So You’ve Been Fired!

Posted in News
Tue, Feb 17 - 10:51 am EDT | 9 years ago by
Comments: 175
Be Sociable, Share!
Use Arrow Keys (← →) to Browse

So, You’ve Been Fired is by far the most popular post I have written here at Interview Chatter over the last two years. I still respond to comments weekly. Which is why I am reposting it today. I want to hear from you. If you have recently been fired from your job and you don’t know what to do. I invite you to take a look at this post, read through the comments. You are in good company. If you have questions, again, scroll down and leave your question. I am looking for some stories. I would like to hear what happened, and what your current status is. Has it been a challenge to find employment after being fired? Are you getting interviews? How is your job search going? If you are willing to share your story, please scroll down and leave a comment or send me an email at I look forward to hearing from you!


Termination for cause is a serious concern for any hiring manager. If you have been fired from a job, do not lie about it or attempt to make excuses, justifications or blame others. Honesty and humility are the greatest qualities that you can employ to help you navigate through this very difficult question in the interview. If you have not invested any time preparing how you want to answer this question, you may find yourself hoping they hire you rather than communicating why you are the best candidate for the job. This question can help you score big in the interview or it can kill you! When they ask, “have you ever been terminated from a job?” If the answer is “YES”, than be honest, tell the truth – “yes, I have been fired.” Don’t leave that statement dangling out there. Follow it up with something like “But I have learned so much from my mistake.” This is an accountability statement. No blame, no long story. In other words you are going to admit you have been terminated. You do not need to tell all of the gory details and most hiring managers are not going to want to hear about all of the gory details. They are more interested in determining whether you have grown from your experience or are you going to bring mess into their organization. It doesn’t matter who did what or who said what to whom.

Give a quick summary of what you did and the lessons you learned. It is your responsibility to communicate what you have learned and to give them peace of mind – That you will not make the same mistake twice.

Image Credit:

Powered by Qumana

Use Arrow Keys (← →) to Browse

Be Sociable, Share!

Related Posts

  • Lisa

    Yes, I was working at this job it was a time-share company and this manager did not like me for anything because she was afraid that I was getting a lot of attentions from the CEO directors and she felt that I was a threat to her and she went ahead and fired me without her telling me but she let the other administration office do her dirty work to terminate me because she couldnt face me.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for visting Interview Chatter. I am sorry to hear about your termination. Are you currently working? Were you able to get a job after leaving the organization?

  • debra

    How do you explain to an employer that you were unjustly terminated–meaning your termination involved retaliation, sex discrimination, race discrimination, etc.? On the one hand, it seems to raise a red flag to the employer. with the interviewer probably thinking, “Hmm…if I hire this person, is he/she going to sue me for the same thing?” But on the other hand, if your termination really did involve actionable discrimination, what are you supposed to say?

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Debra – Thanks for visiting Interview Chatter. You ask a very good question and rather than trying to answer it in a quick comment, I would like to take some time and put together an answer for you as a post. I am sorry that you went through the issue or experience. I do believe you can get another job and still be very honest about what happened in the previous situation.

    I should be able to have a good answer for you later tonight. I work during the day, but I want to take my time, because your question is very real. I can feel your concern in your question. Check back later tonight or early tomorrow. I will also send it to you in an email. Please let me know what you think once you get my response.

  • Pingback: How to Explain Unjust Termination Part 2

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Debra – Here is my response to your comment earlier today. Please feel free to ask any additional questions you may have about this topic or any other.

  • Drew Williams

    The problem I’m having is that question is asked on the application, usually an online one, and you are screened out automatically. Do I answer “no” so I can get an interview and then explain everything then? I will have already been dishonest but I have to answer question or I won’t be able to finish application?

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Drew, First, thanks for visiting Interview Chatter. I look to hearing from you as often as you would like to comment.

    You ask a great question. My first response and recommendation is “no”, you never want to lie on the application. It is a legal document and they can and will use it against you if they find out you have been dishonest in any way. That being said, how do you get past the obstacle of answering yes to the question of “have you been fired?” I want to send you a note off line. I will attempt to send one to the email address you included. Let me ask you a few questions. And then if you are open to it, I would like to formulate a post around the question you ask. I know you are not the only person experiencing this “speed bump”. Thanks for asking a great question!

  • Kathleen Riley

    I have the same question as Drew. I would never lie on an application, but I was also fired unjustly, and it’s hard to know how to put this on an application without sounding defensive or sounding like a “cry-baby”. The fear here is that the prospective employer will look at the reason for leaving – “termination” – and toss the application in the waste basket. How can a person – who did nothing wrong – write “let go” on an app and still project the image that she will be a good employee?

  • Melissa Kufner

    I have the same concern as Kathleen. I let go from my job for “not the right fit” recently. I am very concerned on how this will look on the job application. As a person in management, I normally reveiwed resumes, not a formal job application, but now so many postions require an on-line submission that I’m not sure how to handle it. I do not feel comfortable including this information in a coversheet or in the body of an attached resume. Would it be better to contact the employer directly and e-mail or fax just the resume directly to the HR department?

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Kathleen and Melissa, as a result of your questions, I will be posting about this topic over the weekend. A short answer in the mean time – One of the things I have learned recently, is that you do not need to say you were fired on an application. Typically, the applications could be screened out, something Drew was experiencing.

    When the application asks, “Why did you leave this job?” You can say, “It was time for a change. I am looking for new opportunities.” Neither of those responses is incorrect, or lying. Both are true. I will send another note to each of you after I write a post. There is a lot more to say on this topic.

    Melissa and Kathleen, Thank you both for stopping by Interview Chatter and leaving your question. It is a tough situation. I am working with a client right now on this issue. Trying to help her get a job. More to come! :)

  • Debra

    I think this question is more difficult than initially meets the eye. If an application asks, “Why did you leave this job?,” it seems legitimate to have a response such as “It was time for a change,” etc. But when an application asks point blank–”Have you ever been terminated from a job?”–I don’t see how you can legitimately give a more generic answer. The fact of the matter is that you were fired. That’s true even if the firing was unfair, discriminatory, or was eventually resolved or adjudicated in your favor.

    I’ve actually stopped myself from filling out a job application when I was asked this question. I knew I’d have to answer “yes,” and then it seemed to me that I’d likely be screened out of the applicant pool, so why bother?

    Just seems to me there are no easy answers when bad stuff happens. Or perhaps I’m overstating the problem. But I don’t think so…. :)

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hey Debra, you make a great point. When there is a specific question about termination, you do want to answer that question truthfully. Typically, when you fill out an application online, many of them don’t ask the question. They generally ask, why did you leave your last employer?

    As I mentioned earlier, I am going to write another post about this topic. There are many people who have sent emails, I am working with some clients on this issue and the conversation here in the last couple of days has me thinking.

    Anyone else have any thoughts on this topic? Please feel free to share with the rest of us.

  • Carroll

    well my question is about modified duties at work. I have been on modifed duties(not hours) for the last 7 years with the same company, I find out now that they want me to change my job??? I have been with this company for 22years and have never used my workplace injury as an excuse to call in to work. Compesation compensates the company for the modified hours. can they do that? they are saying “because of your modified duties you are not bringing the store up in sales” any help will help

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Carroll, Thank you for stopping by Interview Chatter today. I do have some questions for you and I will give you my initial thoughts, based on the information you have provided.

    My first question, has your boss or manager changed recently? Have there been changes in the chain-of-command in the organization?

    Is there documentation to support the modified duties? Was there ever any timeframe given concerning these duties?

    My initial take on your comment/question, is that before you do anything, grab documentation that you have in your records. You may need something to help support the modified duties. Can you do more? Do you want to do more?

    Depending on the state you work in, if it is one a right to work state, you may be discharged without cause. So if you want the job and you can do the job, go for it. Lastly, check with the organization who provides compensation for the modification. They should be able to tell you why the change and whether there is a way to protect you in the job.

    Please stop by again and leave your answers to my questions. I would also be very interested in the outcome to your situation.

  • Lenora

    Thank you for this information. I was just terminated, four years away from retirement. At 61 yrs of age, I am a little worried about getting another job. I like your suggestion and plan to use it on my interview next week.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Lenora,

    Thank you for stopping by Interview Chatter today. I am so sorry to hear about your termination. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. PREPARATION is your best weapon going into your interview next week. If can suggest a book, 101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions by Ron Fry is the best book on the market in my opinion.

    Good Luck to you! Feel free to come back and share the results of your interview.

  • Debra

    One thing to add: Someone who was fired four years before she was eligible for retirement should contact an attorney. It’s possible there may be a claim for age discrimination–and if the you’re successful, that could mean the employer has to rehire you with back pay or pay some kind of compensation for unjustly terminating you. It all just depends on the circumstances of the firing. But doing this is something to consider.

  • http://CHATTER Sue

    Darlene, is it considered being fired when you negotiate a severance package and agree neither you nor the company will ever talk about the reason for you leaving (although they wanted you to)

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Sue! Thanks for visiting Interview Chatter! I love your question and I am going to give you a short answer here and then write a post based on my experience and research.

    First, depending on the wording of the Severance Agreement. If there is nothing in the documents that indicates you have been fired, then you don’t need to say you have been fired.

    People and organizations make agreements daily about severing their working relationship. If there is an agreement to sever the relationship, make sure you are crystal clear about why and how the agreement came to be. Confirm what they will say to anyone calling to verify employment. Make sure you are comfortable with what they will say.

    Why does the organization want you to talk about the reason for leaving? I would love more details about that portion of your question!

    I am going to answer your question more specifically in a post. Please confirm you received this note. I will also send an email. Good Luck to you!!

  • Cheri


    I was terminated from a position but my organization said they will not state why I left, that they will only give the dates I worked there.

    Do i have to say i was terminated on my next job application if they will be unable to find out via my past employer.

    Thank you,

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Cheri, my recommendation is to never lie. I will always coach people to be honest. That being said, you have to determine how you want to communicate to a future employer your reason for no longer being employed with “X” company.

    If you lie on the application about why you left, than that is a problem. Rather than answering your question directly, I would love it if you would tell me what you prefer to say on the application concerning this employer.

    I will wait to see your response to my question… Any one else have some thoughts on Cherie’s question?

  • Cheri

    thank you for your response. I guess my feeling about the situation is…if they can’t find out…why would I need to tell. I am completely aware that honesty is always the best policy, that is actually my struggle here, but in a case like this where it can do more harm than benefit why would it be a “problem” as you stated.

    It was a very personal reason why i was let go…something that had nothing to do with my work permormance. I guess I also feel that it could be like anonymity in a 12 step program…some things should remain of your own personal knowledge, right to privacy. I became immediately employed after being let go so I guess in response to “what i would say on the application” is that I started a new job.

    California law says a past employer cannot state why someone left…that they can only state the dates that they were employed. My feeling is that they may do that for this exact reason….to protect peoples personal right to privacy.

  • Darlene

    Hi Cherie! Thank you for your candor! You actually answered your question just by me pushing back a little. As a coach, I truly work hard not to “tell” people what to do, but to help them arrive at a solution that will work for them.

    You have done that. I know California’s employment laws from experience. I lived there years ago and you are correct in what you are saying. Employers can only verify dates and salary.

    So, two things, first, you are already employed. That is AWESOME! So you don’t have to worry about how to answer the question of why you left the previous employer. By the time that question comes up in your future, employers will be more focused on your most recent employer. That is a good thing.

    Second, if and when you have the opportunity to discuss the job, the organization where you were let go, you can say very easily say, “it was time for me to make a change.” And then segue into the new position that you have already begun.

    Focus on the new position. You definitely want to take the good from the previous position. Be able to speak to those things and the lessons, the skills and abilities you learned from the job. Stay away from any issues that may touch on the issues you don’t want to discuss.

    I hope this helps!!

  • Cheri

    Helps a great deal. Thank you so much.

  • Cheri

    One more quick question….a friend pointed this out to me earlier…if a law prevents an employer from discussing whether or not you were fired…why is another able to ask if you ever were? She compared it to them asking if you are pregnant, how old you are or what your religious affiliation is…so it seems odd that they can ask if you were ever fired. Made me wonder.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Asking the question, have you ever been fired is not an illegal question. The legality in this issue begins and ends with the organization you previously worked. What do they say about you? If they say more or verify more than salary and dates of employment and it hinders you from getting the job, AND you can prove it, than you may have legal action. But there is nothing illegal about them asking you the question. You would be the one giving them information about you.

    In states like California, employment law dictates what organizations will do. Some organizations are located in more than one state. Typically the corporate headquarters may be located in another state. Organizations adjust depending on what the law of the land is in the states they are located.

    As far as “rules of engagement” – some companies do what they want to do as long as they don’t get caught.

    Questions asked about religious affiliation and pregnancy are illegal no matter what state you reside. They are non-negotiable. It doesn’t stop some hiring managers from asking the questions.

  • Michelle

    I had a choice, I could either resign or I would be terminated. I chose resignation. However, a month and a half down the road, I’m still looking for employment. I had a really good interview and thought I had the job, of course, it didn’t pan out. Now I’m sitting here without a job and wondering what I tell people. My approach has been “corp re-org.” I am obtaining letters of recommendation from a fellow co-worker, past customers and other business associates. I’m open to any suggestions you may have. Thanks.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Michelle! Thanks for Visiting Interview Chatter today. I am sorry to hear about your job situation. I can feel your frustration with the job search through your email.

    Let me recommend a few things that may help you move forward into a more positive place.

    1. I recommend that you forgive yourself and release the situation that happened in your last place of employment. If you don’t it will continue to get in your way in the interview. Even if you don’t see it, you are probably carrying some baggage and the interviewers can see it or sense it. Either way it is not helping you. You have to make a shift and take on this job search. It is your full time job until you get a job.

    2. Networking is a good way to get your feet in the door. Who do you know, that knows someone that knows someone who needs a good employee? Start putting some feelers out there and get out there and start meeting people.

    3. Homework assignment: 101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions by Ron Fry. Get the book, read the book and do the book. There are some things you can be doing to help you evaluate your skills and abilities. Write them down and begin to develop an offensive strategy for your interviews. One of the items you should have on this paper is what you will say about the previous place. Why did you leave? What lessons, skills, strengths did you gain from that place and how will it help you in the next organization?

