Brief background

For my training as a psychotherapist I have to complete a one year internship as a psychologist in a psychiatric clinic. My first employer has terminated my contract at the end of the probation period. They did not give a reason (they don't legally have to), but my team and my supervisor were satisfied with my work behavior. My supervisor assumes that the reason was reducing personnel cost. I have receieved a very good employment reference letter.

I have applied for another internship, had been invited for a job interview, and am now waiting for their decision. The interviewer knows that I have been fired. We have spoken about it in the job interview. At the end of the interview I was told that I should let them know within a week whether I am still interetested in the position and that I would hear back from them within two to three weeks. I sent them an affirmation by email (as requested) after two days.

It has been four weeks since the interview, and I would like to enquire what the status of the application is. I am afraid that they are deciding for someone else because they are worried that I was in fact responsible for my dismissal and have lied to them about the reasons.


When inquiring about the status of my application, should I offer to put them in contact with my former supervisor so that they can directly inquire about the true reason for my dismissal and my actual work behavior?

Or does that make my situation even more awkward than it already is?


I live and work in Germany. In Germany it is illegal both for companies to inquire with former employers as well as for former employers to disclose information about a former employee without that employees consent.

  • Possible duplicate of workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/6018/…
    – Jane S
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 6:59
  • @JaneS My question is not about whether or not I should follow up, nor how to properly follow up in general, but about whether I should offer for my interviewer to contact my former employer after a dismissal. This question has not been addressed in the question you link to, nor in any of the other questions about following up after job interviews which have been asked on this site and which I have reviewed carefully before asking my question.
    – Uncle B.
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 7:10
  • Actually it still does boil down to the same thing; you haven't heard from them about the status of the position you have applied for, so you wish to follow up to find out where the problem lies. You have a reason you believe is the problem, but I am very sure that if they thought you had lied to them, they would have contacted your previous employer to confirm already.
    – Jane S
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 7:17
  • @JaneS In Germany, where I live and work, the law forbids a prospective employer to contact a former employer without asking the job applicant. It also forbids the former employer to give information without asking the job applicant. There are even multiple laws that all forbid this, and the fines are quite high. So no, they would certainly not have contacted my previous employer already.
    – Uncle B.
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 7:21
  • @UncleB. Then if Germany makes such a difference then you should hve included that in your post - helps people avoid wasted effort when helping you.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 7:38

2 Answers 2

  1. Companies typically underestimate the time it will take to review all the candidates they are considering. It is very common to be told it will take a week but no decision is made for two weeks, or it will take three weeks and the final decision doesn't end up being made for six. About a week after the estimated date they gave you, followup is recommended, but keep it short and neutral, and definitely do not mention anything about your previous employer.

  2. Companies almost always consider multiple candidates for a role. It is very common to interview two or three strong candidates, but they have to pick just one. The company very well could have already picked someone else (it is also common to not have any followup with rejected applicants) but the selected candidate may have only barely edged you out. While being rejected is hugely stressful, it doesn't reflect on your skillset or interview performance. Always keep looking until you have an accepted offer in hand.


The simple and short answer is "to continue looking elsewhere". This new employer has probably moved on and the reason could be anything maybe they decided that it was too much of a hassle to contact your previous employers (especially, because there are so many laws around it).

Also, I'd like to add that you shouldn't assume something is a problem until you directly hear it from the employer, for all you know you're just giving them a reason to reject you. There could be other reasons why they haven't reached out to you. For example, maybe they found someone who they thought would be a better fit than you and decided to go with him/her and just didn't send you a reply.

If you're really interested in the company, you could drop an email asking for the status of your application without offering anything from your side but be prepared that you may not get a satisfying reply from them. Most companies just avoid giving such reasons.

In any case, the only thing you can do is to keep looking, you can decide what to do, after they come back to you with an offer which is always better than the opposite where you don't have any alternative and they never reach out to you. Hope this helps. Good luck.

  • So if I understand you correctly, you recommend not to mention the dismissal if I choose to inquire, but would recommend not to inquire at all?
    – Uncle B.
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 11:15
  • What's the point of bringing up the dismissal in your follow-up email? Your 'future' employer already knows about it (as you have mentioned in your question). Also, like I said you can inquire if you feel so inclined to. Commented May 19, 2019 at 11:19

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