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I tried several jobs after my graduation to figure out what I want to do (I had two jobs and worked for 1 year for each firm) until I took my current job. It's exactly the job function I'm interested in. However, after I turned down the sexual advances from the GM, my life at work got harder and harder. It's a small office and other managers sided with GM to bully me at work (verbally abused, bad performance review, less and less projects, etc..) This week I got the ultimatum that either I quit or I get terminated, but if I quit they wouldn't even pay 1 month notice period salary. I chose to get terminated.

I started interviewing two months ago. When I'm interviewing for new jobs, the interviewers all questioned my stability as I changed jobs every year for my past three years. And I also don't want to get into details of this harassment, because what I read on the internet is you should never mention this during the interview. I'm also looking for the same function job in the same city. Sometimes the interviewers also questioned why did you change jobs at all? When I explained further it's for the job quality. Then they will respond that you just worked there for 1 year and you will get more responsibilities if you work there longer. So how could I explain this? And now I even got fired. I just feel it's getting more challenging to explain.

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    I hope you've contacted an attorney about this. This sounds like a situation where that would be to your benefit. – Glen Pierce Oct 15 '17 at 20:32
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    This question would benefit from a location tag. – Mister Positive Oct 16 '17 at 11:47
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    Also similar, though not quite the same: How do I explain wrongful termination in an interview? – David K Oct 16 '17 at 13:09
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    "I got Weinstiened and said 'no'" – DLS3141 Oct 17 '17 at 18:48
  • OP: Rehearse the answer many times so you can state facts without the emotions. If needed, go to few "training" interviews with recruiting companies, even if you have no intention to apply for a position they have. First few times it might be too emotional and raw to explain it, you don't want this to happen when interviewing for position you really want. Also, google "elevator pitch" and prepare one about yourself. – Peter M. Nov 8 '17 at 17:15
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If they ask you for specific details, let them know exactly what happened. This means they are interested in what happened, and what exactly you did about the situation.

Otherwise, if they ask you something like "why did you leave your last job" you can say something like:

I didn't feel that I was in a very positive work environment, and my co-workers were not interested in making any changes to promote a better workplace. The role wasn't right for me, but I am confident that this one is because .....

And then expand on that.

  • Thanks a lot for your reply. It's a nice way to answer that question. But I'm not sure if the interviewer will be happy with that reply. I've been interviewed for 2 months and they all seem to be unbelievably tenacious to probing why I wanted to change again. I think the reason is because this is already the 3rd job I did after graduation and I only worked for around 1 year for each job. I just look like a 100% job hopper. I did plan to stay at my current job for at least 3 years when I started but didn't expect things could change this way. I feel stuck. – Learnfrommistakes Oct 15 '17 at 17:13
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    @Learnfrommistakes Make sure you're not defensive about it. I might be wrong but as you say it I feel you might have been defensive when asked that and it's clearly what they don't want. I think one of the point in this answer is not to tell them a story, they won't listen to your words, they just want to see your reaction. Be positive and confident. (I know it's not that easy) – Tim Oct 16 '17 at 13:19
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    The golden rule of interviewing is never say anything negative about your former employer. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 16 '17 at 16:47
  • Don't read between the lines on why the interviewer did not pick you. If possible, very briefly ask for feedback, but if they do not provide it, don't push for it. Don't make assumption that this is the reason they did not pick you. Even with 2 years of work experience, it isn't much, and they may simply be finding better suited candidates. Don't assume it is because of your last two jobs. – Nelson Oct 17 '17 at 7:05
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I got fired after being sexually harassed. How can I explain this to interviewers?

The short answer is "you don't"

Do not bring this up in the interview, ever. There is no good place for your to take the conversation if you bring up that you were terminated under your circumstances.

From a hiring manager perspective, if I hear you were involved in some way with a sexual harassment incident, I am going to protect the company from any such risk and pass on you as a candidate.

While you are telling the truth in regards to what happened, I as a hiring manager, have no way to validate exactly what happened. Therefore in a scenario such as yours, I will avoid the risk an hire someone else.

In short, keep your reason(s) for leaving this company as general as possible, such as "The environment was not a good fit for me" or some such statement.

Note: I am not blaming the OP here. The OP is a victim obviously, I am just trying to help them get the next position by not bringing up something that might hurt their chances.

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And I also don't wanna get into details of this harassment because what I read on the internet is you should never mention this during the interview.

It seems like you are being branded as a job hopper and nothing more due to 3 short jobs in a row. Part of that is your first 2 jobs, but part of that is due to issues not of your own doing.

To counter that, you might be better served by indicating that you had hoped to stay for a long time at your most recent job. Then you can say that you were the victim of sexual harassment in your most recent job, you were given the option to quit or be terminated, and that you chose termination. You don't need to get into any more details.

You were a victim. It wasn't your fault. Trying to avoid the issue is making it harder for you to find a position. It might be time to try a different approach.

