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Old 04-24-2009, 11:27 AM   #1
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Angry You're Fired!

I have a question to ask all of you, and your advice would really be appreciated. I was fired from my job in January for a stupid misunderstanding (I was asked by a client to send a fax, I got sidetracked, she called again and I told her I would get to it as soon as I could, and I faxed it....but she called my manager and complained saying I was rude and never sent the fax. COMPLETE LIE!). It was never investigated, and I was fired the next day.

My question is this....what do I tell people in my interviews? I've only had a couple interviews, with the bad economy and everything. At one interview (I REALLY wanted that job), I told the truth and ended up crying. UGH. Let's just say nothing came out of that one. The other one I lied and said I left because of the bad working environment (the bad environment part was true though).

So what should I say? Do I tell the truth...that I was fired? Or should I say the working environment was bad and I'd rather they not call my previous employer? Please help! It's hard, because I know a lot of employers shy away from hiring anyone if they've been fired...and I NEED a job. It's hard enough that I'm practically entry level...I graduated from college last year. Thanks in advance for your advice!
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:54 AM   #2
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As a former hiring "officer" I always appreciated the truth. A couple things that would turn me off is a person's ability to be honest (normally people are trained in body language--- which can indicate a lie), and bashing an ex employer-- or saying "bad working environment". I would focus on the positive parts of the job you did. Tell them you made a mistake in forgetting to get the fax out the first time and you learned your lesson and you are sorry and very careful to not let it happen again. And, if you were not rude, tell them that too. Own up to your part of it, but let them know you are confident that your customer service skills have improved above normal b/c of this. That is about all you can do. But, make sure you focus on the positive more than the mistake. Also, let them know how dedicated or willing to learn you are. I had an employer tell me that one of my selling points was I told him that there was not a job that I have been given that I could not do. There maybe a learning curve but I can/will do it.

Sorry to ramble.

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Old 04-24-2009, 11:59 AM   #3
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Okay well for one- NEVER cry at an interview and NEVER NEVER EVER badmouth an old employer. Those two will guarantee you'll NEVER get the job.

Seriously girl I've interviewed and hired people before and I would have thrown your resume in the trash if you cried at your interview! I'm not trying to be harsh, but really it happens, people get fired, it doesn't make you a bad person or unemployable!

Believe it or not- the TRUTH is the best answer. What you said is fine. "A customer needed a fax, I sent it to her as soon as I could, but she called and complained that I never sent it, and I was fired."

If they ask anything else just remember to not bad mouth your employee, and if they ask anything like omg really, why would they fire you over a fax you can just say "I honestly don't know, but that's what happened."

One other suggestion is google "interview questions" and go through as many as you can. With this job and my last job I aced the interview this way. I was prepared for 99% of the questions (they all ask the same thing) and I practiced with my sister till I was satisfied with my answers, and then any questions I hadn't heard I was easily able to think of something to say

One other suggestion is if you are nervous, just try to take a deep breathe before the interview and calm down. Also don't ramble! Just answer the question. AND when they say "tell me about yourself" don't tell them random things they don't care. Tell them about your character, you are a hard worker, something. I swear I had people tell me things like I was interviewing them for a relationship. I was like I don't care what you do in your spare time! lol.
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerab View Post
Okay well for one- NEVER cry at an interview and NEVER NEVER EVER badmouth an old employer. Those two will guarantee you'll NEVER get the job.

Seriously girl I've interviewed and hired people before and I would have thrown your resume in the trash if you cried at your interview! I'm not trying to be harsh, but really it happens, people get fired, it doesn't make you a bad person or unemployable!

Believe it or not- the TRUTH is the best answer. What you said is fine. "A customer needed a fax, I sent it to her as soon as I could, but she called and complained that I never sent it, and I was fired."

If they ask anything else just remember to not bad mouth your employee, and if they ask anything like omg really, why would they fire you over a fax you can just say "I honestly don't know, but that's what happened."

One other suggestion is google "interview questions" and go through as many as you can. With this job and my last job I aced the interview this way. I was prepared for 99% of the questions (they all ask the same thing) and I practiced with my sister till I was satisfied with my answers, and then any questions I hadn't heard I was easily able to think of something to say

One other suggestion is if you are nervous, just try to take a deep breathe before the interview and calm down. Also don't ramble! Just answer the question. AND when they say "tell me about yourself" don't tell them random things they don't care. Tell them about your character, you are a hard worker, something. I swear I had people tell me things like I was interviewing them for a relationship. I was like I don't care what you do in your spare time! lol.

I swear, this is exactly what I came here to post.

