Choose your Words Carefully!

HiResWhen you are looking for your next career position, remember the four important words above.  What you say will be remembered for a long, long time.

If you were laid off from a previous position and it was not for performance, then be very careful how you answer the question “Were you ever fired?” or “Why did you leave your last position?”.  No matter what you say after the words “I was fired”, the interviewer has deep-sixed your chances for employment with that company.  If you had a disagreement with your supervisor, inherited a new supervisor who brought their own team or your boss was capricious (always looking for a reason to make life miserable for someone), then how you answer

1) Were you fired?

2) Why did you leave your last position?

will be crucial to a successful career search.  If you’re moaning about political correctness, yes that’s what I’m talking about.  The world of work involves politics, positioning and verbally painting the right picture for future success.

 Suggested answers to “Were you fired?” and/or “Why did you leave your last position?”

1)      I have not lost a job due to poor performance.  As my resume reflects, my department made significant contributions to the bottom line profitability of the company.

2)      My previous boss had a history of unusual personnel decisions.  I did not know that at the time I went to work for him/her.  Having said that, I feel good about the contributions, documented in my résumé, that I made while I was there.

3)      It was a mutual decision for me to leave the company.  Two of my co-workers are references.

4)      When the new manager came on board, he very quickly made the necessary adjustments to bring on his own team.  I was caught in the restructuring.

5)      In looking back, I realize there was a misunderstanding with my boss which I did not pick up on at the time.  I have learned from that experience.

For some of you reading this article, I can hear you say “Yes, but you don’t know who I worked for”.  No I don’t, but in my 20+ years as a career adviser, I have had clients who were sure their previous bosses were direct descendants of Hitler or Attila the Hun.  I know there are bad bosses in today’s workforce.  I also know each of us, at some time, has tripped up in our career because we didn’t take the time to stop and think either before we acted or before we opened our mouth.  Learning from those experiences and re-framing your answer to either question above will move you forward in the hiring process.

 Don’t get discouraged, don’t give up and don’t tell all!!!

Career Advice, Interviewing, Recruiting

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