    Let me know if you need any more encouragement. I do that well. You WILL find a job. Lastly, read this post I wrote not too long ago when I was in transition and looking to make a move. It might help you along in your journey!

    Good Luck!

  • http://CHATTER Sue

    Darlene, I didn’t mean they wanted me to talk about why… I meant “the CEO asked me to resign or be terminated”.’ iF I CHOSE TO RESIGN, they would give me a severance package in exchange for me not essentially suing them!! I don’t think they had any reason to terminate me but i wasn’t going to stay where i wasn’t wanted so i negotiated more severance and left. The agreement says they won’t say anything bad about me and vice versa. plus i get a good reference and already have that in writing. It also says our agreement is completely confidential. Only lawyer, spouse, etc. can know therefore, the first interview i had..HR says in a group interview : have you ever resigned in lieu of being terminated??? I about died. I said no but left because i knew i wasn’t going to get along well with a new member of a the team.. which is definitely true!! I also said i had accomplished my goals, etc..

  • Jean

    I found you doing a search and there was the question from Cynthina that asked:”I was fired from a job a couple years ago and I wanted to know if I should or could use this job in my resume and employment history? It’s my longest employment history so I gained a lot of my experience from this job but I was fired for petty theft. If a prospective employer were to contact this employer, can the employer disclose to them why I left the job?? Or do I have rights to not have that info.disclosed? I need advice. Please help! Should I or shouldn’t I include this job in my resume?”

    You told her she should include it in the resume, but I did not see an answer to the question about what the employer can disclose? I am in the same situation and in dire need of help. I feel like no one will hire me after this mistake. I have learned a great deal about myself after this incident. What can the old employer say? HELP!

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Jean! Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter today. I apologize for not responding sooner. In any case to answer your question:

    An employer, most employers are very careful about what they say when giving a reference regarding an employee especially one that has been terminated. My recommendation to my clients is to confirm with the employer what their policy is on employee references. They have one – you need to know what it is.

    Some employers only share salary, dates of employment and whether you are rehirable. Others will share everything and anything they are asked. Go back to the employer and ask them what they do. Most employers will tell you and they will tell you the truth. Whatever you do, don’t omit them from your applications or resume. Once you know what they will do, please touch base with me again so that I can help you with their response.

  • shelly

    I was unjustly fired from a job for misconduct. I’ve worked at my job for over a year, trained 4 temps in my position and never once received one bad comment about my performance. In fact, I received nothing but praise, given a good review and raise and was trained in other departments within the company. Unfortuantely, UI sided with my previous employer. How do I explain to a future employer that I was competent in my position and that my firing was unjustified?

  • Jane

    I was recently (2 weeks ago) fired from my position as National Sales Manager for no tangible cause. My employer said that I simply had a different “style” than him, that there was nothing wrong with me, and that “the company wasn’t ready for me”. He refused to expound on these answers any further. I only worked for the company for 2 months but during that time I had a significant impact on sales growth. This impact was well received by my employers and was recognized by some pats on the back. When I was fired, the day after a 5 day (including weekend) tradeshow that I worked for them, I was shocked.

    Since then I’ve licked my wounds and started planning for the next step; however, now my employer is asking me for the contact information of one of my personal business contacts, worth $100K in new business revenues. They had never before known anyone at this company and I had been working on them for the entire 2 months I was working at the company. My employers hardly paid attention…until now. Now they’re asking me for the contact information.

    This doesn’t make any sense to me. How do you fire someone that brings so much immediate value to the table? My thought was that they might be in financial trouble. But to take on this new account they’re going to be spending a lot more money. AND, they’re still trying to squeeze out of me any last ounce of value by taking my hard-earned relationships.

    What do I do?

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Jane, you ask a very good question. Let me think on this some. I will post a response here later today or tonight. I want to give you good counsel. Hang in there!


  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Good Morning Jane, I trust that you will see this note. After pondering your question all night, here is what I recommend:

    First, you have to determine whether you are willing to allow this company to continue to do business with this customer that you brought to the table. Is the product/service you were attempting to sell really of value for them. They are the customer. Rather than looking at this from the perspective of the organization and what they get from the transaction, look at it from the perspective of the customer. In the end, if the product was valuable to them with you at the helm or without you at the helm, it will go a long way for you to release the information to the company and hope for a better experience for the customer than what you experienced as an employee.

    Second recommendation, if you are unclear about why you were terminated, I always recommend to my clients to go back and ask for feedback. It cannot be about defending your position or perception. It has to be about you being open to what they have to say to you. If you can do that, you will learn something. Use it to help you in the next position you find yourself.

    Please confirm that you read this note and please ask additional questions if you have them. Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

  • Jane

    Thanks for your perspective, Darlene. I understand that these lessons are valuable for all future experiences, but I can’t help but feel bitter about it all. I have a bubbling feeling that part of my termination was because of my youth. A few weeks back I was giving some feedback to my boss about a rep group I thought needed to be replaced due to lack of production. It had literally been a year since they’d sold anything new and as the new NSM it was my responsibility to make sure the company had competent and able representation in the field. When I gave my suggestion starting with “in my experience…” my boss scoffed with “your experience? what are you, 25??” That wasn’t the first time he’d made reference to my age– he also had asked my references if my age would be a challenge to reps, colleagues, and customers. The answer was no, of course, and he hired me, so I thought that was behind us. Or so I thought. I hate to say it, but I feel like I was discriminated against–and like all discrimination, it’s so hard to prove. And perhaps there were other reasons for my termination– I did ask. I pressed to see what I may have done wrong or inappropriately- the answer was the same: it’s not you. we just have different styles. But I did exactly what I was asked– in fact, I kicked ass and took some names!

    I shook his hand on the way out the door, told him no hard feelings, and went on my separate way. But, then I realize that my commissions don’t add up- so I have to “fight” him on that. Why does business have to be so shady? I’m hurt because I thought these owners were good, honest people. Turns out they’re not the kind of people I want to do business with anyway. I realize this as positive. But why am I so bitter? I can give up my contact, but I can’t help but feel used…after ALL that.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hey Jane! You pose an interesting question about businesses – “Why do they have to be so shady?” That is a great question. One I may write about in the near future.

    I also am intrigued about the age discrimination issue you felt within this organization. My last recommendation to you, is to share your concerns with someone you trust, that has some business savvy. Get their take on the situation. You may have more information than you think concerning this organization. I am not saying fight for the job, but if there was discrimination in this case, you may have a case. Get some more perspective. Speak to people who you trust, who will give you an objective opinion about the situation.

    Last thing I want to say, is concerning the bitterness you may be feeling. Bitterness is mature anger, unresolved. That can be difficult to overcome. You are probably like most people in that you need a job like everyone else. You don’t want to take those feelings into a new opportunity. Resolve the feelings with this job loss and move forward. It may take you longer than a moment to resolve it, but you need to get rid of the bitterness so that you can take all of your strengths, your skills and abilities to the next job opportunity and make a tremendous difference. I wish you much success in your job search!

  • Latisha


    I had a great job with an easy going male boss, he was ok with you and how you did you job just as long as you got the job done. I learn my new job well, but some people in the department were intimidated by how fast a learner I was and if they were going to loose their jobs, because they were complaining about more pay. I believe they thought I was hired to be a replacement for complainers. Well, my male boss was replaced by a female who was a former pay complainer. She got promoted to supervisor so they could pay her more money. This woman was intimidated by me when we were on the same job level, so when she became boss, she would give bad evaluations possibly to get me to resign on behest of her superiors. I complained to HR management, but he made it seem like I was the problem. So, I resigned. I moved out of state got a job which required a background check. This out of state job seem to only do background checks to find a negative, so they wouldn’t hire a person. When they couldn’t find a negative except that I used that former female supervisor as a reference with the male supervisor the current job used her reference against me to builded their reason to terminate me. Which the current job had made up lies to terminate me. They knew this and the HR manager at that job had me sign a form to get paid one month of pay or I could talk to a lawyer if I wanted to sue. I took the payoff since I don’t have money for any fancy lawyers. That HR manager of course knew this, so I was wrongfully terminated, but I can’t prove it, because I was terminated during my probation stage. I believe some of the staff was intimidated by my previous skills and a possiblity that I would find a better job in a great organization and that was there way to prevent me from getting that better job. They wanted me to have two negatives in place of the two positives they got from doing a background check. It should be illegal to do background checks to find negatives so they can hire you then fire you. I thought the whole purpose of doing a background check is to decide if they want to hire a person. Not to hire a person for their skills to help them with a temporary project then make up a reason to fire a person just, because that organization no longer need a person’s services. That is just wrong and an illegal termination.

  • Melissa


    I totally agree. I too was terminated for no reason. When I asked the manager, she said,” it’s just not working out”. If you ask me the real reason is because I did not belong to her click (the 2hr lunch work-out grp and ethnicity)(it was a small accounting office) and I knew my job well, of which she was responsible and did not want to know anything about it. So when her boss asked for an update she had no answer and blamed me. I insisted on meeting with her boss the day I left and explained to him what was going on and the HR rep. said to her boss, “No wonder she (meaning my boss) hired a another person.” This other person was hired shortly before I left and I have no doubt she is doing my job now. Now that I had already set up the procedures and told them what was needed. You think if you work hard and do a good job you will be rewarded, but just the opposite is true. It seems apparent that supervisors really want clock watchers and people who do so-so work just so the boss can look better. Amazing. Your right, it is criminal and companies should not allow it. A friend once said he had no plans on moving up just wanted to sit in his cube doing a so-so job and getting paid for it that was all a company deserved. At the time I thought that was the crime, but now I’m not so sure, maybe he had a point of not giving too much only to see no reward.

  • xavier

    so i go into interviews and they ask why i left my last job. I always say because i moved to new york from miami. Wich IS true, seeing as how i got fired on my last day.

    Will my past employer notify the interviewees that i was terminated?

  • Lisa

    I hope you can help because I am really stumped about what to do-
    I was fired after my company enacted a new attendance policy that stated you could have only 7 “legal” abscences during a six month rolling period. “Legal” abscences did NOT includes illnesses. So if your young child was sick and you had to stay home they held it against you, if you were sick and could not work unless you had a note from a doctor and you took a “leave of abscence” it was held against you.
    I worked for a retail company for 5 1/2 years and made my way up to a customer service manager and was well liked and good at my job. A new support manager was hired, which was one step above me and for some reason she took an instant dislike to me. This woman went out of her way to discredit me to all the managers above me and began to make my job a living hell. I didn’t want to leave my employer because i liked my job and at least wanted to wait until I had another one lined up. Well one day I was VERY ill and could not make it in, I had not hit my seventh time out so I thought I was fine. Well 4 days later when my shift was 3/4 done I was called into the managers office and fired. I was very adult and dignified about it, said goodbye gathered my things and left.
    I have been trying to find a new job for almost 8 months and can’t get anything. I have filled out 20-25 applications and NOTHING. I am convinced that this woman is bad mouthing me to prospective companies and I can’t stop it. The last few applications I have filled out I have actually left off this employer hoping that would help. I am worried about what to do. Can they find out about my last job even though I left it off? Should I just be honest about why I was let go? It’s not like I called out of work to spend the day at the beach. Help-

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Lisa, I sent you an email this morning. Did you get it? To answer the questions you asked – YES a new employer can find out about the other employer. It is important that you are honest when applying for jobs. Don’t put yourself in a position to lose a job because you weren’t up front about your previous employer. If you really would like assistance, please send me an email with a good telephone number and I will call. I am also available through Yahoo IM. I will wait for your to contact me.

  • Lisa

    So thanks for answering me back. I have also posted on other message boards and they all say the same thing: yes include my last empolyer even though I was fired, but don’t say why. They all suggested I put down for the reason “new management, not right fit”. So I have started using that. My worry is that if contacted my previous employer will state that it was due to an absence problem and say I was a horrible employee(even though I was not).

  • Debra


    Here’s my two cents’ worth. :)

    Most employers–at least the smarter ones–won’t say you were fired or even go into detail about absenteeism, etc. The reason: Employers in a number of states can be sued for what’s called tortious interference with the ability to contract. What that means is that, depending on the state, an employer could be sued for providing negative information about a former employee that prevents the person from being hired at another job. So smarter employers typically give out information about the dates the employee worked for the company, and that’s about it.

    Good luck!

  • Pingback: Video Instruction: Where are Ethics in the Workplace?

  • Brijet

    I was hired at a company, started training which would last for two weeks. Half way through my fifth day of training, I was called to the human resources department and I was told my employment can not continue because of something in my background. I thought companies do not hire anyone until the background checks came back not before the background checks come back. What is the law?, was I violated?.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Brijet, Thank you for stopping by Interview Chatter and leaving a comment. Your question is a good one. Here are two things you need to consider

    1. Many time companies hire people contingent upon all references and background checks are complete. Sounds like a call center. Is that the type of job? If so, they are usually hiring to fill a training class. So all HR paperwork may not be complete. While you are in training and even sometimes when you complete training, people are terminated. Airline industry does this as well.

    The second, is the company in an at will employment state? If so, you can be asked to leave at any time with no explanation. Check the offer letter you received. Go back to the orientation you went through. Did they give you any indication that they were still completing paperwork? If so, there is your answer. I look forward to hearing from you.

  • Nicole

    Hello, Darlene
    My former company is in bad shape right now. My boss thought he should hire some one who is more experienced to manage bad cash flow and good at collecting money when company is in financial troubles, so I was let go while he told me that it has nothing to do with termination and fire, it just becomes I am too young and need gain more experience in new opportunities. I did not do anything wrong actually. I got several job interviews next week. For sure, they will ask the reason that I left. I hope I can get some suggestions from you as soon as possible.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Nicole,

    I may need a little more information to speak to your specific situation, but let me start by saying this..

    If the organization is doing poorly, that is something you want to share in an interview. Leverage that information and make about them. How frame it in the dialog is very important. But it is ok to say “I was let go, because the organization is struggling financially.” If you didn’t do anything according to your previous employer, than they should be willing to give you an excellent reference for your next job opportunity. Here is what I share with people I coach, and I know I have shared it here at Interview Chatter – Ask the previous employer what they will say when called to verify your employment. It is VERY important that you know what they will say prior to the interviews you have scheduled. Why? Because you want to make sure that you give a consistent message. If you know they will give you an excellent reference and performance was not an issue, just let them know “the organization was struggling and they let me go, however they are willing to give me an excellent reference.” And move the discussion back to your skills and abilities and what you will bring their organization. Don’t say anything about being too young and them hiring someone else. That is TOO much information. Not relevant to YOUR job search. Please let me know your thoughts.

