When you're switching jobs, whether you're laid off or simply making a career change, a very common question you'll have to answer is your reason for leaving the job. You'll hear it at most stages of the job interview process, as well as from your friends and family. Putting in your two weeks notice will also most likely trigger your boss to ask why you're leaving, either directly or through an exit interview.
While you might think it'll be easy to speak truthfully and professionally to the question, it's one you want to rehearse and work out your phrasing ahead of time in order to cast yourself in a positive light — which is essential if you're on the job hunt, and if you want to leave your current job on a good note. It takes tact, and sometimes, a bit of wordsmithing for the most appropriate response.
Luckily, we've compiled the best answers for you to tailor to your situation.
You absolutely should be honest about losing your job as most companies will call references and find out the truth eventually (and you don't ever want to get caught in a lie!).
That means when asked, you can give one of these simple, acceptable explanations (and that should be sufficient for most interviewers):
The key to answering why you were fired without making yourself look bad is to be honest but brief, and end on a positive note; that means explaining what you learned and how you've grown from the experience. It may be simply that you realized you'll no longer work in a certain industry or role again.
For example, you could say:
"I was fired from the position of sales development representative when I failed to reach my assigned quarterly quota. What I learned from that role is cold calling and sales are not my strengths; I'm much more passionate and skilled at [insert requirement from job description] which is what led me to apply to this company."
Of course, one (or more) of those answers might be the honest truth about your situation, but it won't reflect well on you to say that. You'll likely sound immature and unprofessional from the interviewer's perspective. And, believe it or not, most people have worked in those same situations at some point of their lives; while you might think that the inteviewer would be sympathetic to your situation, most people see it as complaining — whether that's right or wrong.
So, to go with an old adage, less is often more. What you say or don't say can insinuate the truth, such as "the work-life balance wasn't conducive to my best work." An interviewer reading between the lines can probably pick up that it was a high-intensity environment, or possibly toxic.
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