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    It's tough, because some potential employers might not have an "enlightened" viewpoint if someone were to mention this, but (A) does that make one worse off, hiring-wise, than before, and (B) would you want to move into a position with a company that is skeptical or somehow puts a stigma on the victim of harassment, anyway? Especially if you've run into it before. – PoloHoleSet Oct 16 '17 at 16:13
  • My comment was more a general "this situation blows" addition, and not taking refuting anything you were saying, btw. – PoloHoleSet Oct 16 '17 at 16:30
  • I don't see how you can bring up the topic at all without hurting your chances of getting the job ( or taking the next step in the interviewing process). Its a red flag to almost anyone who hires. Not an issue as to whether or not the OP is telling the truth, as for the sake of the question we assume the truth is being told. This is an issue of mitigating risk for the company interviewing. – Mister Positive Oct 16 '17 at 17:21
  • Because what if the new company gonna do background check? I can't lie about being terminated. – Learnfrommistakes Oct 18 '17 at 13:39
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From reading the question the following stands out:

When I'm interviewing for new jobs, the interviewers all questioned my stability as I changed jobs every year for my past three years.

I know the OP question is about sexual harassment, but that isn't the real issue here. The real problem is that you have had 3 jobs in as many years.

That is the objection you need to overcome. I feel the harassment part of the question should be dropped because it's just not material to whether you will stay on at the new location.

Ignoring the last place, you took 2 other jobs that you later decided weren't for you. The interviewer is trying to figure out if you've given any actual thought to the job you are applying for or if you are just applying everywhere and taking a position with whoever happens to give you the first offer.

When asked the question about why you left those previous locations, your answer needs to focus on why you know this particular job at this particular company is right for you. There is zero benefit to going into any harassment details from your last position.

  • Thanks. You are right. The biggest challenge is during the interview process to justify I'm not jumpy. I felt frustrated is because I don't think I'm jumpy and I planed to stay for long time at my third job. But unfortunately something happened out of my control. When I interviewed, the interviewers already had very negative opinions of me and wouldn't be happy for the normal "fit"/"explore" answers. – Learnfrommistakes Oct 16 '17 at 14:19
  • @Learnfrommistakes This answer really hits the nail on the head. You may have had a good reason for leaving this time around but what about the couple times before that? Own your history... for good reasons or not you are definitely job-hopping. So sell that transience as you searching for the right cultural fit and focus on your future growth rather than dwelling in the past. – DanK Oct 16 '17 at 15:44
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It's a tricky situation. But I strongly advise you not to lie. it is not unknown for there to be two interviewers in the interview room, and the second one says not a word but is observing your body language. Lying is risky under those circumstances, even if a "family illness" etc is hard for prospective new employers to verify.

If you can get some good job references from your previous two employers, you could take those to your next job interviews and tell them the absolute truth, as you have framed it in your question. All of a sudden you will come across as a person who not only is competent in the workplace, but also has sufficient self-respect to maintain your high personal standards of behaviour in the workplace.

There are companies who don't, as policy, issue written references or testimonials. But there will always be someone at your two previous "good" workplaces who will accept a phone call from a prospective new employer. If there isn't a formal HR division at your previous workplaces, then choose a "first-choice" and second choice name, of people you worked under or with, just so long as they are people of some significance in the business (eg.don't name the car-park attendant as a referee!).

Given your circumstances, you really want to make sure a prospective employer gets a good testimonial whether written or verbal. Otherwise they may not bother any more with you and go to the next person on their list of new applicants for the job.

Here's another way to get around it. By any chance have you done charitable work? you see what I am getting at. It isn't job experience, I imagine, but it could be an indicator of how you can work with others co-operatively and supportively. "Big name" charities would be best, but any charity respected by the community-at-large will suffice. With this suggestion you are doing your best to focus your prospective employer's attention on your overall capability to get along with others, as well as, of course their primary concerns that you are work-ready.

And remember, you are one year older, and if my guess is right as to your age, one more year will readily be seen as a significant and perfectly normal step into greater maturity. It would be perfectly logical to want to settle down in to a career path about now.

As a graduate I am sure you can follow the several lines of argument I give here. You will have the intelligence to weave the threads that will work for you, into a cohesive whole which is both perfectly accurate and which is purposely designed by you to maximise the good and competent parts of you.

Self-respect got you into an unhappy state of unemployment and no fault should be ascribed to you. But you still have to come up with every honest "weapon" at your disposal. So here are another couple of last-minute thoughts just to make I have given you "everything":

  1. What does your priest think of you? Based on what evidence he has seen from you?

  2. I have made an assumption that you are a woman? can you apply for jobs with a woman GM or owner or majority shareholder? In this case it is certainly not sexism, it is seeking out the half of the human race who can understand your situation like no other.

I don't like wishing people good luck. I wish you "good skill".

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