  • Lisa

    Great News!!! I got a job today… I saw a hotel with a “Now Hiring” sign so I just walked in and got hired after 10 minutes! I start tomorrow. I will be working the front desk and it is so close to home I can save gas by walking. I feel so great! I am so excited. I will come back and let you know how it is going.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hey Lisa – CONGRATULATIONS!!! Yippee!! Thank you for coming back and sharing your success!! I want to hear more details about the interview. Also, please come back and tell us how things are going. Good Luck and have fun!!

  • denise


  • denise


  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Denise, I am sorry to hear about your job situation. I am not sure what it will take to get your job back, but I can tell you this, there are lots of teaching opportunities out there. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in this opportunity. For every door that closes, another will surely open. Get out there and see what you can find. You will find another. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you in your job search.

  • Aaron

    You guys are a bunch of pu$$ies…why are you gonna be honest on an application when these corporations lie about everything under sun. Enron anyone?

  • Renee

    Hi Darlene,

    I too was recently terminated after several years in the position and have now found myself looking for a new job. I have received a couple of interviews with different companies and both companies are calling me back for a second interview this week and next. The company that I meet with again this week are aware of my termination and the unjust cause discharge (not discrimination but failed to have a paper signed by management) but I would like to be better prepared for both second interviews to answer them in a professional manner and not to stumble all over my words.

    I plan on going to the library to pick up Ron Fry’s book that you mentioned in your blog to help as well, but I would really like to hear what you suggest.

    FYI, I allowed them to discharge me instead of saying I quit because then I would have forfeited my severance pay and not been eligible for unemployment. The unemployment office did find that the cause was unjust and sided with me-thank goodness, but it only proves to me that if I did something so wrong why are they allowing unemployment to occur.

    Thank you for listening.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Renee, Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter. Before I respond to your question, please clarify that the reason for termination was your “failure to get a document signed by management.”? Is that correct?

    Also, the organizations that you have scheduled 2nd interviews, did they ask you about the terminations during the first interview?

  • Renee

    That is correct, I failed to have a document signed and in addition, I approved 2 clients (one whom had processed with us before and another one who shared a business with a partner-the partner had so so credit but the other one had excellent credit so I was able to approve the application based on the one with excellent-I was told 4 years ago that I only needed one signature not both-so of course I will use the one with the excellent status. I was informed that I did not hold up to policy.

    I did share with one organization about the termination but the second one they never asked if I was terminated-they simply stated “I see that you are no longer with XXX and I said that that is correct, I left on…and looking for a new challenge.” I never lied to them but I feel quilty for not coming out and telling them that I was terminated.

    I am on my way to get Ron’s book this morning but really appreciate your input.


  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Renee! Thanks for the confirmation! My first comment is that you don’t have any reason to feel guilty about not telling them you were terminated. I am all for being honest and upfront about who you are and what you bring. But if they don’t ask you about being terminated, your answer was phenomenal. I actually may write a post about it. That’s how good it is.

    As far as how you share what happened of if asked, first thing, take responsibility for not having the document signed. Then, share, “based on how I was trained, I thought I could … (fill in the blank) – Also share what you have been doing in similar situations. As a result I was terminated.” Then “What I learned from this experience is…. (fill in the blank). What I will do in the future is…(fill in the blank), to ensure that I am clear about how to process my work.”

    Those are my thoughts! Let me know how it goes!

  • Cecelia

    I was fired for violation of the company’s Code of Conduct – one which I clearly signed but did not quite understand. When the question “Were you fired for violation of Code of Conduct?” is asked and I answer YES, this looks bad unless I’m able to explain. Any suggestions?

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Cecelia, You ask a great question. Here are my initial thoughts, but I need more information from you to give you specific help.

    Most hiring managers will not ask the question you pose, “Were you fired for violation of Code of Conduct?”. What they will ask is “have you been fired?” or “Why were you fired?”

    As far as how to explain that you have been fired for a Code of Conduct violation. So, if you are willing to risk, please tell me what the Code of Conduct violation is.

  • Cecelia

    I worked for an Insurance CO. I accessed my file, which is in violation. I did not read any notes – just wanted to see if the file had been forwarded. I was in the file for less than 2 seconds and reported to my Lead worker of the access. Zero tolerance – I was let go. I’m in the process of filling out an app which poses the question.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel


    In this case, the best way to respond to this situation is to say exactly what you placed in this comment back to me. The only thing I would recommend that you omit the part about not reading the notes. It is irrelevant. You were terminated for accessing your file. Say that. Then say, you knew it was a violation (being accountable for your actions), then you need to say what you learned, and that you will not make the mistake again. All of that information must be included on the application. It is critical that you speak or write from a place of accountability. Don’t make excuses or attempt to justify your behavior.

    Let me know if this helps!

  • Cherish

    I was terminated from a job in Oct 07′ I was there for 7 months.I felt like I was let go b/c the supervisor didn’t like me.She was friends with alot of the co-workers and was use to everyone brown-nosing her.There were a few people,myself included who didn’t play this game.The supervisor was young,a novice,and very unprofessional.I let the executive know that I was having problems with her( my former supervisor) and a few other people as well.This went on for about a month.Eventually I was called into the office one day and was told I was being let go.A friend of mine who still works for the company told me that she was let go some months later.

    I’ve been filling out applications and I know that if I put this place on my employment history it would increase my salary.However, I’m afraid that they wouldn’t even consider looking through my application b/c I was terminated.

  • Cherish

    I wanted to clarify that my former supervisor was let go,not my friend.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Cherish,

    Thank you for stopping by Interview Chatter today. I am trying to find the question in your comment. Are you asking whether you should put this organization on your application? If so, the answer is YES! It is very important to include all employment history even if you were terminated. What you need to work on is how you will communicate what happened in the organization and why you were fired. I am happy to help you with that. Respond back to my comment and let me know if I at least answered your question. Then we can talk about how you position this organization in the discussion/ the interview.

  • Cherish

    Hi Darlene,

    Thanks for getting back to me you pretty much answered my question.I’ve filled out a few applications,but never put this organization down on my application.I feel bad b/c I had a job interview recently it went great,but I always have my past job lingering in the back of my head. In the future I want to put this organization down on my resume’.But,how do you say I was there for 7 months and then I was terminated to future employers?And still having a chance of getting the job.

  • Maria

    Hi Darlene,
    I was terminated in June this year, I had only been there for 15 months. It was humiliating, and extremely embarassing as I was their top performing employee. They said I violated the code of ethics. I did not, but there is really nothing I can do about it. I will hold my head up high and look for another job. However,
    I have been to five interviews, and told the truth, and have been turned down by four, I am waiting for one more answer, and it has been 2 weeks, so I am guessing that, that is going to be a no too. I have called and the lady said she hadn’t made up her mind yet.
    What can I say when asked why I was terminated? The truth is not working. I am at home so I could start immediately. I am a honest, hardworking, and very professional.
    Your advice would be much appreciated.
    Thanks in advance.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Cherish, The reason the other job is in your head has more to do with the fact that it is hidden. Our subconcious a way of keeping us “real” with ourselves. What I mean is that exposing it is better than hidding it. Learning how to leverage the termination in the job interview is the lesson to be learned.

    I am available by phone in the evenings. I am happy to speak to you and assist. I may put together a teleconference on this issue, because there are lots of people who are struggling with this as well. If you are interested in meeting with me by phone, please let me know. Watch for a post in the next few days about a teleconference call. I will post here as well. Stay tuned.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Maria! Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter. I am sorry that you are going through this very difficult process of interviewing and losing opportunities because of a termination. I know that you don’t want to share the termination with prospective employers, but honesty is better. What you do need is to fugure out how to leverage the termination in the interview. How to discuss it and still walk away from the interview with a fighting chance to get the job. As I mentioned to Cherish above, I am happy to help. Let me know if you are willilng to meet by phone. i look forward to hearing from you!

  • maria

    Thankyou for answering. I do want to share this with employers, but I don’t want to lie. At this stage after four turndowns, I don’t know what to think anymore.
    What Number do I call to speak to you?
    Thanks for your help. I have printed and read all the entires.

  • Cherish


    It would be great if we could meet by phone, please let me know the time,date,and number.Thanks for your input.

  • maria

    oh my!! I have just received my mail, and I know why I didn’t get the one job… My bancruptcy!!they didn’t ask and I just didn’t remember. Had they asked I would of told them the truth. In 2004 I had to file bancruptcy due to a divorce. My credit is good since the divorce and it has been 4 years. I went to and looked at my credit.

  • Pingback: TeleConference - So, You’ve Been Fired

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    WHEN: Tomorrow, July 1st
    TIME: 7:00 PM EST
    Please send and email to: to sign-up.
    I look forward to hearing from you!

  • Cherish

    I had an interview today I’m not sure how it went.I was honest and told the interviewer about my termination from my last job.I wish I’d spoken more elougently about it,job hunting is so stressful.Ugh!I was online a few days ago about interviews and the writer says,”If the interview is 30 minutes or less then it’s not a good sign.”I honestly don’t know how long the interview was.She told me she would check my references and get back with me next week.I kindly ask for a date and she said, “I can’t promise you a date.” I’m trying so hard to think positive,but I don’t think i’ll be getting a call back.I was probably better off not putting my last job on my application.Why do interviewers even bother saying they’ll call you back?When they know for a fact you won’t hear from them again.I’d rather the interviewer tell me flat out,”I don’t think you’d be right for our company thanks for your time.”

  • Cherish

    The interviewers want you to be honest with them,but they don’t have to be honest with you.I digress.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Cherish, You missed my teleconference last night. I ended up speaking to one person, but it was very helpful for him. I am more than happy to meet with you by phone, text message or IM to assist you with this hurdle. Let me know your availability. I am not available the remainder of this week. But my calendar opens back up next week. Let me know what will work for you. I am sorry to hear about the interview experience you had today. As far as the timing of the interview, 30 minutes or less is typically a bad sign for the candidate and/or the interview is not very good. Wither way, you definitely want to take more than 30 minutes to make an impact with an interviewer. Let’s talk. Let me know what will work for you.

  • Cherish

    Hi Darlene,
    It’s too bad I missed the teleconference I
    thought maybe I wouldn’t get a word in edge wise with 10 people on the phone.The teleconference probably would’ve helped a lot.I’m available July 7th after 11:00 am you can e-mail me if there’s a number you would like me to reach you at or vice-versa,just let me know.
    Darlene I’ve been on job interviews where the interview was about 30 minutes and landed the job.I don’t get it,I’m taking a break from job hunting.I’m sick of sending out “Thank You” cards.I have this license that I’m so proud of and I can’t even get a foot in the door.

  • Cherish

    I’m not sure if my e-mail address shows up or not if it doesn’t let me know.Thanks!

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Cherish! I am happy to speak with you by phone. I am available in the evenings. I do have a day job. I coach and blog at night. I am available as early as 6:00 pm EST and I can meet as late you want. I do have your email address as well. It is only available to me as the blogger. We can talk through email as well, though because of the challenges you are facing with the job search, I would love an opportunity to speak to you by phone and then we can go from there. Have a great weekend. Please send me a note by email or comment to remind me of our appointment on Monday. If I can get free at work I will call you in the morning.

  • Cherish

    Hi Darlene,

    I sent you an e-mail on July 3rd at the e-mail address above’m not sure if you recieved it,could you get back to me through e-mail or comment.


  • Wayne

    Hello Darlene,

    I was fired over timecard fraud. However, when I was asked to bring documents from one office to the other I was told to “stay on the clock.” I would have to swipe-out of the employee parking lot at one office and not authorized to access the second office. So, I would call the control center to gain access. Also, I completed work at home and was asked to keep track of the time, then submit it. I was fired due to the time amount I submitted. I am applying for other jobs and the question is have I ever been fired, yes or no. What do I do?

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Wayne,
    Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter today. Your question – “yes” is the correct answer to the question on the application. Honesty is more important than getting the job.

    As far as what you do. That is a great question. I would recommend that you contact the organization and find out what they will say when a potential employer calls them to get a reference and to verify employment. Once you know what they will say, it will help you determine how much of the story you need to share in an interview.

    The last recommendation I have is you may want to consult an attorney – an employment attorney. If the information you shared is accurate and there are no other issues concerning you performance you may have a case. Can you prove that you were going to the other building, the work completed at home? If so, you may want to talk to someone else and get their take on the situation before you just walk away without a fight. If there are additional details or other issues with performance or time card issues that were discussed in the past, you will want to go back to my first recommendation. If there are more details to consider feel free to send me an email off line. I am happy to look at the situation and give you guidance on how to position it and frame a discussion about it in an interview. Let me know!

  • http://- Cynthia

    Similar to many of the former posters, I was fired from a job and am wondering what to do now in my job search. I was fired a few years ago, and since have held three jobs and obtained a graduate degree. With these previous jobs, they never checked my background, so it hasn’t been an issue until now.

    My current dilemma is this – I applied for a job and have had one interview. They called me back for a second interview (!!!), and also sent me their standard job application form through HR. On the first page, it says “have you ever been fired or asked to resign?”, to which the honest answer is yes (just once). After that, it says “if yes, please explain.” I am struggling with what to write in that box because the situation of my firing sounds a great deal more scandalous than it was.

    I was working in a treatment center, and formed friendly relationships with many of our clients. One of them expressed romantic interest in me after leaving the treatment center. I made it clear to him that while employed there, I could not pursue any relationship (friendship or otherwise) with him. However, he continued to stop by the treatment center for meetings and to call the center and speak to me (as many former clients did). Many of my co-workers were aware of the situation, and would make jokes about it. One co-worker heard these jokes, and went to my supervisor and told her that I was having a romantic relationship with a former client. I was called into the office and I explained that I was not having a relationship with this client, but did acknowledge that he continued to contact me. They felt that I had crossed a line, and fired me. I acknowledge that I handled the situation poorly – I should have more firmly discouraged his interest, and was definitely toeing the line by maintaining contact with him. I’ve gone on to success with other jobs, but I dread filling in that “if yes, please explain” box, because I cannot think of a way to explain this situation without sounding like I am defending a non-existent scandalous relationship with this person.


