You’re Fired! Five ways to explain it.

By Joanne O’Connell – 16 April 2015 

Despite being booted by the BBC, Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson isn’t short of job offers. For many people, however, finding a new role after being sacked can be a nightmare (though thankfully, a less public one). Here are our five interview tips for explaining why you were let go…

1. Start by telling the truth, which may not be easy, particularly if you were sacked for serious wrongdoing. Give a truthful, concise version of events and then move the conversation on to more positive points.

2. Let them know you have learned from the experience. If you lost your job as a result of poor performance or serious misconduct, for example, you need to present as upbeat an approach as possible, to show you can take responsibility for mistakes and learn from them. For example, you could say that the job was a learning experience for you and that you’re wiser now and ready for a fresh start.

3. Make sure you keep to the terms of your settlement agreement. A settlement agreement is the final sign-off before you leave your job and the legally binding document often includes terms about what you can say about the company. You may have also agreed how to explain why you left the company, so keep to those agreed terms and respect any confidentiality clauses that form part of the agreement.

4. As part of a settlement agreement, a specialist employment solicitor may have secured you a reference from your previous employer. Make sure you know what’s in it so you don’t get any surprises in an interview and you can confidently talk about the comments.

5. Be confident. Don’t tell long rambling stories about what went on in your previous role or point the blame for your sacking at anyone else. Talking encouragingly about your old job and previous employer makes you seem less threatening and more trustworthy. So keep the conversation positive and focus on your skills, what you have to offer and why you’re the best person for the job.