Yes, be tactful. Never ever bad mouth a former employer even if it's true. Man, if I were honest about my former employers I would still be looking for a job. My former boss was most likely certifiably insane, but when asked why I left my position I just smile and said, "I feel that my time there was well spent in developing my skill set, but it was just time to pursue other opportunities." I also threw something in there about looking for something closer to home (which was true).
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:26 PM   #5
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Oh yeah I had one boss that was a total B*TCH but I said she was a GREAT woman blah blah lol.
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:26 PM   #6
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As a person who use to be in chargeof over 100 staff members,this is my opinion..

1. Don't lie..it will come back to haunt you
2. Tell the truth...that there was a miss understanding, and you were never given the chance to explain yourself
3. if someone told me that they prefered me not to call past employers..i always did, but if they explained the situation, i always kept that in mind

we have all made mistakes in life, but dont feel like you need to lie about something that you were innocent at

on another note..if i was fired for your situation, i would have printed out the confirmation letter fromthe fax being sent off..and then called labour relation

best of luck on your job hunt
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:34 PM   #7
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I also have had to hire and fire people. As a former employer if someone called and aske if Jane Doe had worked there, all I was allowed to say was , yes she worked her between 200x and 200x I was not allowed to say anything about her work habits or the reason she was no longer with the company. I don't know if this is just the rule in California as I don't have experience in other states. I would NOT cry, I'd choke first. I would not volunteer that I had been fired. I might say I left as I was looking for something more in line with my college education. Or has been suggested, closer to home or some other reason. Do not lie. The other thing is I would go to human resources at my other job and explain fully about the fax situation that you did send it but later than the customer expected. Tell HR that you are having a difficult time finding a job because of this. They can always say you were laid off for other reasons. PS you had a lousy manager at your old job and are better off being out of there.
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:43 PM   #8
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When I'm asked to do a reference check on a former employee I verify employment dates, title and position, salary, if termination was due to layoff and eligibility for rehire. I would not say that the person had been fired, but a background check of employment history might show if the termination was listed as voluntary or involuntary on the state separation notice. As everyone else has said, don't lie - if they catch you in it they can use that as a reason not to hire you. I would ask the HR department at the old company what they say in reference checks, just to see what they say.

You do sound better off not being under that manager, too. Good luck.
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:53 PM   #9
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Wow, thanks for all the advice ladies! I guess it's unanimous that I should tell the truth then! It's a little scary, but you're probably right, and I'll try to make it as positive as I can.

A lot of you said I should go back to my old HR, but that company was small and we didn't have anyone in HR, so more than likely they'll talk to my mean manager :P Co-workers and I would often joke around about how that company wasn't even a real company....it took them 2 weeks to even go over my benefits and fill out my W-2. I graduated in HR, so it seemed pretty screwed up to me.
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:57 PM   #10
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I think if you are going to be honest about being fired, you should be prepared to also discuss what you learned from the experience. I think that really makes a difference between "She got fired, why should we take a risk on her?" and "She got fired but she used it to her benefit and it would be good to have her on our team."

I had an interesting interview experience a year ago. I had to interview with a search committee, and one of the people on it was a former boss of mine. I left that position mostly to be a stay-at-home mom, and I always got along with the woman pretty well, although we'd had some tense moments involving a co-worker of mine. We just did NOT get along, and the situation came up in a performance review. So going into that interview, I knew this boss was on the committee, and I was afraid she might bring up my difficulties with this co-worker of mine. So in the interview, I talked about how being a mom taught me a few things (since I also wanted to alleviate fears that I would leave another job to stay home with my kids), and one of the things I learned was to pick my battles. I did not get that job, but I did hear from my former boss that she loved my answers. So I guess my main point is to try to put a positive spin on past situations.

You can google for interview questions too. I'm sure you'll find a lot of advice on how to handle this situation. Good luck!
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:11 AM   #11
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Hmm that is a tough one. I could be wrong, but telling a potential employer you do not want them contacting a previous employer nearly always gets you some raised eyebrows. Best policy in my book - be honest, but choose your words carefully. Its not a good thing to "bad mouth" a previous employer, but I'm a firm believer that you can always say whatever you want - as long as you word it right. So you could say "my former boss was a real beeyotch and didn't even ask me for my side of the story before canning me!".......or.......you can say "I was terminated from my last job due to a customer's misunderstanding of the service I provided them, and the decision to terminate being made without my being met with first to discuss it." This does not count as trash talking, and opens the door for you to present a very valid question - "which leads me to a question I have about your company: should I be hired, what is the policy regarding employee communication, i.e. would my supervisor and I have an open business relationship where any concerns would be discussed, either from me or from him/her, as my job performance and mutual trust is very important to me?" I could be way off base here, but that's my first instinct on advice. I hope it helps!

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