  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Cynthia,

    Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter. I apologize for the delay in my response to your comment. I am going to send you an email to see if we can speak by phone. You should receive an email in the next few minutes.

  • Pingback: What Do I Do If I’ve Been Fired?

  • Pingback: If You Have Been Fired For Cause…

  • Jared

    I’ve recently been fired from my job and I’ve only worked there for short period of time (3 months). I had prior experience before from another company (3 yrs) that works on the same industry. I am wondering if I should put my 3 months experience on my resume. I talked about this with my old co-worker and he said I shouldn’t put it down on my resume since it’s a too short of time. However, I just went on an interview and the HR from that company said I should put it on my resume. I told her that I didn’t add it to my resume because it was too short of time and I am going to put it down on my application form. So should my 3 months experience be on resume? Please help. I am actually going to an interview with a different company next week and never brought up my previous experience on phone screen interviews since it was not never asked. Should I bring an updated resume and tell the interviewers about my previous experience OR only bring it up when asked?

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Jared,

    Absolutely put the 3 month job on your resume. Why? Because if you don’t and you are asked about the three month gap or break in time, it becomes a difficult conversation. They will want to know why you omitted it. That assumes there was a problem. More is better and you don’t want to have gaps in time on your resume unless there is a very good reason. Like you were in the hospital, on disability. Something like that.

    One thing is for sure, you need to decide how you are going to respond to the 3 month job issue. You need a brief explanation for why you were let go after 3 months. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

  • Jared

    Thanks for the advice Darlene. One more question for my upcoming interview, should I bring an updated resume and have the interviewers see my previous experience on the updated resume? Or should I just wait until they ask about the time gap and bring it up? I don’t want it to have a negative effect since i left it out originally. Is there any particular advice for this situation? Maybe I should email them a copy beforehand? HELP!

    For future job applications, the three month experience will definitely be on my resume to avoid this situation like you said.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hey Jared, please forgive my delay in responding to your follow-up question. YES! take the updated resume. All you have to say is I wanted to provide you with an updated resume, and give it to them. No further explanation is necessary. They will probably not ask any questions or think it strange. Most people have outdated resumes. Just be sure you have an answer to the question of why you were let go. That is more important than the fact that the information was not on the first resume. Please let me know if you have another question. I am alive and well and back on the grid! Have a great night!

  • Pingback: How Important is Your 3 Months Experience?

  • Jeff Thomas

    I was just laid off from my job. However, after speaking with HR to find out what info they would disclose, he said they will only verify employment, job title, general job description, and only verify income amount if presented with a figure (did he make this much? yes or no).

    Anyways, he said he would not give out any other details, including fired/laid off/quit. Or will not answer if the employee is re-hirable, etc.

    Based on this, my termination letter says based on company requirements yadda yadda, you are being terminated.

    So, even I don’t know exactly the reasons why I was let go. It could be related to performance issues (which I had with my boss.. which he gave be a bad review recently). However, the letter just gives the impression I’m laid off based on company re-structuring, etc.

    I “do” have the option in this case to say I quit (of course, would be dishonest.. but companies are dishonest with you anyways when the fire you) but I think it’s “worse” to say you left a job and better to just say you were laid off?

  • Pam

    A position I have been coveting for months has recently became available with one of Fortune magazines, “100 Best Companies to Work For in America.”

    My resume contains two previous employers. I was with my last employer for 16 years until they shut down operations in my area. My previous employer fired me at just under a year. I had been hired as a secretary and later was given the additional duty of a shift supervisor. My skills as a secretary were never an issue, but my supervisory skills were not up to their standards, so I was fired. I want to note that this place is also no longer in business, either.

    I have the job I was fired from listed on my resume because of the secretarial duties I performed which is in direct relation to the job I am applying for, now. My resume only highlights the time I worked for these two employers and says nothing about reason for leaving. I was able to obtain an application for preview. They ask for a reason for leaving for each employer listed, and then in another section they ask have you ever been discharged or asked to resign from a position, if yes, please explain.

    I really want this job and I’m afraid my tarnished work history is going to get the application tossed without a chance to interview. Any suggestions are appreciated.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Jeff,

    I want to apologize for the delay in my response. I am currently out of the country. I have gained access to my blog and saw your comment. Here are my thoughts:

    First Jeff, I will agree with you that companies are dishonest with employees. Unfortunately, that does not, nor should it give us a justification for being dishonest with companies. I believe in the universal principle/biblical principle, that what you reap, you will sow. Despite the inexcusable way that employers treat employees, do not let it be your reason for being dishonest. If you were terminated, say so. If it was a lay-off, say so. Be honest about why you were laid off and ensure that you give an explanation about what you learned.

    Second, if you are unclear about why you were let go, you need to get clarification about the reason. If for no other reason but for your information. If you don’t know why you were let go the likelihood that you will repeat history goes up exponentially. Get clear information from them. That will assist you in future conversations with potential employers.

    Lastly, you mention possible performance issues with your boss. Either there were performance issues or there were not. You do know whether you were not meeting expectations of your employer. If that is the reason for the termination, you need to look at that issue, evaluate your accountability and make some decisions about what you are willing to do with future employers. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Have a great night. Thanks for visiting Interview Chatter!

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Pam,

    When writing the information about why you were terminated, how you frame your statements will be what will dismiss you from the process, not necessarily the fact that you were terminated more than 16 years ago.

    Keep in mind that you have 16 years of experience since the termination. Highlight your skills and abilities on the application. Be honest without volunteering too much information.

    Whenever you are explaining why you were let go from an organization, make sure you state what lessons you learned and what you will or have done differently in the future to ensure that it will not happen again. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter!

  • http://Interviewchatter Karen

    I live in NYS. My employer let me go, stated I didn’t seem very happy, long story, I wasn’t. I work in the dealership industry where everyone knows everyone. I recently applied for a position with a company where the manager I interviewed with had previously worked for the company I had been fired from so she knew my office manager well enough to call her personally and ask about my performance. NYS law states the only information the firing employer can give is how long I was employed there and what my salary was how am I protected from this vindictive office manager who could possibly have given negative information to potential employers if she knows them personally. And how do I prove she is doing this? This company I interviewed with liked me very much, they sent my resume over to the ownerand I had every qualification plus some that they were looking for and I never got called back for a second interview. I smell a rat.

  • jennie

    I was asked to resign after my probation period ended, in lieu of being fired. It all boiled down to my assistant wanted me to do things her way and i as the lead teacher did them another way. my assistant was good friends with my supervisior. So now i am applying for other jobs and the question asked on the application is “Have you ever been discharged or requested to resign from a position? ” and explain how do i word this?????

  • David

    Hello Darlene,

    I graduated from college with an Associates and a Bachelors last year and I found a good company to work for 2 months later. I was employed as a consultant for a supply chain management company which is pretty much unheard of. I was given a notice of separation after 11 months with the quote of “its not working out, we’re not a right fit for you”. In the days leading to my “separation” I was told that there was at least 2 other people who where waiting on the bench for projects. I’ve been getting interviews and when they ask me what happen at my last job, I tell them “it wasn’t a right fit for me” and I am honest when they ask me if I was fired, I mention the other employees waiting on the bench for projects but I never get that second interview or call back.

    I received vacation pay and 2 weeks additional pay after the separation so I don’t know if I was fired or let go or downsized!

    Its been 2 months with no results and I’m at my wits end and can’t make ends meet. Unemployment office is taking forever and I doubt that I will even qualify. I get more depressed with every day that goes by without a job. What do I do?

    Best Regards,


  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Jennie and Karen, I want to apologize for my delayed response to your comments. I am still recovering from my travel to Ghana West Africa. I am back and I have your comments. Please hang in there. I am going to respond to each of your comments. Dave I will get to your comment as well. Thanks for your patience!


  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Karen, First thank you for visiting Interview Chatter. Second, you have a tough situation. Proving that the two people have a relationship is the first thing you would need to do in this situation. It is not something I would recommend that you attempt to do on your own. You need a good attorney. The question is, will an attorney take your case and help you fight. I don’t know, but I would highly recommend that you contact one and at least share what you perceive is happening. You will need proof. Again, that will be difficult to get. The only other thing that I would recommend in your situation is to contact the owner of the company that showed some interest. Ask for “feedback”. You will want to ask for feedback so that you can improve and land the next job. If he/she is willing to give you feedback about your interview in the company, it may shed some light on what is in your way in gaining employment. Please let me know if you have any addtional questions!

    Thanks, Darlene

  • LaToya

    I lost my last job b/c there was confusion of how much fmla I had left. When it was realize it had ran out and there was one day I was sick that I really wasn’t sure if it was due to migraines which is what I had fmla for or something else. My supervisor did not want to, but it was really a situation where he had no other choice, but to let me go. He said after 6 months I could definitely reapply and it has been a little over that, but I don’t think I want to go back there. It was job I kind of rushed into after graduation, got stuck with and didn’t have any give where I could look for something else due to the hours and it really wasn’t me plus there had been alot of re-org and practices that I didn’t agree with. I put in alot of applications and only had a few interview. I don’t know what I can say in interview or on application that is true but will lead to getting the job. I possibly have an interview coming up so….HELP!!!

  • LaToya

    just addition to my comment what I meant fmla was for migraines and times when med put me out of commision as well which were sometimes virus like symptoms or severe allergy reactions

  • http://none TShadmax

    A couple of months ago I was fired from a job I’d worked at for six years, plus nearly two years before that as a temp, so I’d worked for them and they’d known me for nearly eight years. I always thought I got along with everyone at work but had been injured at work last spring and the Dr.’s orders were five weeks off. It was a really busy time there and when I returned, my immed supervisor would not even speak to me, she was so angry. She and the head of the Dept put impossible deadlines and huge amounts of pressure on me. I lasted two months back at work (still on crutches) before they fired me for “performance issues.” They went back and basically re-wrote history to “show” that my performance had been lacking for the past several years. But I know that, really, I was fired for getting hurt on the job during a busy time, they just couldn’t legally put that as the reason.

    My question is: what on earth to tell potential new employers? My old employer will say that I was fired for poor performance. Nearly all of the applications both online and paper that I’ve done now ask that: were you ever fired from a position? And for what reason? I have to put down that Yes, I’ve been fired and then I write, “will explain in the interview” but have not gotten invited to very many interviews with that answer!

    Also yesterday, at one of the few interviews I’ve had, out of five questions they asked me, THREE of them were tricky questions to me now!
    *Why were you let go? I told the interviewers that it was due to budgetary (only partially true) and other reasons. Thank goodness they didn’t ask me, “what OTHER reasons?”

    *What would your former supervisor say are your strengths? (nothing! she wrote a terrible “termination” letter accusing me of several things, that I had no positive strengths–at least not that the company wanted) Of course I didn’t give the “real” and current answer, but said what she WOULD have said about me before all of this occurred.

    *And the third interview question was: What would your former supervisor say were your weaknesses? She had accused me of not keeping up with my work, doing sloppy work, not being a team player, etc. But I couldn’t say any of those and just said another “pre” opinion of hers that she sometimes thought I didn’t keep her appraised of what was going on closely enough.

    How should I have handled those questions? I remained calm during the interview but was a basket-case with worry afterward! My former supervisor and the HR will both say very negative things about me. I’ve been blessed previously to not ever had had skeletons in my employment closet before!

    The only plus in this situation is that six former co-workers came forward individually to offer to give me a good reference. And I do use them as references. But can I use them to bypass the negative HR and former supervisor? If so, how would I do/handle that?

    Thank you for your help!

  • Yvette

    I am filing out applications for a new job and it asks ‘have you ever been fired’. My previous job, I was fired because the manager and I disagreed a lot. I don’t know if I should be truthful on the app. in fear of being rejected before my qualifications are looked at. What should I do?

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter TShadmax. I am going to take some time to respond to your comment – Hang on…

    First, based on what I am reading and the number of years you were employed with this organization, you don’t have anything to be ashamed or afraid of… longevity is your friend. Don’t allow yourself to get uptight because you were terminated. Is it an issue? Yes! It is an obstacle? Yes, however it is not insurmountable. You need to sit down with yourself and create a plan for how you will handle all of the issues that you have outlined in your comment.

    Second, the fact that you were terminated is an opportunity for you to take a look at your vocation, your career path. Evaluate what you want to do based on your experience and skill set and begin to pursue the jobs that will keep you focused and happy.

    As far as how to handle the termination on applications and interviews, you have to be willing to tell the truth no matter what. How you frame what happens is more important than the what actually happened. What do I mean? I mean that you must share with hiring managers and on the electronic applications that you were terminated, but you must also share that “you were let go two months after you returned from short term disability.” That is as much as I would recommend that you say on the applications and in the interviews.

    Third, Check some of the previous comments on this post, I know that I have shared many times that you must contact the HR department of your previous organization and find out what they will say about you when a future employer calls to verify your employment. Ask the question so that you are clear about what they will say about you. Most organizations will not share performance issues with another organization. Most companies are afraid of lawsuits. Verify what they will say and that should help you – guide you through questions like, “What would your previous manager say about you?”

    Fourth, Let me recommend a book to you called 101 Great Questions to the Toughest Interview Questions, by Ron Fry. It is an excellent book. It will help you better prepare for your job search. If you would like some personal coaching, please let me know. I work with clients all over the US. Let me know if you have any additional questions.

    Interview Guru

  • Christina

    I quit a job I had been at for four years, do to increasing pressure from my boss. I felt I was being forced out, and was ‘stuck’ in a shift which wasn’t optimal for me, for my attendance or my production goals. Because it was a union job, I was not offered the option to change shifts because such an option would have needed to have been available to EVERYONE. Because of the situation I was in, my discipline kept escalating to the point, I felt I would be fired if I did not quit. When I left, I wrote a typed letter, terminating my employment effective the following business day, stating sudden personal changes. That was 4 months ago. I’ve been living off my savings since that time, but need to get a new job. I feel stuck as to what to put for ‘reason for leaving’. I did not originally look for another job after quitting because I wanted to attend school, but recently I recieved word that program has a waiting list, so I will need to make other arrangements and go back to work. Do you have any advice?

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Christina, Thank you for stopping by Interview Chatter. The simplest answer to your question of what to write on your applications for “reason for leaving” = I am looking for new challenges, more responsibilities, just to name a few.

