I finally got a good job offer that I accepted. It seems like a great fit with a great company, however, I realized that I may have messed up royalty in the interview process about the reason why I left one of my jobs.

Two jobs ago, I was let go due to a medical issue that the company was not willing to work with me on, and was fired. Around the same time, another member from my team left the company, and it was clear that my old company wasn’t valuing the new team they created when I joined.

So, during the interview, I was not directly asked why I left that job. However, when I takled about the job, I said something like “the company let me go because they were shrinking the department”

In hindsight, I have no clue why I wasn’t more upfront and just forgot about it in the interview process. It was a dumb thing to omit and I think I just got nervous. I totally get It’s not a good excuse not to bring something like this up. I dot know what I was thinking.

Now I am getting ready to go through a background check/job application. On the application/offer letter, it does ask if I have ever been discharged or asked to resign as well an explanation.

I am going to be totally honest on the application, however, is there anything else I should do to mitigate my risk? Should I call the HR rep at my new company to head it off at the pass? Should I just withdraw from the job offer? How screwed am I? I am not going to put in my resignation at my current job until the background check comes back, but I wanted to check in.

What should someone in my or in a similar situation do?

1 Answer 1


Based on my career experience (in the US, BTW) I wouldnt be worried about it at all. The original interviewer most likely asked about it as a matter of course.. all they usually care about is you not totally fumbling the answer... HR/Recruiting is running a background check as a matter of course.. they just want to verify your employment history. As far as I am aware, a background check only verifies your dates of employment, not why your left your employment.

Further, it is pretty unlikely that the interviewer and HR are going to compare notes in that great of detail... They are running the check because you passed the interview.. As long as you dont outright lie about where and when you worked, you will pass your background check... From what I have seen, that is about as in depth as these things get.

I do think you are going to get a few good answers here because this thing is a little subjective based on locale and industry... I think you should be OK here but in any case, start practicing your story now so it is easy to get the truth out more comfortably

  • Thank you for the detailed reply. Both the HR rep and my hiring manager were in the same interview with me, ao they may compare notes. I didn’t lie about the job or what I did, just told a lie that I was let go (not fired). So do you think I should be honest on the job application/background check form and still go though the process?
    – Yikes_H
    Feb 28, 2019 at 19:49
  • Well, especially in a public forum, I can only suggest honesty on the background check form. I would fill it out and continue as normal like there isnt a problem. While I have been rewarded for upfront honesty in the past, I tend to think that, in this scenario, drawing attention to a problem that may go by or withdrawing completely just reduces your chances of a positive outcome. Ive been thinking, is there an answer that is both honest and aligns with your first statement? Something like "the company was shrinking costs and could not accommodate a medical issue and I had to leave"?
    – Smitty
    Feb 28, 2019 at 20:19
  • I appreciate the advice! Thank you! That may be good advice, however, I don’t know how accurate the shrinking costs answer would work as I was specifically let go for the medical issue (sleep apinea was causing me to fall asleep at work). Maybe I could combine the two? Something like - I had a medical issue and the company decided not to focus on the group moving forward, then add the the issue has been resolved? I may just have to be ready to have the offer withdrawan at this point. Would there be any long term consequences of me withdrawing or if I fail the background check?
    – Yikes_H
    Feb 28, 2019 at 20:24
  • Im having some trouble here because I am not sure what kind of paperwork we are talking about anymore. your question says youre asked for an explanation for firing on a "background check/application/offer letter". Those are three separate things in my mind and then its really only appropriate to ask on the application.. but you shouldnt have an offer before submitting an application... confused.. I am starting to think you might get a better answer than mine if you add some clarification to the original question.. what specifically are you filling out? what is the size of this company?. etc
    – Smitty
    Feb 28, 2019 at 21:06
  • Sorry for the confusion. The company is a highe, multinational company. After I returned the signed offer letter, I was told to fill out two forms (a drug test form and background check form). When looking at the background check form, it appears to be a job application with some legalese at the bottom approving a background check. There are multiple sections on the two page report, education, personal references, criminal and employment history.
    – Yikes_H
    Feb 28, 2019 at 21:13

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