I'm in software development in South America. At my current position I've been told many times that my performance is great. And my objective results are great. Basically, I can do the job and I can do it really well. That's an important point, since this was my first position in the field, which is quite specialised and demanding.

I've now lost my job because my boss couldn't stand me, which he told me repeatedly.

I know that during job interviews you are supposed to be diplomatic and focus on "the exciting opportunity" at the company you've applied at and similar. However, I'm afraid that my interviewers will think I just didn't manage, which is simply not true.

What answers to the question about why I left after several months minimize the possibility that this will happen?

The person from the other threat wasn't able to perform well. My situation was completely different. My performance was great.

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    The top-voted answer to the linked post applies to the vast majority of cases of getting fired. As per that answer, you need to find some things you did wrong that contributed to getting fired and show how you grew from this and will avoid similar problems in future. Only you would be able to figure this out; like perhaps you could've done or not done certain things to make him like you more. "My boss couldn't stand me" would very much sound like an excuse, which that answer says to avoid Jun 16, 2019 at 10:16
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    Your performance, at least the "soft skills" bit which is at least as important as the technical bit, clearly wasn't great. Jun 16, 2019 at 10:25
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    How you explain your firing depends a lot on the specific situation. But to be able to explain yourself authentically and convincingly, you've got to reach an understanding of what happened. That takes a lot of introspection and "my boss hated me" barely scratches the surface and it won't help you come up with a viable explanation. If you can reach out to a mentor or trusted coworker who saw what was going on, they might be able to provide you with some perspective so you can understand how you ended up fired. That understanding is just the starting point for being able to answer the question
    – teego1967
    Jun 16, 2019 at 11:31
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    What did you do to try to improve things with your boss? Or more importantly, what would you do things if the situation happened again? This is pretty much the classic "tell me about a situation where you had a personal conflict with someone" interview question and you should always be prepared for that one. Jun 16, 2019 at 12:35
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    But without any details, we can't understand the situation well enough to answer adequately.
    – Summer
    Jun 16, 2019 at 13:14

3 Answers 3


Answers to similar questions address cases when you are reasonably let go from a position - your case is different: you were fired because of an inability to work effectively with a specific individual.

You should be prepared to explain the reason you were laid off honestly and specifically at any point during a job search. Some potential answers to a question like “Why were you fired from your last job?” might be:

  1. I found it difficult to work according to the requirements of my manager, specifically ______, and I failed to find another role within the company.
  2. My manager asked me to do things in an objectionably way, specifically _____, and raising concerns about the practice were not resolved before I was let go.
  3. I failed to recognize how some of my behavior, specifically ______, was objectionable to my manager, and was let go.

Always include the efforts you took to resolve the issue in your explanation — things like:

  1. Finding a new role within the organization
  2. Offering feedback and requesting feedback from your manager
  3. Seeking guidance and coaching from peers and other leaders at the organization
  4. Raising concerns to an internal ombudsman or external authority
  5. Avoiding troubling situations by changing your own working habits

Be humble in explaining why you believe your manager was mistaken in letting you go. Recognize that you very well could have been in the wrong, even if peers or other members of the organization didn’t feel you were at fault or should change your behavior.

Working with others always requires us to adapt our own behavior. Not being able to try out new ways of working is not a desirable quality in a candidate. Be sure you highlight how you were creative and flexible in resolving the issue — or take time to reflect on why you chose not to be flexible.

Best of luck in your search.

  • You say this is different from cases when you are reasonably let go from a position, but how would potential employers know this? They only have one side of the story, so they'd automatically be sceptical when you try to put the blame on someone else. In what way does this sound different from someone who was reasonably let go making excuses, blaming their manager, being a bad team player and/or refusing to see or accept their own faults? Trying to resolve the issue is good, but that doesn't negate the problem of it sounding like you think it's ultimately the manager's fault. Jun 16, 2019 at 13:39
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    There is a big difference between shifting the blame and describing the proactive steps that you took to resolve conflict. Demonstrating that you knew appropriate things to do when in conflict with a colleague can end up turning something negative like being laid off into a positive “I did everything I could in an un-winnable situation”
    – Dataminion
    Jun 17, 2019 at 5:01

The boss won't fire you saying that he could not stand you. "I fired X because I couldn't stand him", it would be a very unprofessional fire reason. He will say something, which is not easily provable false, but might be enough reason to fire you.

If you think a firing is going to happen, even if you think it is possible in the near future, start to search for your next job on the spot. Time is crucial, until you find your next job/project, you will earn 0.

The typical "reasons" for such firings are these:

  1. You can't work well with your team (yes, because he wants to fire you, and not to integrate you)
  2. You work slowly (he decides, what is "slow")
  3. Although you work well, unfortunately the company can't see a project for you, or can't inject you into its ongoing projects (yes, because he wants to fire you)
  4. ...any other

These are valid and well-reasonable reasons to fire you.

However, both you and also the company will know, that it is not the real reason.

Make clear for the Boss, that you want to leave peacefully without grudge. Or, at least that you want to look so. Don't expect him to admit, that not this is the real reason, but expect him to follow what I say in the next paragraph.

If the Boss can't stand you, then your leave will probably fulfill his thirst for blood. That makes his second top interest to make your leave peaceful and good-looking. The best possible outcome is that you agree in some similar: "Although they were satisfied with your work, unfortunately they had no task for you at the time, thus they had to agree in your leave", or similar.

Having a single short employment in your CV is not so bad. The bad is if you have a lot.

Never say on your job interviews in the future: "I was fired because my boss/co-workers disliked me", they will think that 1) you were bad 2) and you will likely say the same also from them!


Sometimes 'chemistry is just chemistry' and you can own that. I worked for a company that the leadership went clubbing with the teams, got to work late in the morning, and played beer pong often. I left, and later they raised $10MM USD, and then 3yr later another $30MM. Very successful by VC calculations, but horrible working environment for me.

The key there is knowing yourself. Know what kind of person you are, and are not. Understand the way(s) that you are strong. Lean into that when describing your ideal work environment, and why that other one didn't work.

If your future boss knows how to manage you, and knows that the company can + will benefit, then you won't face an issue being hired. You are only at risk if you don't know who you are, or are not willing to convey it.

If you think you'll make some mistakes saying all this, practice with a friend. If you don't have a friend that will be good at this, apply to some small companies that you are not worried much about 'failing' at the interview. It will teach you a ton.

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