    You were not terminated, so you don’t need to say you were terminated. If you left to seek new direction, to go back to school, those are credible reasons for leaving a job. Based on the information you have provided these are my recommendations. Are there other issues that you have not outlined, feel free to contact me by email so that I can assist you better.

  • Jean

    My husband was employed five years at a factory. One early morning, he dozed off as he was typing at his computer. His supervisor saw and he was let go. Would you recommend something like this in response to the next employer:
    “Yes, I was terminated. I took away so much from my experiences there and am now much wiser and will make a much better employee. I am ready to prove myself with even more enthusiasm.”
    It is crucial my husband find another job right away, for I am not employed. We lived off of his income.

  • MB

    I work in the Financial/Brokerage industry and was recently terminated from my job. In the Financial/Brokerage industry a form called the U5 lists the reason for leaving the employer. I did not have a good relationship with my immediate manager, but I had a good relationship with the head of my department. So, he reported that I was “permitted to resign, and that my talents are suited elsewhere”. The reason the information was reported this way was so that I would not have “involuntary termination” (which means that was fired) blemish on my record. I am now looking for a job and would like to know how to explain this in an interview?

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi MB, Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter tonight. Good question! Here are my recommendations:

    The first thing you need to determine from the head of the department and/or HR is what they will say to a potential employer who may call to verify your employment. Once you have this information, it will help you frame your words and discussion in an interview.

    My next thought for you to consider is you may want to consider saying something like, “It was time for me to look for a new challenge. I am interested in doing “___________ (place your most desired job in the blank here) My previous job did not allow me to do __________.”

    In other words you speak from a place of accountability rather than worrying about explaining the issue with the previous manager.

    Lastly, it will be very important that you eliminate any animosity, frustration, irritation or any other emotional feeling you have for your previous manager. Savvy interviewers will pick it up in an interview. Sit down and look at potential questions you may be asked concerning your previous manager. Such as, “What would your manager say your greatest strength or weakness is?” You need an answer to this question that doesn’t cause you to be defensive, or angry with memories of your previous employer. I can speak to this more if you need additional direction. Let me know.

    Those are my thoughts without understanding what your previous employer may say to a potential employer. I can not stress how important this information is for you as a job seeker. You have to get this information so that you know how to frame your answers and discussion about the previous job in an interview. All you need to ask the head of the department or HR is, “What will you say to an organization that calls to verify my employment?” Don’t say anything else. Don’t add anything to the question. This question should not shock them. It is a valid question for an employee who left as you did from their organization. Let me know if you need any help with this as well. I look forward to hearing from you again once you have the discussion with your previous employer.

  • Pingback: One Very Important Question

  • Stephanie

    I had just gotten fired as of yesterday, expected it to happen dued to being on a 24 hr suspension until a decision was made.
    I understand where the problem was made now after going back and talking to the manager again after my 24 hr suspension, started off as a misunderstanding/ disagreement that then lead into a dispute.
    I’ll try to explain the situation but my main question is how to come up with a “reason for leaving” without it looking too horrible.
    My position was daytime buffet waitress/shift leader and on that day i was the early waitress meaning i was the first to get off tables. It slowed down to where the other waitress and i both only had 2 tables on the floor so i told the manager i was off tables. Within 10 mins there were a few tables that came in back to back. I ended up sitting a table, took their drink orders, prepared them and went ahead and took it out to the table. I didn’t mind helping at that point. When it came to that table needing refills and noticing the other waitress was not going out there to refill (had not even made a apperiance to the table yet) i went ahead out there and gave them refills. I had then gone out back to where the assist. manager and another employee was at dued to the fact the manager was on the phone and stated what i had done and then asked who’s table should it be. She replied by that should be mine so i went back in and placed the ticket under my name. Went back out to do yet another refill and the other waitress then decided to go to the table and ask what were they drinking. I replied with “I got this”. She then proceeded to place that table in here name so therefore there were 2 tickets placed for one table. She took the tickets up to the manager who then had void out my ticket and kept the ticket under the other waitress (who had done nothing for this table but was getting the credit for it.) Ofcourse i got uspet, told her i didn’t think it was right/fair and proceeded with my work so i could clock out and go home.

    I’m going to back track just a bit on the history of my employement and experiance with this other waitress, which is what caused the dispute after what i had just written. I have been with this company for 5 1/2 years total, (having to leave once dued to school and again dued to my husband being military and we were relocated for 2 1/2 years.) This other waitress has been employeed there for 20+ years. I had not had a problem with this other waitress the previous times i was employeed there, but when i came back this last time (been back for almost 2 years) business had really picked up and i noticed her working ethics were much slower to the point of not being able to keep up which lead to the hostess and myself to pick up the work. I hear the hostess complain and i myself get frustrated having to constantly do her work but she gets the credit (tip) just by putting the ticket into her name and placing it on the table. Heck half the time the customers have to come up to the register for their ticket and a ticket has not been put into the system yet. If we were to complain to the manager on this waitress she would always consider it “knit picking”, and nothing is resolved. So for a good year i’ve basically bitten my tounge and just delt with it until just now.

    As i clocked out, started walking out the manager wanted to talk to me and i replied with right now isn’t a good time and continued to walk, i heard her say something but it wasn’t clear what was said so i sat in my car and started thinking if i didnt go back in, i might get introuble for not talking to her then. Still upset i went back in. She explained to me how she had gave that ticket to the other waitress because i was off table, and me (not thinking clearly at that time to tell her i had told the assistant manager) responded with i dont think it’s right to do all that work and she’s getting credit for it, then from that everything from the previous year came out on how everyone was doing her work, cleaning her tables, sitting, drink orders, taking drinks out and refills. Ofcourse it’s the hostess position to sit customers but as far as everything else it should be the waitress responsibility (unless it is extreamly busy and should have had a third waitress, then yes hostess has to put more work into it and help out.) I was as much involved in doing her work as the hostess was because the table are split right down the middle basically, i have one side and she has the other. My side is where the majority of the customers come through the door so if the hostess is not avaliable, im pretty much the next person in line to greet/seat, therefore i do have to sit customers in her section, take drink order, pass it on and that should be it, but it’s not for the most part.

    Anyways with me disputing everything to my manager, it was not taking into privot which it should had been. There is not a office to go to so it’s something that should have been taking outside or out of range of other employees but it wasn’t and the other waitress among other employees heard everything. The manager had told me herself that she wished we could have taking it somewhere else because now the other waitress know’s how i felt about her working ethics. She had also said she wishes i wouldn’t have come back in when i walked out eariler, (told me her response to my saying “not right now” when she asked me to talk, her reply was “ok i’ll talk to you the next time i see you.”) So i guess we’re both kinda at fault for how it was handled.

    After my 24 hr suspension, she called me in, and basically said she doesn’t know how the other waitress and i can work around each other esp with the other waitress knowing how i feel, which i agreed. The manager and i are friends when it comes to outside of work but in the business place, it’s business. I can see where i’m at fault for placing the ticket in my name, and informing the wrong person. Should have taking it to the manager instead of assit. manager. The dispute should have been private but instead was made public so i do take parcial fault in that too.
    My problem now is how to fill out “reason for leaving” when i go to fill out another application?
    I did ask the manager dued to that, will that give me a bad reputation on future references, and she said, normally when people call for references, she would inform them basically that i was always on time, did my work to the fulliest, ect. Only down fall would be if they were to ask if i i would be rehired, she would have to say no.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Stephanie, Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter. You ask a great question – What should you write on the application about why you left the restaurant?

    Prior to me answering your question, I would go back to the manager and ask why they would not hire you again. Especially if they hired you two previous times. That may help you understand how to frame your response to the question.

    Also, did they fire you or did you quit? If they fired you for cause, than you will have to admit that you were let go. Make sure that is not the last thing you say. Speak about where you made some mistakes in the situation you described above. Be brief. They do not need all of the details. Also, it always helps when you share what you have learned as a result of what happened.

    Lastly, towards the end of your comment you admit to where you are accountable for what happened, that is good. Share those things with the hiring manager. Please feel free to leave another comment to answer my questions and I will be happy to respond directly to thise question.

    Interview Guru

  • Angie

    Great webiste and wanted to get some feedback on my own situation.

    I was in a position for only a month and was fired last Tuesday. Before I started the job, I went for some routine tests that I felt would be fine (as they had always come back fine). My second week into the job, I learned that I had some A-typical cells and that they were potentially cancerous and I needed more tests. With my new job, benefits didn’t start for another two months and so I didn’t know what to do to help with the upcoming tests I would have to get. I went in and spoke with the Admin and owner of the company, asking if I could pay in 100% for the benefits. I was denied and was told by the owner that the “amount of the tests do not matter to me, what matters is your health so go get them done and we’ll deal with the bill later.” To me, that meant that she might help me with the payments and in some way (overtime or weekends) I could pay them back. So I went and had the tests done. A few more weeks went by and life in the office was fine. Then last week — a bomb was dropped. I was called into the conference room and was told that I was being let go because I didn’t fit into their “community.” It was a relatively small office (about 6 people) and I kept to myself, sat on the phone and did my work, which was required of me. They started citing very ridiculous reasons, like I was late several times, which was untrue; that I was recycling in the office (yes.. RECYCLING!!) and taking bottles and cans that belonged to people in the office (they were THROWING THEM AWAY!!!); that I was rude (which really upset me because I’m the kind of person who ALWAYS says “I’m sorry to bother you, but…” before I ask a question); that I was on the computer too much (I did admit that I used the computer a little bit more than I normally did as I was researching information, but there’s nothing in the handbook that says you couldn’t use it and there were other people in the office using the internet to watch full-length tv shows, check profile pages, etc.). As you can see, lots of the reasons are far-fetched. What I question is – on the application where you list the employer, underneath is a question oftentimes that says “May we contact this employer as a reference?” Is it bad to say No. To be honest, as this is a small company and the Admin didn’t like me and pretty much used her magic to get me out of there illegally (as I had a potential medical condition that she saw boosting their insurance premiums skyward), I don’t know that she wouldn’t be discreet in her screening of potential calls of employment for me.

    Also, I didn’t get to have a true exit interview and was made to sign a document that I didn’t get to read until after I left. I wrote a response as an Exit interview to the owner of the company. What are your thoughts in sending something like this after the termination as the form I signed was written by her Assistant (who didn’t like me) and many of the allegations are false

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Angie, Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter. I am glad that you like what you see.

    My recommendation for your situation is that you should contact the owner of the company and find out from him/her directly how they handle employment verifications. For a small business with so few people, I would guess they either tell all, or tell nothing, depending on how much they want to remain in business. If you were on the job for a short time – one month – no legitimate organization would believe all of the foolishness they could potentially share.

    Contact the owner before you do anything, including the letter. Find out what will be said. That will help you determine what you should say. Don’t worry about an exit interview. With a small company, they obviously don’t carry about that. Sending letter will not change anything at this point. A conversation is better.

    Let me know what you find out after speaking with the owner. I look forward to hearing back from you.

  • Angie

    Thanks for the quick response! Wow!

    Here’s the problem: It’s a very small office meaning one of three people will pick up the phone. When they do, it’ll be the Assistant (who hated me and wanted me gone and will hang up on me), the receptionist (who is the Assistant’s best friend, and of course, will probably hang up on me), or the guy in charge of data (who is the brother-in-law of the Assistant.. do you see where I’m going with this?). I feel very uncomfortable calling there to speak with the owner because of this situation. Should I have someone call in as if they were doing an employment verification on me? I was told by someone at our local Careerlink office that no one can go into details about your time at a company UNLESS you listed them as a Professional Reference, not as a company background check reference. I didn’t list this company as a reference at all, but had to list them on my applications for new jobs, explaining to the new company that they were not a good fit, I made mistakes and am moving on.

  • Frank

    I have a pretty unique situation, and I could really use your advice.

    At 20 years old, I was “terminated with cause” from a seasonal fire fighting job in California in August of 06. To make a long story short, I made a mistake, and it cost me my job. I appealed the decision to the unit and was unsuccessful in getting my job back. When it was all said and done, I was told that I did not follow an order. I was given one last appeal to the state personnel board to remove the “with cause” designation from my termination which would give me the same designation every firefighter receives after their season is over. But before this last appeal, I enlisted with US Air Force as a firefighter. I decided that if I had been fired for not obeying an order, than 4 years of carrying out and obeying orders in the military would do me justice. Well, as it turns out, before this appeal ever went to court, the fire dept. settled with me and removed the “with cause” from my termination. And now, over two years later, Im finishing my first deployment in Bulgaria getting ready to head back to England. So here is my question.

    Every application for every job asks, have you ever been fired or forced to resign from a position? What box do I check? On one hand I fought a long hard battle to remove the “with cause” termination from my record so that I would never have to check that box “yes.” On the other hand, my reason for leaving that position is because of my termination “with cause”

    Becoming a firefighter these days is a very competetive process. I would hate for my application to be red flagged or not given an interview because of this incident. Because the “with cause” designation was removed from my termination, my personnel file shows having never been fired, but should I say as to my reason for leaving the position?

    Your advice would be very much appreciated, thank you for your time

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Frank! Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter yesterday. What a great question and unique situation as you stated. Here are my thoughts:

    I believe that you should be honest about why you left the organization. It happened 20 years ago. The one thing I would not say is that you were terminated “for cause”. You can say you were let go or terminated. Follow it up with an explanation of your learning from the situation. Be accountable without giving a lot of details. For example, “I was terminated for not following orders 20 years ago. Since than it has not been a problem. I have learned the importance of authority and following orders. I learned that in the military. I have not been terminated since then and it is not a problem for me today.” If all you can do is mark it on an application, make sure you put the date of the termination. Most good people will not hold you accountable for past behavior -20 years ago. They are looking for current issues, or what I call valid data. Valid data has to do with evaluating issues that have occurred in the last 30, 60, 90 days or in the case of a job situation within the last 2-3 years.

    Integrity is everything and like many industries, Firefighting is a small community of people. Everyone knows everyone. In your case, you had the “with cause” removed from your records, so I would not volunteer that information to the hiring manager. However to not say you were terminated will create a problem. It only takes one person remembering you and telling your story and now you have a new issue that can affect current job opportunities. Your termination was 20 years ago. It should not get in the way of you getting a job today. Especially if you have current job experiences that you can share.

