In my previous employment, the department began outsourcing. My team consisted of two teams of 10 people, and all the female employees began receiving PIP, and transferred departments, resigned or were let go within 2 weeks. The pattern was clear, and I began searching for other employment.

The other sub-team lead picked up a request that was poorly defined with an untenable deadline. After discussing it with me, I thought I remembered a similar request from about half a year before, and I found and forwarded the information. I then left it in his hands. The request took a long time to complete, as key personnel had left without clear knowledge transfer, and the internal client was unhappy.

I was called into my boss's office, and fired. I was explicitly told it was because this request had not been fulfilled to the internal client's satisfaction. The other sub-team lead retained his position.

I was well into multiple interview processes at this point - I was only surprised not to get the two week warning PIP plan before being fired - so this was not an issue, and I took a good position with a great company. But looking to the future, how do I handle this if I seek a new position?

I have never been fired before, and while I don't consider the firing "for cause" - I consider it more of a way to handle a layoff while trying to deny paying out unemployment (the company tried to deny it in my case, but I fought with the state of Texas and received it anyway for the 3 weeks until my new position started) - it is a firing, and I don't want to just sound bitter or negative when discussing it. I'm also unhappy with the idea of taking on undeserved fault in order to say something like "I learned from my mistake".

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    Sounds like you handled it just fine. What did you tell your current employer? Why not keep answering the same way?
    – AndreiROM
    Dec 1, 2017 at 19:16
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    How many people were fired before you? You may be able to use the story that X other people were all fired before you to help your case.
    – David K
    Dec 1, 2017 at 19:21
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    Seems like the company was going through a down-sizing, and you were simply fired as part of their witch hunt, or whatever was happening. Just say as much.
    – AndreiROM
    Dec 1, 2017 at 19:27
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    @David K One woman was fired, one resigned, one transferred over the course of 2 months. I was asked to provide reasons to fire the other woman remaining on the local team (my sub team) that I did not believe were honest, and avoided doing so, but I knew it was only a matter of time.
    – Minocho
    Dec 1, 2017 at 19:29
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    You were not fired because of someone else's mistake. You were fired because they wanted to get rid of you.
    – gnasher729
    Dec 2, 2017 at 12:20

3 Answers 3


But looking to the future, how do I handle this if I seek a new position?

Be brief and do not lie.

For future positions (interviews) simply be honest, and as brief as you can. This approach is best because your not lying, but your not dwelling on it during a future interview. Almost everyone has been let go for one reason or another during the course of a career, so this is not going to be that uncommon.

Short Answer: When you interview down the road, briefly explain the situation, and emphasize what you learned from the experience. Do not lie.

  • Most employers won’t care the reason you left a previous employer other than your current (or most recent employer).
    – Donald
    Dec 2, 2017 at 20:19

Don't bring it up at all unless asked on a future interview or application process.

Then simply state that there were mass layoffs, you saw them coming and started applying elsewhere, and point to the fact that you were working within the month.

The lack of a gap is your greatest asset. Employers know that it's usually at least a month into the job hunting process before you even get interviews, so you must have been looking BEFORE you were let go.

If they press you, you can say that there was some tension, but in situations of mass layoffs there always is and you don't hold it against your previous employer.


Less is more in this case

If you want to avoid the term layoffs, you can say:

A number of us were let go around the same time.

  • 5
    I would not volunteer information, but I am hesitant to say it was a layoff. The company had a massive IT layoff in another department a few months prior, and my understanding is they were "firing" us to avoid declaring another layoff (publicly traded company). It was not technically a layoff - and I do not want to lie. But my concern is saying it was some sort of stealth layoff may come off as unnecessarily negative.
    – Minocho
    Dec 1, 2017 at 19:34
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    @Minocho I would agree that you should avoid using the term "layoff" if you were technically "fired" (even if the firing was without proper cause.) If your new employer decides to call up your old and discovers it was really a firing, that makes you look really bad. I would use the term "fired" since that's what it was, but I would also emphasize that you weren't the only one being fired at the time, and that reasons why you were terminated were largely out of your control (which is true, judging by what you said above.)
    – Steve-O
    Dec 1, 2017 at 19:48
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    OK, don't use the term "mass layoffs". Just state the number - "the project was badly handled and they had to let > 9 < people go". Nothing to it !
    – Fattie
    Dec 1, 2017 at 19:48
  • @Minocho you're not lying I did not say to say that you were laid off. Say that there were mass layoffs, or that there was a round of layoffs. Dec 1, 2017 at 19:52
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    "Layoffs classified as firings for stock-valuation reasons" would not be a lie. :-) Dec 2, 2017 at 2:56

I disagree with the accepted answer.

  1. Ask for recommendation from the employer who dismissed you.

Skilled people are dismissed due to personal reasons, character conflicts with the manager or other "internal" company policies. Injustice is a part of corporate life. They might have lack of moral, and power to apply injustice, just took you down because you were getting in their way. Yet they are not your "enemies for life", they don't want you do starve.

So although you've been dismissed, dont burn the bridges completely. Ask for recommendation. And collect a letter of recommendation if it is more suitable.

  1. Don't bring up you were dismissed. That's right everybody was fired, and should show some understanding. Yet why would they risk it? If you are dismissed, why wouldn't they hire someone similar with your skill set, and was not fired? Say it was a mass layoff, say you were looking for another job anyway. Both of them are not even incorrect in your case.

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