(function() { var cookie = 'rebelmouse_abtests='; cookie += '; Max-Age=0'; document.cookie = cookie + '; Path=/; SameSite=None; Secure'; })();

Job seekers often struggle with a termination. Take this example: “I've been working in the construction industry. Since the housing bust, business has dramatically declined. Recently, I had a disagreement with a co-worker and got fired over this trivial thing I never would have gotten fired for five years ago. What do I say about this?"

This client is not alone. We've all had positions that didn't go as well as we had hoped. It could have been the company culture, maybe a lack of support made a job difficult, or it could have been something we did. Whatever the reason, it's a tricky thing to talk about in an interview, especially if your interviewer has insider information about the situation. If you are in leadership, you have to be prepared. Your target company might be getting insider information through their networks. You have to assume they know something about what happened in your last role. The interviewer's job is to get you to reveal errors in judgment or performance – things they can use to weed you out so they can move on to the next candidate. Will you be “totally honest?" Show negativity or resentment? Be so nervous that you look like you're hiding something?

Answering, 'Have You Ever Been Fired?'

The ideas in this article will help you to avoid those mistakes, and will boost your confidence level dramatically. The best strategy to answering to “Have you ever been fired?" in an interview, is to prepare yourself, acknowledge the situation, and move on. Quickly. Here's where to start:

Process Your Thoughts

In order to talk about what happened calmly, you need to examine the details of what occurred. Write down exactly what transpired, introspectively acknowledging your part in the events that led up to being let go. Perhaps the firing really was unfair, but to answer this question in an interview well, you need to take the time to process the events so that it doesn't frazzle you when the question is asked. To best prepare, deal with what makes you nervous before you go in. Wrestling with your darkest employment demons IN an interview will leave you sweating and stumbling over your words. In order not to blow it, be honest with yourself on paper about what happened, what your fears are, and talk things over with a friend. Then, make peace with yourself, and move on.

Talk To Your References

Talk to the people who are in your corner. Ask them what they will talk about if they are called by your target employer. Make sure they have a copy of your resume so that they can have a detailed reminder of your accomplishments. Next, and this may be a hard one, but call the employer that let you go. Talk to your superior, and acknowledge your role in the termination. State that you have learned from the experience and that you hope to be more successful in your next position. Remind him that you are still looking for work, and ask what he might say about you if he were contacted. This strategy takes a lot of guts, and it will speak directly to your ability to self-assess, make amends, and strive for improvement. Plus, it diminishes the chances of your previous employer bashing you to the new one.

Show How You Have Grown From The Experience

Determine what can you say to put a positive spin on things. What will make you look more desirable? Perhaps you should have realized sooner that the position was not a good match for your talents. Should have communicated better? Delegated more of your responsibilities? Think through how your firing has actually turned you into a better leader. Focus on that when developing your answer.

Script Your Answer

To give the most confident response, you will need to write out what you are going to say and rehearse it. Here is a script you can modify with your details to get you through this question and onto the things you really want to talk about — your successes. “I really enjoyed my work at the ABC Company and gained valuable experience from working there. I was able to improve sales and customer service. I developed a great team through my new hiring initiatives. It's unfortunate that things didn't work out because I enjoyed the work. But, I learned that to really be successful, I have to delegate more to my team. So, I took an online course on personality type so that I can better analyze what others' preferences might be. I know I'll put that to use. That is what attracted me to your company, you value…" Then, turn the conversation back toward the new position and how your abilities match what is needed. Of, course, if they don't bring it up, you don't need to volunteer that you were let go. And, NEVER lie or speak negatively about your previous boss, co-workers, or company. Keep it positive and move it toward how it makes you a better candidate today. This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Related Posts

How To Create An Effective Resume Even If You Were Fired Got FIRED: How To Explain It To Potential Employers

About the author

Kristin S. Johnson is a TORI award-winning, 6-times certified resume writer, job search coach, and social media consultant. Her approach is cutting-edge, creative, and kind. As owner of Profession Direction, LLC, she works with professionals and aspiring executives across the country. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert.
Learn how to land a career you love

Everyone needs to feel their voice is heard and their contributions are important. Something as simple as sharing a drink the last hour of the day on a Friday with the team to recap wins and give praise can build camaraderie within the team.

All of the above are fairly simple to implement but can make a huge difference in morale and motivation. Have any of these tips worked well for young the past? Do you have other tips to motivate your creative team? If so, please share them with me!

Encourage curiosity. Spark debate. Stimulate creativity and your team will be better at handling challenges with flexibility and resourcefulness. Create a safe space for ideas, all ideas, to be heard. In ideation, we need the weird and off-the-wall ideas to spur us on to push through to the great ideas.

Sure, there are a ton of studies done on this, but here is my very unscientific personal take. When team members can make decisions about how they work on projects, they are more engaged and connected to the project outcome. When they see how potentially dropping the ball would affect the entire team, they step up. When they feel like what they are doing is impactful and valued, they are naturally motivated to learn more, and be even better team members.

Rarely does a one-size-fits-all style work when it comes to team motivation. I have found that aligning employee goals with organization goals works well. Taking time to get to know everyone on your team is invaluable. What parts of their job do they love? What do they not enjoy? What skills do they want to learn? Even going so far as to where they see themselves in five years career-wise. These questions help you right-fit projects, and help your team see you are committed to creating a career path for them within the company.

Most designers I know love a good challenge. We are problem solvers by nature. Consistently give yourself and your team small challenges, both design-related and not. It will promote openness within the team to collaborate, and it will help generate ideas faster in the long run. Whether the challenge is to find a more exciting way to present an idea to stakeholders or fitting a new tool into the budget, make it a challenge just to shake things up.