    Ultimately, how you say what you say matters. Your integrity matters. Please let me know if this helps. I am happy to answer any additional questions you may have.

  • Frank

    Thank you, I really appreciate your advice. Actually though, 20 years was how old I was at the time of the incident. I am 22 years old now. This happened almost 2 and a half years ago. I understand that stating I was terminated as to my reason for leaving this position is the honest answer and I am prepared to explain myself. But what do you suggest I mark in the section of the application where it asks, “Have you ever been fired or forced to resign from a position?” Again, the termination “with cause” was removed from my record. Would I still be correct if I answered “no” as to have ever being fired or forced to resign and still stating that the termination was my reason for leaving this position?

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Frank, I apologize for missing some very pertinent details when reading your first comment/question.

    The answer to the question on the application is “yes” – you have been fired, you need to say “yes” even though the records about “for cause” has been removed, it doesn’t eliminate the fact that you have been fired. “No” would be dishonest. The “for cause” clause does not change the answer to the question. When asked about why you were terminated, you need to be honest about the fact that you did not follow orders. You would still have the opportunity to communicate why you didn’t follow the orders given. It happened two years ago, not twenty, you may have some difficulty convincing people that you have changed significantly over the last two years. That’s my two cents!

  • Cino

    I was fired and I have no clue what to tell my next potential employer. My team lead said I left 10 min early one day. I did not and had proof that I did not. The next day they sent me home. Saying I had falsified my time. I had not and had proof. They said they would call me back but wanted to look over a few things. I was put on leave with pay. I found out from a coworker that they were cleaning out my work space 2 days later. On the 4th day they called me for a meeting and fired me for poor performance. Every review I ever had was excellent to the point of above and beyond…… any idea?

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Cino, Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter. I apologize for the delay in responding to your question.

    Here are some questions for you:

    1. Do you have a copy of the performance reviews?
    2. What proof do you have concerning the time issue that they have used to move you out of the company?
    3. Are there any other data points that they can fall back on as a justification for termination?

    If you have documentation to support the unjust suspension/termination, than I would recommend you contact HR. Proof typically helps to bolster your argument.

    The biggest obstacle you face is getting other potential employers to discuss their job opportunity with you if they know that you have been terminated. You may want to put together information concerning the unfair incidents.

    Send a response for my additional quetions and I will get back to you offline.

  • Rose

    I am an RN and a quality RN but I just found out as I resigned a position a couple of weeks ago, that a previous employer earlier this year that I resigned is reporting that I am not re-hirable. This puts a negative on me and I know that this employer did this out of spite due to the fact that I would not stay with the position as it was a real risk to my professional integrity to do so. What do I do about this to keep future employers from assuming there is something wrong with me or my credentials?

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Rose,

    Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter today! You ask a very interesting, and unique question. Here are my thoughts and recommendations for you!

    First, based on your comment, I am assuming that you have had a job since the one you are referring to. If my assumption is correct, again based off your comment, than the previous employer, the most recent previous employer is the one you want to focus on when applying for jobs. The previous employer who has made you unrehireable is an issue, but not as a big of an issue if you have had a subsequent employer.

    What happened in the in the most recent job that you made you resign? Why did you resign from the other position? These questions are most important. If you can articulate the reason for your resignations, it shouldn’t matter for future employers as long as you do quality work. Please leave an additional comment with your reason for resignation. It may help me assess better how you want to move forward when pursuing new employment. I look forward to hearing from you!

  • Rose

    Thank you for your response. I finally resigned my subsequent position, as the gossip coming from some employees of the previous employer started me off with such negative with the staff I was to supervise that after 5 months I was totally emotionally exhausted and constantly felt I was dealing with an unwinable situation that was affecting my health.

  • Pingback: New Year’s Resolutions for the “Conscientious Job Seeker”

  • Jessica

    I just got fired friday afternoon. Didn’t see it coming either. After working my butt off for my boss, covering for his screw-ups, and making him look good for his boss… I get the axe. He did nothing to help me out in my termination meeting either, he just sat there and nodded his head. Meanwhile, I’m sitting there, a nervous wreck with knots in my stomach in disbelief that I’m actually getting fired. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I had violated a company rule, but for doing my job?? I tried to be strong, yet I cried all the way home. I’m still in a state of shock over this too. Not sure what I even want to do yet, but concerned that a future employer will ask “Why did you get fired?”

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Jessica,

    I am sorry to hear about your termination. I am happy to help if I can. My first question for you, what did they say in the meeting? Did they give you specific reasons for the termination? Are you rehirable?

    Given the current climate in the employment market, your termination will not necessary be looked unfavorably. There are so many people losing their jobs for reasons that can’t be explained except for the economic downturn.

    Let me know more information about the termination meeting.


  • Samira

    I was unjustly fired from a job for misconduct of policy. This was follow up of that I asked for transfer or resigned (Coz of my supervisor didn’t like me, and make always a very difficult situation for me). Day after my request, I went to doctor, and doctor told me that I am stressed out and have to stay at home for few days. I contact employee and let them know about it, and also contact human resource and asked for advice, she promised me to come back to when she get contact with my manager. But she never called me back, end of the week I called her and she told me there wasn’t opportunity to get an answer for me, and she promised me she will call me later of day, but that never happened. Saturday morning my manager leave a massage in my cell phone, and asked very friendly that can you please on Monday before you go to work come to min desk, me and supervisor want to speak to you.
    I thought they are going to discuss my request or talking about how make the situation better, but on Monday when I was there, the manger very friendly asked me to wait for her in conference room, after few minutes they come to me and give my termination to me. Now I am very sick and scared and depress for if nobody want hire me again, what going to happen to my family, specially my son. Can you please tell how I can explain the situation in my interview or in application?
    I did wrong I should leave my resign instead for trust human resource. Please help me out. I need very strongly your advice.

  • Kristen

    I saw several questions about how to answer the question on an application “have you ever been fired or asked to resign?” You say this is uncommon, which may be true, but for many of the applications I have recently encountered, the question remains. My question is the same as one I saw above. I was offered a chance to resign rather than being terminated, however the process was initiated by someone higher up than my supervisor, who has offered to be a reference for me and encouraged me to list her on my new applications. I have been answering the asked to resign question as yes, despite both of my parents telling me not to, as they believe that being offered the chance to resign is somehow different that being asked to do so. I am looking for confirmation that I am the one who is correct – being offered the chance to resign to avoid termination is essentially the same as being asked to resign and thus, the question should be answered yes. My other question is, should I do anything more than listing my supervisor as a reference to indicate that my supervisor would hire me to do any other position except the one I was fired from (which, I admit, I was not any good at)?

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Kristen,

    Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter tonight. Here is my concern before I attempt to answer your question. If the supervisor above your supervisor initiated your resignation, and they are offering to be a reference, that can be a good thing. However before agreeing to use her/him as a reference, make sure they are really in your corner and will support you in your job search. Ask a few more questions. For example, ask this supervisor, “how will you describe my performance to a potential hiring manager or recruiter?” Listen to the answer they give you. If it is not affirming or doesn’t communicate positive things, than you do not want this person as a reference. Listen to word choices and make sure that they have your best interest at hand. Otherwise pass.

    As far as the question. If you were given an opportunity to resign and you were not terminated, than you quit/resigned and that is fine. However, you must confirm how the organization will code it. Are they coding you as a resignation or termination? What will they communicate to another organization when they verify your employment. You must know the answer to that question. If they will say you resigned and that you are rehirable, than you will be fine. However, if they code you in their system as termination which equals FIRED, than you must say you are fired. Call the HR people in the organization and ask them what they will say. They have to tell you.

    Let me know if you have any additional questions!


  • Julie Taylor

    I’m currently on a four day administrative leave from work and I’m certain that I will be fired with just cause. I’ve never been fired before or have done anything as stupid or dishonest as what I did with my job. I did something inexcusable that I am ashamed of. I knew I was going to be caught subconsciously and at some level I wanted to be caught.
    In just over a month I will be done with my college class and move to San Diego. What should I say on job applications or at interviews “why were you terminated?” question. I want to be honest but not passed over because of it. What could I say?

  • Kristen

    Darlene – thank you for your quick response. However, I believe I was unclear in my post. Allow me to clarify and see if this changes anything. The process to terminate was started by my supervisor’s supervisor. My supervisor, however, believes that I am an excellent employee who unfortunately just did not catch on fast enough to a very production oriented job. My supervisor thus asked her supervisor for permission to tell me that the termination process had started and offer me the chance to resign, at which point all record of the start of the termination process would be destroyed, and I would be treated as someone who resigned – i.e. getting all my accrued vacation and personal time paid out. HR has assured me this will happen as planned. It is my supervisor who has offered to be the reference and who has told me what things she will say. They are both complimentary and, I believe, an accurate depiction of my strengths. My supervisor (per her report) specifically asked to allow me to resign to avoid having the word “termination” in my file. From what you said above, it appears that this may, in fact, be different than being asked to resign. That is my fundamental question. Is being given the opportunity to resign (and thus reap the benefits which include not having the word termination in my record, getting to work a good 2 weeks longer than I would have otherwise, and getting all that paid time off paid out) different than being ASKED to resign (at least for the purpose of job applications that specifically ask if I was ever terminated or asked to resign)?

  • Darlene

    Hi Kristen, Thanks for the clarification. If the question on an application is, “Have you ever been asked to resign?” The answer is “yes”. I absolutely believe that you always be above reproach when asked a question, if the answer is yes, say yes. The details surrounding how it came to be how you resigned. You were asked to resigned and you took that option, the answer is “yes”.

    Your parents are looking at if through the lens of a technicality. However, the bottom line is the answer is “yes”. Be prepared to say what you said to me – “My supervisor, however, believes that I am an excellent employee who unfortunately just did not catch on fast enough to a very production oriented job.” This is a good answer for why you were asked to resign. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.


  • http://SoYouveBeenFired Denise

    Hi Darlene-
    I work in the retail industry as a Merchandise Planner and last week I was put on a Performance Improvement Plan. My supervisor claims that I lack confidence and the ability to influence others and that I lack presentation and communication skills. He told me he recognizes the effort and long hours I’ve put in, but these areas need to be improved upon. I’ve been given 30 days or less to show improvement or I will be terminated. Aside from feeling completely humiliated and embarrassed I can’t decide what is best in the long run. Do I quit so I don’t have the stigma of being fired or do I let them fire me so I can collect unemployment to survive? If I resign within the 30 days I fear that they will still say that I’m not rehirable since I’m on an improvement plan. Is it acceptable to ask my supervisor and/or HR what they will say to future employers verifying my employment while I’m still employed?

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Denise,

    Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter! You ask a good question. I have a couple of thoughts for you to consider. Do you agree with the performance issues that were discussed? Is this the first conversation regarding performance issues or were you surprised by the performance improvement plan?

    I would definitely recommend that you tread lightly when it comes to discussing your future plans with any of the people in the organization. Depending on the climate in your organization and the relationship you have with these people, will depend on how much conversation you want to have with them about your future plans.

    If you don’t believe that you can overcome the performance issues sited in the plan, my first recommendation is to see if you can find other employment while you are still working for this organization. That allows you to be proactive rather than waiting for them to make a decision about your future. If you feel like you can overcome the performance issues and you want to retain your job, I would recommend having a conversation with your supervisor and getting VERY clear expectations from them about what they are looking for over the next few weeks. Again, if you can meet the expectations and you want to keep the job, commit to making the change, ask for assistance and move forward.

    As far as quitting versus allowing yourself to be fired, I can’t answer that question. You have to decide what is most important to you in this crazy economy. If you don’t mind dealing with the issue of termination for future jobs, than hold on and see what they will do. If you don’t want to deal with the stigma associated with termination, than see if you can’t find a job and leave on your terms. The one question I didn’t ask, how long have you been working with this organization?

    That also plays a part in all of this. If you have been there for a long period of time, Severance Pay may be negotiated with them and that may help you leave. Mutual agreement works and given the current climate. If you can negotiate a severance package and again leave on your terms.

    Please let me know if you have any additional questions.


  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Julie,
    Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter. I apologize for taking so long to respond to your question. First, telling the truth is always the best bet. I have no idea what you did, but based on your comment, it is justified. Your only option is to tell the truth when you move and begin to complete applications. If it is not too embarrassing I would like to know what you did and why you decided to do it. More details will help me better determine how you should handle the situation when you move to San Diego.

    As far as you getting passed over in your job search, it may happen if you tell the truth but it is better to to tell the truth and not getting the job than it is to lie, get the job, and then lose the job when the organization finds out. So, without more information, my recommendation is to tell the truth, pray and learn from your decision and don’t do it again. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.


  • Biplob Kishore Deb

    Thanks for your nice advice.
    I agree with your in the fact that honesty works best when it comes to job interview. Sometimes, honesty brings something that a person does not deserve in terms of quality. In this period of economic recession, many people are losing jobs and finding it hard to manage a new one because all the companies are too much concerned about minimizing their costs in order to survive amidst the economic downturn.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Deb! Honesty can definitely hinder a prospective candidates ability to get hired, but it is better to be honest and get the job with “full disclosure” than to lie or omit critical data and find yourself back in the market for employment because you got caught. Take a look at the junior senator from Illinois. He is probably going to lose his senate seat because of omissions and half truths. You never know. We are in the business of extending grace to our elected officials. Maybe he will get a pass. For us regular folks, life and hiring managers are not always so accommodating for our missteps and omissions. I will always coach and recommend that job seekers tell the truth when asked a direct question. What is said and how it is said can either hurt you or help you. In the end, you will sleep better knowing that your job offer was obtained free dishonesty, misunderstandings, omissions and the like. Be accountable for your mistakes, grow from them and than learn to leverage them in the interview and hiring process.


  • Rita Gaiser

    To all–

    I’ve read many reccommendations on this type of thing because I myself am in a position where I was termindated unjustly because of evil people with their own agendas. I have no problem taking blame for something I’ve done wrong, but the best thing you can do is have a structured plan of action. The economy is in shambles right now, and you would be better off telling a potential employer you are 1 of 600,000+ that got “laid off” this week–they probably won’t think twice. These people aren’t the FBI and won’t go snooping around in every crack or crevice looking for dirt. You have 2 choices. Stretch the truth by saying laid off or tell them you were terminated. If you tell the truth it will raise red flags and you probably won’t get the job–unless lucky–but if you have a good plan of action and get hired, the employer isn’t going to go snooping around any further once you have joined the organization. Also, don’t say that you are looking to change your career or looking for better opportunities in today’s environment. A recruiter or whoever would think you are an idiot because this isn’t a booming economy. All in all say you were laid off and have a solid plan and references that can back you. If Bernie Madoff can still billions it shouldn’t be that difficult pulling this off. Would you go on a first date and tell a person you’re a cheater, or whatever? NO, because that would ruin your chances.

