumstance if you’ve been fired (lemonade).

I was thinking about this topic and began surfing the groups on LinkedIn. I found a discussion about how to handle the interview when you’ve been fired from your last job. I posted a comment and got some great feedback from group members. I thought I should expand on the advice I had to offer. Here is my snippet of my post about how to respond when asked about getting fired from your last job:

First, if they don’t ask about whether you were fired, don’t bring it up. However, if asked, be honest always. Recruiters are smart and can snuff out a lie a mile away.

Second, remove any resentment or emotion. Never discuss any legal action currently in process or your feelings towards the former employer.

Third and most important, take the focus off the termination by answering the question in the PARS format. Make lemonade!

PROBLEM: State the problem (what)

ACTION: what was the action (termination)

RESOLUTION: what is your resolution (your action plan to correct the reason for the termination – training, behavior modification, counseling, etc)

SOLUTION: communicate your value statement (how you have learned/changed and how valuable you are focusing on your skills, accomplishments, and achievements).

Everyone deserves a second chance and focusing on the positive will bring greater light to your value.

For interviewing and resume HELP, contact Ms. Resume Help at (305) 791-6965 or


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