My most recent work experience was largely negative. I worked for a company for about 4 months. I was terminated without cause. I was unaware of any issues and when I asked for a reason was told I wasn't a good fit. I had already been applying for new jobs and think they may have caught wind of this (for example someone may have heard a phone call when a recruiter called). I was given paper work stating the reason for my separation from the work was confidential.

In the jobs I'm interviewing for now, I have a difficult time answering why I left the previous job and how it was like working there. I don't mean to rant but for the purpose of this question think it would be useful to give some examples of the disorganization. Where I worked had 300 employees and had been around for awhile. Basic IT systems did not exist and it was not considered a problem. There was no domain; we manually setup each computer and install updates. There was no instant messenger, no ticketing systems. I know some places have issues with copying too many people on email threads but this place took it to a whole other level. Usually entire departments were copied. Management felt this was good in case someone was sick on a given day. There was no value put in streamlining, for example one person would be using Office 2016 on a Mac and wonder why documents looked different to her colleague who opened it on Office 2019 on Windows. Lots of passwords and accounts were shared and this was considered OK.

I would not have taken this job if I had known these things. What should I say in interviews as to why I left my former job? How should I reply when asked "how did your last job end"? Should I say I was terminated without cause, it was a mutual decision, it was a short term contract or something else? Should I just say it was disorganized or give any examples? How do I avoid workplaces like this in the future and tell if they kept up with industry standards? If a job is bad they will probably try to make it sound good in interviews. Though it's been a couple months, I still feel negative effects like burnout from having worked there.


1 Answer 1


The first answer is 'Don't lie' - if you were terminated/fired - say so.

How to actually answer it:

  • State matter-of-factly that there were a number of issues where the company wasn't adhering to best practices - for example centralized patch/security management is the example I would use or insecure password practices.

  • Say that you raised these with management

  • After attempting to raise the issues, that's when you were terminated.

Things like AD Domain, different Office versions, ticketing systems etc. are more subjective (for example could be a BOYD entity) - but Security is something almost everyone agrees with.

If they press you - say something like 'you didn't want to compromised your professional reputation by having a data leak occur due to insecure practices'

  • Just to double check, are my expectations unreasonable? Given the job description and what was said in the interview I was under the impression that they had relatively normal IT systems which would mean things like a domain, working address book, automatic updates etc. Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 8:46
  • @costlyshopping, apparently what you consider normal practices and what they considered normal practices did not align. You could mention that when asked about your termination and in the same interview probe a bit deeper on what practices the prospective employer uses. Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 10:46
  • What is "BOYD entity"? If you mean bring your own device, I don't see what that has to do with not having things like a domain (maybe it couldn't be added but the rest of the workstations could be). Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 23:13
  • @costlyshopping - So, some companies I've worked for on the User machines were all BYOD and didn't use things like a Domain because users weren't happy to join their personal devices to a domain and have company management over it. So there may be situations where a company wouldn't want this - but things like Password Policy is much more universal. Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 23:32
  • @costlyshopping - I'd keep that to myself TBH. To the wrong person, it will comes across as heartless and uncaring. Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 22:09

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