  • John Freeman

    This may be long, but I’ve been so called “terminated” a few months ago. This has caused me to be I would possibly say depressed? Ever since then, I’ve had nightmares every few days related to me interfacing with my former supervisor and work. I just don’t get it. Also, I’ve been on and off with feeling worthless, angry, etc. Anyways, I think all these mixed emotions are finally wearing off (took much longer than I would have liked). I don’t know how others are able to shrug off being let go so fast, and dive into looking for another job right away.

    Of course, they were nice about it and just said it was a company departmental restructuring. But of course, I was the only one “let go” at the time. However, that was inbetween group layoffs (company downsizing every few months recently). Anyways, I was able to collect unemployment. However, they would NOT tell me exactly why I was terminated since it’s an “at-will” employment state.

    So, how are you supposed to answer the question if you were fired/terminated/let go if you don’t even know exactly why? Can one just stretch the truth and say what they told me (in writing)? Do employers “really” go deep and ask, “So, were you FIRED or LAID OFF?” My educated guess would be to answer something like, “I was let go amongst layoffs”?

    I somewhat agree with the above poster by saying that in “today’s economy”, with the standard job outlook already poor, you may as well be shooting yourself in the foot by saying you were “fired”. I’m also still having a tough time distinguishing between the terms: fired, terminated, laid off. Because, in the end, you are out of a job.

    Lastly, I keep hearing “tell the truth” or you can be fired at any point if your future employer finds out, etc. How do employers actually find out exactly what happened to you with your former employer? Do they try to call and find out information about you? I spoke with my former company’s HR rep, and she claims they would only give out hire start/end dates, job title, and salary. She even went to say she would NOT answer if the candidate was “re-hirable” which I hear is the “indirect” question to find out if the person is worth hiring.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi John,

    Thank you for stopping by Interview Chatter! I am glad you left your post. Don’t worry about the length. I am glad to help where I can. Let me take your points one at a time.

    First, I am sorry to hear about the termination. I know it is a difficult thing to process when you are not clear about why you were let go. I have been there. Back in April of 2002, shortly after 9/11. I had never been terminated before or since, so it was a difficult thing and it changed the course of my life. It took me 6 months to process through the emotions and feel confident about who was and what I could bring to an organization. My point, you have to allow yourself to process through the emotions, the frustration, the questions. I do recommend that you talk to a friend or someone that can be a sounding board so that you can work through your issues with the termination. What you don’t want is to “leak” in an interview. If you have unresolved issues about the termination, it will get in your way in an interview. So allow yourself the time to work through it so that you can talk about it without having “breaks” or saying things out of your emotion.

    My next thought – Stretching the truth on this issue is not wisdom. Yes, you can leverage the fact that you were laid off in this market and that is why you are looking for a job. My caution to you, if they ask you a direct question tell the truth. For example, if they ask you, “have you ever been fired?” If the answer to that question is “yes”, say “yes”. Don’t leave the “yes” hanging in the wind. Follow it up with something about the challenging times we have in the economy. “I was let go, I am really not sure why. It wasn’t clear to me. However I can tell you what I did very well in this organization. My termination is a mystery to me. I didn’t even see it coming. But it as given me an opportunity to explore new opportunities…” And you haven’t left them with a “yes” I was fired. If you need clarification on this point, let me know.

    Next point, I will write a post about the differences between the terms, “fired, terminated, and laid off” Stay tuned. I will post it this weekend.

    Lastly, I am glad to hear that you spoke to an HR representative. EXCELLENT! That is critical information. You may want to have someone you know and trust, test the waters for you. Have them call and do an Employment Verification call to the organization. They should ask the pertinent questions, about dates, salary, re-hireable”, and anything else they can get out of them to confirm that what you were given is accurate. Once you know that they are only going to release general information, see point number two above. You should be ok navigating interviews without telling a detailed story of what happened.

    Please let me know if you have any additional questions! I look forward to hearing your success story!

  • Christopher

    How Do I Explain This In An Interview?

    I was terminated due to misconduct. However the situation is a little to much to explain to a person outside of certian circles.

    Here is what happened: As the work day was wrapping up, I found a co-workers phone in the office. This co-worker and I had a good friendship, and there was plenty of “man-type-banter” between the two of us, so I felt that a picture left on his phone would be funny. As we were all leaving work, he found the picture. He asked us who had taken the photo and showed it to the two other male employees I was at work with. After it was revealed I did it, we all chuckled about it, and the situation was over.

    Or so I thought…..

    Come to find out, one of the two employees thought that the entire situation was so funny, that he shared the story with another person. This person is the nephew of the plant manager, and that was exactly who he shared it with. Long story short, my manager mounted an inqisition and at the end of it all she was the only one that cared, but she considered the matter to be harrassing to fellow employees. She then promptly fired me.

    PLEASE HELP ME! I have a HUGE interview coming up, and I need to know what to say when I am asked, “Why were you fired?”.

  • http:// Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Christopher, Thank you for visiting Interview Chatter. If the details are as you have described, I don’t believe that you have anything to worry about in explaining this story. I can’t imagine how this organization can justify termination for the picture unless the picture was inappropriate and/or that the employee actually voiced some level of concern. I would say, tell the story shared above and talk about your accountability for taking the picture and whatever lessons learned from this experience.

    I would not attempt to skirt this issue or be afraid to share it. It is harmless in my opinion. It doesn’t make it any easier to swallow the termination but it is not as though you stole the phone or took an inappropriate picture. That’s about it. Let me know if you have any additional questions!


  • John


    I am in the same type of situation as many on this site. I was terminated even though HR won’t give me an answer. I really don’t trust my boss and she is immature, however some jobs ask for the contact information of your previous employer and this is where my my dilemma comes in. I really don’t want to put my boss, so should I put another person who works with the company that I trust that can vouch for me since it ask for the phone number and email. I don’t want to put our HR contact because that will look like I’m trying to hide something. Please let me know when you get a chance

  • no income for my family

    I was recently discharged .I filed for UE,employer is claiming I quit. his statement to ue reads like someone who was fired for misconduct???. UE denied my claim said i quit without notice. you don’t show up for work if you were fired.DAH!have a hearing. but I don’t know what to put on my job applications. sure quit betters my chances at a job but it’s not true. do I put dicharged employer claims I quit. any suggestion would be appreciated. my family is with out money and loseing hope.

  • Darlene McDaniel

    No Income for my family – I am sorry to hear about your situation. My recommendation is to re-confirm with HR what your termination status is. You may want to remind them of your last day, any conversation that was had by you and their representative, a boss or the HR person that terminated your employment. If after communicating with them, they say you quit, I am not sure what else you can do unless you have proof of what transpired that led to your termination. Once you have clarity, that is what you want to communicate. I am always supportive of the truth. If you are fine telling a potential employer that you were terminated, but they are saying you quit, I would recommend that you share a little more information with the potential employer so that they are not confused. I would love to hear more about what happened. You can send me an email offline. I may be able to assist you better if I have some clarity about what really happened. You can send an email to:

    Please let me know if I can answer any additional questions.

  • David R.

    This post is awesome! I was fired a month ago and have been up in arms over what to say to potential employers. In a recent interview and in a letter informing friends/family, I simply explained that I was “let go.” This is factual, although due to the economy everyone pretty much interpreted that to mean I was laid-off. I’ve found it hard to explain further with the truth but also agree the truth is best. Dancing around it has been an easy out.

    Now, in my line of work, applications generally come after an interview…meaning, rather than have to answer “Have you ever been fired?” I’m more likely to first be asked, “Why did you leave [job xyz]?” SO, HOW BEST DO I ANSWER THIS QUESTION?

    Thanks for the information about calling my previous employers HR department…I feel I need to know what they’ll say to potential employers. WOULD IT BE WISE TO ALSO ASK HOW THEY’D ANSWER A QUESTION ABOUT MY ABILITY TO BE RE-HIRED?

    BACKGROUND: I was terminated “with cause” do to some work performance issues after being placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). My former employer says my performance did not completely improve within the PIP time frame. However, the way it was explained to me, most of what they claim against me is based on “feedback” from former co-workers. In my termination meeting I was told there was “mixed” feedback about my performance. Now I have no problem taking responsibility for my own actions or lack-there-of, but I strongly feel I was terminated unjustly. This feedback came from evil people with their own agendas who lied about my performance. I have some documented proof that I was meeting the requirements in the PIP during the time frame.

  • phil di filippo


    My wife works as a teacher at a school district. Been teaching 10 years, but came to this district for the opportunity to teach drama and run and after school program at a highly rated high school. Started mid year last year. Had good reviews and hired back to teach this year. As a non tenured teacher is reviewed more frequently. Had good reviews at the beginning of this year. Then about the end of November started receiving bad reviews from all the adminstrators, Principal,V.P.’s and even the district fine arts chair. Upshot, the adminstration built a case and took only the bad reviews to the district human resources. As a non tenured teacher she did not get much help from the Union after she was told “resigned or be terminated” ie not asked back. Seeing no other option she submitted a letter of resignation.

    Ok, so now the question for you. She wants another teaching job, she probably won’t get a recommendation from the principal and she is going to run into the “have you ever been asked to resign” question on school district applications.

    How is she to answer this?

  • Darlene McDaniel

    David R. – Honesty is the best policy, especially given the current climate. If you get a job because people made an assumption and then somehow they find out something different than their assumption you may find yourself back in the job hunt. That being said, the HR information is critical. What they will say about you concerning being rehirable is very good information to get from them. They should be happy to tell you one way or the other, definitely ask!

    As far as what you say when they ask “why you left your last job?” You have to decide whether you want to be up front and tell them you were terminated. I recommend that you come up with a brief summary of what happened. Be accountable for your part in the termination, communicate what you learned and make a commitment to improve your performance in the next opportunity.

    Keep any reference to the evil people out of the discussion. Also make sure you communicate what you will bring to their organization. It is important that you articulate what you will bring that will add value to them before you yield the floor back to them. We may want to talk offline to talk about how to frame your conversation with a potential employer. Feel free to send an email if you would like additional information.

  • Darlene McDaniel

    Hi phil di -

    She wants another teaching job, she probably won’t get a recommendation from the principal and she is going to run into the “have you ever been asked to resign” question on school district applications.

    How is she to answer this? As I have said in some of the other comments, she has to answer truthfully. But before I say more about that, let me say this – she can get another job in the school district. I don’t know one school district that doesn’t need teachers. She has 10 years of experience. I am assuming that there have not been issues in the past. Does she have a copy of the good evaluations? They may help her with other teaching opportunities.

    Back to the applications, as stated, she needs to answer truthfully. This is not the time to be dishonest. Employers are not at the mercy of the employees. Your wife has more going for her than against given her experience. She does need to be able to speak about the situation with a positive spin. It is critical that she doesn’t “bad mouth” the administration even if they were unfair, or the termination was unjust. She has to find a way to be accountable for her part, and at the same time what she may have learned from the experience. Lastly, because of her previous experience I would recommend that she draw from her previous experience in her interviews. I truly believe she can get a job. Please stop by again and let me know! I would love to hear her story.

    If she needs assistance, I am a career coach. I coach by phone. I would be happy to assist.

    • Eve

      I also was “asked to resign” from my teaching position. I only have 2 yrs experience. I am not sure how to make this a positive thing on my application with so little experience. I was layed off and rehired after my first year, staying in the same building but switching to elementary and to a new supervisor. His way of dealing with things were different and when I tried to solve things on my own he saw me as unprofessional, uncollaborative, and insubordiante. My previous principal works in the same building and has taken his side on things so I cannot even use her though we worked well together and I have positive evaluations from her. I really do not know where to go!!

  • Millicient

    Hello. I came across your article. My contract as a reference and instruction librarian was not renewed. I’ve been in a downer, even though it’s been almost 2 years. I got free lance work as a researcher. Now I want to return to work in the same capacity. I applied for similar positions at other libraries, to no avail. I suspect that the HR at the former library did not recommend me. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated

  • Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Millicent, I am would love to assist you but I need a lot more information. I am available as a coach if you need ongoing assistance. Please send me an email with a little more detail. It is hard to give any recommendations without a little more information. My email address:

    I look forward to hearing from you!

  • Rita

    I am a internet application developer.I was unemployed for 6 months after finishing a 4 year contract at a big company. I felt guity about receiving unemployement allowance and worked very hard to find another job. I found a job but the manager was very bad. I reported on him to the VP. After a month he found some logos of my previous company in the new application that i developed for this new company. And they fired me immediately on the basis of misconduct instead of asking me to remove the logos from the directory. The manager was testing the application every day but did not ask me to remove the logos and complained aginst me to the higher management.
    After leaving the job I have to travel to a different country because of some family problem and I found a job in a different country. I am planning to come back in Aug and look for new job. should i include that 2 months of experiance in the employemt application when i apply for new jobs? If i do not include that experiance will backgroud checks reveal my termination?
    Please advice.

  • Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Rita,

    Thank you for visiting Careers today. I have a question for you. How long have you been working the job out of the country? Your answer doesn’t necessarily change the answer that I have for you questions, however your length of employment outside of the country can help you as you transition back to the US and begin your job search. As far as your question – YES, you should include the two month job on your resume and/or applications. Why? Because a background check will uncover the job. It may not necessarily uncover the fact that you were terminated, however if the job pops up on a background check and you didn’t disclose it, you have now jeopardized any potential job offers. The organization will not ask lots of questions about why you didn’t disclose the information. What they will do is question why you didn’t tell them about it. No matter what you would say, you have given them a perception that you are dishonest and trying to hide something.

    If you have been employed for a year or more outside of this country, most people hiring managers will be interested in discussing your current, previous job, rather than the 2 month job. Please let me know if you have any additional questions!


  • defiant

    So I recently resigned from a job a worked at 8 years for and I contacted the unemployment office in California and I find out that my last job reported me as terminated for not showing up. I turned a signed resignation to a manager and it seems like they are breaking a law. Any help would be appreciated, thanks

  • What do I do??

