“Why did you leave your last job?”
Bettina Seidman, Career Coach at SEIDBET Associates, provided the following tips for The Grindstone if you were laid off or fired:
- NEVER SAY YOU LEFT BECAUSE OF PERSONALITY DIFFERENCES: “Anyone who is interviewing knows that is a phony response. Saying financial reversals, or a takeover by another company, or “I was part of the downsizing,” will almost always work,” said Seidman.
- Don’t blame your former employer: Seidman says any time you put something on the employer, you are lying to yourself. “Interviewers are usually smart and they are trained. That kind of stuff just doesn’t fly.” According to Dr. Aaron Beck, the “father” of cognitive therapy in an interview with CBS Money Watch, said, “The motherload of cognitive distortions is in the interview process. Here, we hold other people responsible for our pain. It’s always someone or something else that is responsible for our problems and mistakes.What’s the old saying? When you point your finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you. It is beyond frustrating to hire someone who does not take responsibility for their actions and choices. Be a breath of fresh air and take responsibility — at least some of the responsibility. The fear applicants have is that, if they “own up” to any weaknesses or mistakes, then they won’t be looked upon favorably, but the opposite is true.”
- Don’t go far into it: You do not need to tell your life story. People who are defensive always talk too much, said Seidman. “It is a psychological issue.” Just say “I had some bad luck.” Or bite the bullet and just say I was laid off. You can say, “There is no job security anymore and I hope my next job will provide me with more.”
- Say what you learned from the experience: Focus on the positives of that experience and say what you’ve learned from it. For example, if you were unemployed for a time, make sure you explain how you’ve been productive with your time. Perhaps you’ve been taking classes, volunteering, or doing freelance projects.
- People in HR or job recruiters or anyone that watches the news are not dumb: Seidman says in today’s economy HR people, recruiters and employment agencies have a huge understanding that people with great talent and skill, are unemployed. If you say “I was downsized and I received a very fair package,” they will be understanding. Unless you are lying about the package. But most people in the U.S. do get a sufficient severance package and ou placement services. ” A potential new employer would be happy to hear that.”