ob hunting is like dating – sometimes you know straight from the get-go that it’s a horrible fit, and other times it may take a few days (or months) to find out that it’s not meant to be. Just like being dumped, being fired can make you feel heartbroken and give you a fair share of baggage. It’s common for everyone to feel apprehensive about certain things on their resume, which often leads individuals to ask whether or not it is wise to lie about having been fired.
This article is not going to give you a clear-cut “yes or no,” as this is truly a personal call you have to make for yourself. Instead, it’s going to arm you with the facts and ideas to help you reach an educated conclusion on to how you’re going to answer interview questions about being fired.
How to Avoid the Question
If the job lasted a brief amount of time: Depending on the thoroughness of the interviewer, don’t automatically assume that the question of whether or not you were fired will even be brought forth to the table. The first red flag that an employer will spot is a short duration in a role; if the position on the top of your resume is anything less than a year, it signifies an unhealthy working relationship, regardless of which party initiated the departure. This will undoubtedly evoke the question of why commitment was abnormally brief.
So how do you avoid this? Remember, you don’t have to put every job that you’ve ever one on your resume. If the job lasted less than six months or demonstrates similarskills that you also exhibited in another one of your previous roles, consider striking the position from your resume entirely. Therefore, you won’t even have to lie about being fired.
If you choose this option, remember to remove the job from your LinkedIn account as well. After all, almost every supervisor and HR professional utilizes this social media platform to thoroughly dive into a candidate’s experience, so inconsistencies will raise suspicions.
If you are unemployed for a prolonged period: Being unemployed for long stretches of a time can be emotionally taxing for numerous reasons; not only are your financial insecurities rising as your savings dwindles, but you are also faced with having to explain a long period of joblessness to interviewers. Before you even think it, I must come out and say, do not even consider fabricating fake job histories. To make the months of unemployment seem a little less empty, be aggressive when finding freelance opportunities. In addition to providing some monetary assistance, you will be able to honestly detail “what you’ve been up to” since your last full-time role, and you may be able to list the individuals you’re freelancing for as references. Depending on your skill set, there are plenty of websites out there that connect private contractors to interested parties, including Elance. If you can’t find someone to pay you for your services, consider volunteering your expertise to a nonprofit close to your heart.
Ways to Gauge the Risk of Lying about Being Fired
Just like it’s smart to prepare for a whole host of different interview queries, you must have a prepared answer as to why you were fired. It’s tempting to lie. However, this is a strategy that only works if you get away with it, so consider whether or not this tactic is risky. Consider the following before you lie about being fired:
• What will your former employer say if called upon for a reference or confirmation? Don’t jump to conclusions and assume that your former supervisor will badmouth you to a new prospective employer. By providing you with a negative review, a company may be making itself vulnerable to a lawsuit, so many of them would rather confirm the dates of employment and do nothing more. It is reasonable to contact your once-boss or the HR department and inquire as to how much they would disclose if an interviewer called.
• Is your industry a “small world”? Depending on the specifics of your chosen career th, there is a chance that your former CEO may be grabbing drinks next week with your future CEO. Remember, if you’re caught lying about being fired, your overall reputation is at stake.
• Who is asking the question? It’s safe to assume than an HR professional – whose job it is to designate significant amounts of time to finding the right candidate – is going to be a lot more thorough with the background check than someone who would be your immediate supervisor. If they’re investigating whether or not you have a criminal history; having you take a drug test; or are putting you on a probational period to ensure that you use resume editor , understand that lying about being fired is especially risky.
How to Tell the Truth
Yes, telling the truth is a viable alternative to lying about being fired. Take into consideration the following points when crafting your explanation for your termination.
• Have you since corrected the injurious habit that caused you to be terminated? For arguments sake, were you fired from your last full-time role because of consistently turning work in late, but have since greatly improved your time management? If you have since obtained a part-time job or freelance gig, seek to obtain letters of recommendation that seek specifically to your punctuality and accountability.
• Were you fired for personal reasons? Your interviewer may or may not be understanding that not all employers are perfect or unbiased. Do not fall for the temptation to badmouth the person that fired you and, instead, simply explain that you did not agree with everything that went on in the environment, and that both parties understood it wasn’t a good match. If asked for details, decline “out of respect for my former employer.” If possible, produce references and letters of recommendations from coworkers and managers that you know would stand by your work output at the job you were fired from.
• Consider whether you were a victim of the greater picture. There are often circumstances that are out of your control and, if this is the case, speak up! Was a new superior brought in who was determined to hire his or her former colleagues? Was there a change in the technology used that you simply weren’t qualified to handle? These are, unfortunately, common reasons people are terminated. Don’t come across as bitter, but certainly don’t feel pressured to spin this sort of explanation.
Remember, no two interviewers are alike. It’s important to remember that, just because the individual doesn’t like your answer as to why you were fired, it doesn’t mean that the next listener will have the same reaction. Above all else, don’t get discouraged while attempting to “date” different careers, as the road to finding “the one” is almost never immediate.