Interviewers often ask, “Why were you fired?” to better gauge your suitability for the position. It’s important to be truthful without revealing too much information when answering this question.

If you have ever been fired from a job and are now looking for a new one, you must be prepared to properly answer this question, as you’ll need to walk a fine line.

To reduce stress and feel more prepared, you can use the information in this article to craft a thoughtful and effective response, and you’ll also be able to use the sample responses written by our HR experts.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • By asking, “Why were you fired?” potential employers can learn more about the candidate’s integrity, sense of duty, and drive for growth.
  • Think about asking for feedback, being honest, remaining optimistic, and showcasing your growth as a person to craft an engaging response.
  • Accepting responsibility, resolving disagreements, overcoming personal obstacles, reconciling value differences, and making a professional change are all possible answers.
  • Be prepared for the “Why were you fired?” question by practicing your answers, watching your body language, keeping your answers brief, and avoiding any offensive words.

Why Employers Ask “Why Were You Fired?” Question?

In interviews, the question “Why were you fired?” is a common topic of conversation between the employer and the candidate. While this seems like a scary topic to answer, it actually helps employers a great deal.

First, it gives them insight into the justifications behind your termination. They need to know if your behavior was a result of the circumstances or a reflection of who you are.

Companies are interested in not only why you left but also how you handled the end of your contract. They want to know if you can maintain your composure under pressure, treat those who had a hand in the decision with dignity, and make changes to your behavior in the wake of a workplace incident.

How to Answer “Why Were You Fired?” Interview Question

why were you fired

Responding professionally to the “Why were you fired?” question is essential. You can also be more strategic if you have a model answer in mind.

Here is an example of a possible response:

I lost my previous job because of an argument I had with a coworker. I have learned from my mistakes, and I always welcome comments from my superiors. So, in the wake of my termination, I welcomed the opportunity to get constructive criticism and zero in on my collaborative skills.

To improve myself, I enrolled in some online courses geared toward developing these and other interpersonal skills. Because of this, I am more confident in my social abilities and prepared to join a new team and provide excellent outcomes for the business.

This is a fantastic example since it covers four key aspects of a compelling “Why were you fired?” answer.

Let’s consider these four aspects one by one.

#1. Get Feedback From the Previous Employer

Feedback is useful because it alerts you to issues you might have missed, allowing you to make more extensive improvements.

After being let go from a job, it’s crucial to ask for feedback from your employer. You can use the advice they give you to improve yourself and avoid making the same mistakes that led to your last job loss.

#2. Answer Honestly

While explaining why you were fired, give an honest answer.

Potential employers will appreciate it if you’re upfront and honest about why you were let go from your last position. If you give them an honest response, they will see that you are a good fit for the job.

However, remember that complete openness isn’t the best course of action here, either. So, provide a genuine response without giving away the details that could hurt your chances of getting the job.

#3. Stay Positive

Employers value employees who can keep a positive outlook no matter what comes their way.

Putting on a brave face in the midst of dismissal sends a message that you are not bitter or angry with your former employer. This merely demonstrates that you are self-aware and committed to growth.

#4. Show What You Learned

Recognizing your shortcomings is essential, but so is taking action to strengthen those areas.

That’s why it’s important to take action, like enrolling in courses to hone your abilities. During an interview, it is crucial to show that you are committed to developing yourself to become a better fit for the position you are seeking.

“Why Were You Fired?” Sample Answersinterviewer and interviewee

If you’re nervous about answering the “Why were you fired?” question, these five sample answers should give you an idea of a good response.

#1. Taking Accountability

Due to some unforeseen reasons, my work performance started to deteriorate. As a result, I was let go from my previous job. While it was unfortunate, I understood my part in this. I realized that I needed to get better at maintaining that high standard of work performance. I requested to receive extensive feedback on my performance to see what areas I could improve on.

Thanks to the feedback, I put all my efforts into improving my time management skills through a mentorship program. I am beyond grateful for having the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and support my professional development.

#2. Dealing with Conflict at Work

The reason I was dismissed from my last job was because of a conflict between me and my colleague. I should have been better at communicating and not letting things get out of control.

However, this experience showed me that I needed to get better at conflict management and hone my communication skills, which is exactly what I have been working on for the past few months by participating in multiple seminars. Now, more than ever, I am confident in my skills to communicate effectively and handle any disagreements professionally.

#3. Personal challenges

My former employer let me go because my performance at work had declined due to some personal reasons. Because of what happened, I knew I needed to improve my ability to manage my work and personal life. Because of my own issues, I was unable to focus on my work and did a poor job, which reflected poorly on the company and its competitors.

Following my dismissal, I contemplated and worked on improving my communication skills, stress management skills, and overall productivity in the workplace for my future position.

#4. Value Differences

My previous employer let me go because my values and theirs didn’t align. Even though it was a setback, it was the right decision for everyone involved. Because of this occurrence, I now realize how crucial it is to research the company and its core beliefs before deciding to join the team.

In addition, I learned how my own values may shape my actions and outcomes in the workplace. As a result, I am grateful for the learning experience and relieved to have found a company with values that are congruent with my own. I’d be thrilled to join your team.

#5. Career Shift

The demands for my last position changed, and I was unable to meet them as swiftly as the company wanted me to. Despite the setback, I’ve gained valuable insight into where I may make changes by analyzing my own strengths and weaknesses.

I’ve been working hard to improve my technical skills and problem-solving abilities, two of my less-developed areas of expertise. I registered for some online classes and had a conversation with an expert in the field for advice. I feel prepared to enter the workforce and contribute to the growth of any organization I join.

4 More Tips to Consider When Answering “Why Were You Fired?” Interview Question

Here are four more suggestions to keep in mind as you try to explain why you were let go:

  • Rehearse your response. You can boost your confidence before an interview by practicing your answer to this question. If you demonstrate confidence, employers will take you more seriously.
  • Think about how you come across to others. Watch how you use body language to convey meaning. Keep your chin up and your eyes on the person in front of you to come across as more trustworthy. Don’t make yourself look defensive by crossing your arms.
  • Don’t drag it out. Give a full and honest answer, but don’t get into the specifics of why you were let go. Your chances of getting recruited may decrease as a result of that.
  • Don’t be rude or offensive. Avoid placing blame on your former employer for your dismissal. Show that you are willing to learn from your mistakes and accept responsibility for your actions.

Final Thoughts

And that’s a wrap on how to answer the “Why were you fired?” interview question.

If you have been dismissed from a job in the past, don’t let it stop you from applying for other positions. Make sure you have a good explanation ready in case you have to justify yourself.

Be sincere, but don’t go into too much detail; instead, utilize the rest of the advice and the sample replies to craft a response that will impress the interviewer and allow you to have a relaxed focus throughout the response.