    I came across your site looking for suggestions on how to handle my personal situation. I would appreciate any help/advice you could provide. In August I was laid-off from a previous employer that I had worked for for 4 years (I left a job that I was employed at for 10 years to move the that company). I was devastated. Although I know the economy has been in a shambles, this was a small company and I considered quite a few of the upper management “friends.” Anyway, 3 weeks later I was fortunate enough to be offered a position in another small family owned company. Three of us worked in the office. I felt comfortable initially, and then I noticed if I tried to make suggestions about any changes or improvements, the office manager (one of the other 2 individuals that worked in the office with me) would get defensive. I would comment that it was just a suggestion and they in turn would say that I was being defensive because I “lacked confidence” in my position. I have extensive experience in this industry (15+ years) and I am very confident in my abilities.

    Anyway, long story short, I asked to have an office meeting and discuss the tension that was evident. It was addressed that I am very defensive…how do you defend that?? Being MORE defensive?? :) It ended on a positive note (or so I thought. Two months later and with no formal indication whatsoever I was let go this past Friday for what the owner’s husband referred to as they were “not confident that I would be able to handle it when we get busy.” I stated that I felt I was doing fine and he said “yes, but we aren’t busy.”

    I have never (not even as a teen) been fired from a position. I feel it had more to do with my compensation and ambitions (which led to tension betwen myself and the office manager) than anything to do with my abilities. I was never notified, formally or otherwise, that I needed to improve my performance, and now I have to inform future employment opportunities that I was fired due to performance issues.

    I’m not sure how to effectively handle this and would appreciate any advice you can provide. I’m having nightmares about how I am going to handle UE as well…I have never collected before (my previous lay off was only 3 weeks) and I’m not sure how this would affect my benefits…

  • Darlene McDaniel

    Hi What do I do! Thank you for visiting bizzia Careers! My first recommendation is that you contact the owners and find out what they are going to communicate to future employers who want to verify your employment. Don’t assume that you. Part of the reason you have anxiety about this situation is because you are dealing with an unknown. What will they say about me? Ask them before you assume that they will say negative things. If you don’t have performance issues, then don’t communicate that you were terminated for performance issues unless that is what they tell you they are going to say.

    My second recommendation to you is don’t let the foolishness of the people in that office move you from being confident in your skills and abilities. Use the experience to help you better prepare for the next organization. Ask questions to ensure that you understand the climate of the next organization. You obviously need to be in an organization that embraces a collaborative approach to the work. Make sure that as you interview for jobs, you take the time to interview the organization.

    As far as what you say about this organization that let you go with no notice, no indication that there was performance issue or that there was even a concern about your employment, once you know what they are going to say, that will give you information about what you need to say. Keep in mind that we are currently in a season where people are getting laid off. Most of the people being laid off are being laid off without any information about why they were let go. That is the situation that you find yourself in. Everyone who is fired is not fired for performance issues. Organizations are letting people go just to let people go. As long as the organization isn’t going to communicate that there were performance issues, you should be fine saying, “I was laid off. The reason for my lay off was not made clear to me.” And than swiftly transition into discussing your value as an employee. That is one of the most critical things for you to remember right. Despite the fact that this other organization didn’t find value in you as an employee, does not minimize your value. And let me also say, you can and will get a job in this market. Go after it, don’t let this situation get in your way or in your head.

    Please feel free to stop by again and let me know what you find out from the organization. If you have any other questions, I am happy to address them. Have a great night!


  • Val

    I was recently asked to sign a resignation or be fired. My union rep advised me to resign to avoid the negative comment on my file. However, when I applied for UE, I was denied, the letter stating I was “discharged for misconduct.”

    Here’s the situation. I’ve worked at a pharmacy with a clean record for 8 years. Then a customer came in and was being very verbally abusive to a coworker. When I asked him to stop and leave, he would not. He continued to be abusive and I pushed him away from my coworker. There is a “no contact” policy at my workplace and the installed camera caught the push, but unfortunately did not catch the customer’s actions. I was led in to HR by a detective, explained the situation and after my union rep advised me, signed a resignation. That was all I signed. Nothing more was said to me about UE or anything. In filing for UE, I stated I resigned, but instead of “voluntary termination” my employer reported a misconduct charge to UE and my UE was denied.

    I live in California and it is my understanding that my former employer can only give dates of my employment and salary to any other potential employer. Is this true? Can my former employer say I am not “rehirable” as well or state I was terminated? Also, since there is a letter of resignation ONLY (on which I stated I resigned and the date ONLY), is the pharmacy engaging in illegal activity by telling UE I was terminated for misconduct? Please help me.

  • Tiffany

    Hello Darline I am stating the same questions that many other ppl had stated before about applying online and what would be a good way of saying that Iwas terminted.

    I had an argument with another employee and I was suspended for five days and when I came back they fired me. I had great attendence and I was not on a final and to mysself I felt that it was wrong. This is Ikea a very well knnown stown store. I had previously work for home depot my first job..I had left home depot to go to ikea. When I seem to interview at other retailers such as best buy, the children place. etc the first thing they say you work for Ikea and why did you leave.

    from that point on I tell them the truth but I think I talk alot

    I was just wondering when ask that question is there a better way to say i????? and would there be a better way then writing terminated on my application.

    would you be able to send me the e-mail that you send other people on here pertaining to what to say on the application process

    Thank you


  • Emily

    I have a teaching degree but have only taught 1 year at a private high school. My husband is military so it’s hard to constantly find new jobs. That being said, when we moved to our new home here in Nebraska I was hoping to find a job teaching immediately but I’ve been applying to school districts within an hour radius for almost 2 years now! About a month after we moved here, I realized I wasn’t going to find anything right away even though it was August, so I obtained a job at an elite private preschool working with 4 year olds. My degree is for middle and high school students but I thought little ones might be more fun and help me keep up my classroom skills.

    All that being said, this past week I was “asked to resign” after being on a probationary status for using “negative reinforcement” such as telling students they will lose “center time” if they continued their negative behavior. I’m used to older students and I guess I’m just not warm and fuzzy and willing to give rewards for negative behavior. They said they appreciated my loyalty and work but they could tell I was just trying too hard and it shouldn’t be that hard to teach little ones. Of course I was trying hard, I was on probation! Anyways, I worked for them for almost 2 years now so I don’t really know what to put on my resumes. I also, like most of the posters here, feel like I’m in limbo. I have a degree that’s almost worthless since there aren’t any teaching jobs, there isn’t a need for subs and the only jobs open are for preschool. On my last application for a school district this week I answered the “Have you ever been FIRED or ASKED TO RESIGN” question as “Yes, but XYZ school and I had a mutual parting because we both believe I would do better teaching older students. Is that a good answer?

    Sorry this is so long but I guess I just needed someone to listen. I applied for Unemployment but don’t know if it will be approved since I was on probation and asked to resign. I’ve always loved teaching and had great rapport with my students, co-workers and staff so I feel very hurt and they make me seem like an ogre. Okay, enough whining but thanks for listening!

    • tonysam

      Truth is, you will be lucky if you EVER find a teaching job ever again in the United States. There is a reason virtually ALL schools and school districts ask the “have you ever” question–it is to screen you out. Few teachers are fired for real “misconduct.” You will be lucky if you make it to the interview if you have to fill out an application first. There are too many people chasing too few jobs in this field.

  • http://Bizzia Melissa

    I have over 20 years of experiene in hotel management and was fired from my last job due to their “going in a different direction.” I was granted unemployment as they had no substantial reason for the firing but I am sure that my record with them is listing me as not rehirable. Problem is, this employer is the Kemmons Wilson Co., founders of the famous hotel chain, and anyone in this business that I am applying with would give great credence to their recommendation (or not). If I do not list the job, I am asked to explain that period of unemployment. I have not been able to obtain a job since that termination in 2007. What would you suggest?

  • Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Tiffany, Thank you for visiting bizzia Careers. I apologize for my delay in responding to your comment. First, you will need to say terminated. That is better than saying fired. As far as what to say. You want to be as brief as possible and yet be clear about what happened. You absolutely must take responsibility for what happened, even if it was the other person’s fault. You must be accountable. Any blaming of the other person, will kill your chances in the interview. I don’t have anything to send to you, however, you are welcome to send me an email about what you are saying and I will help you craft and answer that will help you on your next interview. You can send me an email at I look forward to hearing from you.


  • plss

    Hi Darlene. I was terminated almost a month ago after 22 successful years at a large California bank. Over the years I had received great performance reviews, awards, promotions and even my VP title. My record was clean and I had taken no losses, prior to the cause of my termination. I was dedicated and reliable, honest and dependable and had earned a great reputation. Then the roof fell in when our Priority Department took a large loss due to a case of identity theft. I was involved in a minor role with one of the three transactions making up the loss. I was terminated along with three other bank officers. Three of us,including myself, were also managers. This has been a devastating experience but I gamely posted my newly created resume on Monster and Careerbuilder as well as directly at some bank and other company websites. I have applied for positions in various industries, not only banking, and I think my resume is presentable, but I am receiving no call-backs and I am wondering if my former employer is being contacted and is stating I am not eligible for rehire. I am, as discussed in earlier blogs, prepared to tell the truth of my termination, but how do I get the opportunity? I appreciated the earlier mention of answering the “Fired?” question with wanting to be given the opportunity to discuss in person, but how do I get past whatever roadblocks my previous employer has erected? Or, am I being overly sensitive and maybe I’m not being called back due to my qualifications or other reasons? Finally, I’ve read everyone’s great blogs but I am still confused what to answer when asked why I left my previous position. Termination seems to be my first, and most honest response, but others have said just that “It was time to move on” which is true also but clearly not totally honest and certainly won’t be believed in these economic times. I have many positive references thanks to my years of networking, will this help my cause? Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer.

  • Darlene McDaniel

    Hi plss, Thank you for visiting bizzia Careers this afternoon. Let me start by saying first, you are wasting your time posting your resume on Careerbuilders and Monster. That was how we used to get a job before the social media/social networking swirl we live in today. Do you have a profile on LinkedIn? If so, how active our there are you with massaging your networking and connecting to people who are decision makers? You can not continue to push your resume and cover letter out there and hope someone will call you. It doesn’t work like that anymore. The name of the game is networking, both in person and electronically through the world of the internet. I don’t know if your former employer is being contacted. I doubt it. That doesn’t usually happen until they, organizations are interested in offering you an opportunity for employment. I believe that your resume and cover letter are in the proverbial black hole of the internet. You will not find a job at the level you are looking for through traditional methods of job seeking. I will send you an email, please forward your resume and cover letter and I will review it. I will give you my take on it and make a few recommendations. You can take them or leave them, but I believe you are marketable without even seeing your resume. It is a matter of your job search strategy that is in your way. We will speak again. Thanks for stopping by!


  • Ange

    I was recently fired from an orders/customer service position for missing an order sent via email, that cost the company to expedite to customer. I know that these costs are a very common occurance under many different circumstances, and feel that I was actually terminated over comments on my facebook page about wanting to be a stay at home mom. These comments were brought to my boss by coworker with a personal vendetta. I am also pregnant and would have been taking maternity leave. Are these details I should share with a prospective employer or simply indicate I was terminated over a missed order? I was an otherwise hardworking competent employee, and I am very distraught that this will ruin my chances of future employment.

    • Jessica

      Ange, I was fired from my job 2 years ago and it was due to a coworker that was extremely jealous of my position in the company. Unbeknown to me, she sabotaged my work, made up lies, and in the end.. got me fired. I thought that getting fired would mark me for future employment, but it didn’t. I did get a new job despite what this vindictive woman did to me.

  • Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Val,

    Thank you for stopping by bizzia Careers. I don’t know the specific laws for CA, however I do know that an employer could and I know employers do tell if an employee is not rehireable. Unfortunately, every organization is different. So I can’t speak for your previous organization. My recommendation to you is that you contact HR and the union rep and see if you can’t work through the way your termination has been coded. If they refuse, than you need to decide if you have enough to warrant hiring an attorney. Than you need to decide if you are ready and willing to fight with the organization. I also found a website that may have information for you regarding unemployment in CA. Here is the link: Please come back and share your story. I would like to hear the outcome.


  • Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Melissa, Thanks for visiting bizzia Careers. The first thought that comes to mind is don’t leave the job off of your resume. Why? Because you will need to explain the gap. The problem is – in order to explain the gap you will have to make up a story that is untrue. Which therefore puts you on a very slippery slope. Don’t go there. You have to work through your job search with that loss of the job in play when interviewing with for job opportunities.

    I suggest you choose a different group of hotels outside of the Kemmons Wilson Co. and I suggest you use networking to your advantage. Start talking to people who know people you need to know. You can network your way into a job opportunity. LinkedIn is a great place to start networking, however it is not the only place. Who do you know in the industry that is an ally and that would be willing to assist you with getting your foot in the door.

    My second suggestion is to take your skill set and apply it in a different industry. Who else can use your skill set and that will be willing to pay for what you bring. The last thing I would recommend is that you get very clear about your accountability in the situation that led to your job loss. It is important that you are clear about your accountability. I am assuming you have had some interviews, though I am not sure based on the information you shared. If you have, and they are not producing job offers, than there is an issue about what you are sharing in the interview in and around this termination.

    If you are interested in my assistance as a coach, I specialize in working with job seekers who have been terminated, please let me know. I am available for 30 minute sessions and 60 minute sessions. You can send me an email at

    Good luck in your job search!


  • Darlene McDaniel

    Hi Emily, Thank you for visiting bizzia Careers. I apologize for my delayed response to your comment. I wanted to think about it before responding. First thing, YES, your response is good. There is no problem saying that it was a mutual agreement. One thing I would recommend is that you do is verify how the organization coded your termination. Will they say it was mutual? Are you coded as not rehireable? That is important information for you to know so that you are consistent with information they will find out about you.

    I would definitely keep pursuing teaching opportunities. If you love to teach and you enjoy teaching older kids, than that is what you need to pursue. When you discuss the issue with the previous school, you can say that it was not a good fit. You can say that your desire is to teach middle school/high school age children and you now know those are the opportunities you should pursue moving forward. I would keep looking for substitute positions as well. They can lead to full time employment. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.


Be Sociable, Share!