After working for a year I was fired due to product mismanagement. (I worked at a restaurant and ate food that was going to get thrown out. GM didn't like it. GM also didn't like me because me and one of the supervisors didn't get along.) Several of the jobs I have applied to use a platform called Taleo, which in addition to allowing you to submit your resume, asks you to re-enter your work history and if you have left a job, to explain why. There is also a check box if it's okay for the company to contact your previous supervisor at the job.

I'm not sure if I should put "Terminated" under reasons for leaving.... or if I should leave the supervisor box checked. (While I worked there, I was a pretty darn good worker.) What do you guys think?

EDIT: I am considering putting "Left job to focus on schoolwork" or something along those lines because I am a fulltime university student. But I would feel uncomfortable letting them contact my workplace if I do "bluff" my reason for leaving like that.

EDIT #2: I have received a lot of good information (thank you to everyone that has replied!) but so far I have received mainly "don't do this" while I am looking for a "you should phrase it like this". Also, I had an interview today with one of the supervisors that works at the place I am applying to (unfortunately couldn't get it with the hiring manager); even though it seems like they are going to briefly scan over my application on Taleo (since I have already been interviewed), I'm still nervous that having "Terminated" would be a keyword that Taleo would highlight in big, red, glaring letters...

  • I wouldn't mention you were fired. It just gives a bad idea about you which is not what you are aiming at. – Cesare Mar 8 '15 at 21:01
  • @CeceXX -- do you have an idea of what I should put? I feel like leaving the box blank is also something of a warning sign. – Kimberly R. Mar 8 '15 at 21:14
  • Taleo is the mark of a broken hiring process. – James Adam Mar 8 '15 at 21:23
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    what country/state is this in? not encouraging you to lie, but employers in US will almost never reveal that you were fired. It's a liability issue and opens a whole new can of worms. Most employers will verify that you've worked there, the position and sometimes the salary - that's it. – Mircea Mar 8 '15 at 22:26
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    Based on my previous exposure to such things in the US, the employer only discloses dates, position and sometimes salary. That being said I would encourage you to tell the truth as there is little to be gained by lying and a lot to be lost if the new employer somehow finds out that you lied. – Mircea Mar 9 '15 at 3:46

If you were fired/dismissed, then you should indicate that in the system.

If you misrepresent your reason for leaving a previous position, it is grounds for your employer to fire you instantly if they discover it later. Also, it is unlikely you will be able to hide the fact that you were fired. Any new employer will verify your employment and whether you were fired or not.

Look at it from the prospective employers perspective, which is worse: somebody who got fired, or somebody who lied to you?

Personally, I will definitely hire people who have been fired (depending on the reason). I have been fired from jobs. I will never hire somebody who lies to me, though, or tries to fraudulently depict their work history.

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    I'm not disagreeing, but I'll just add that if the employer is using Taleo, it's likely the applicant will be filtered out before getting a chance to explain themselves, in any case. But I have enough options these days I can just move on rather than suffer through re-entering my resume content into a 10-page long HTML form :) – James Adam Mar 8 '15 at 21:50
  • Thank you for the comments :) Socrates -- would you suggest I put just "Terminated" then? @JamesAdam -- I noticed your comment earlier, haha. Unfortunately the only jobs I can really apply to that are in line with my schoolwork all use Taleo. What would you recommend for me as a course of action then? – Kimberly R. Mar 8 '15 at 21:57
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    I was fired once, from my very first programming job. My next job was at a MegaCorp that used Taleo or something similar. If memory serves I entered 'differences with management' or some such for my reason for being 'fired'. It was the truth (really it was just a personality clash with a bad manager), but I didn't get into the details, and I wasn't asked about it during my interview... so maybe I just got lucky. These days I target smaller companies, where I can usually just send a resume and a cover letter to the email address of a real human being. – James Adam Mar 9 '15 at 13:12
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    The key here is to be truthful without being defensive. Truthfully mention that you were terminated, give 'differences with management' as your reason and as for the supervisor box, if you trust your previous supervisor to be truthful and objective about your performance on the previous job, leave it checked, but otherwise don't. If they ask you why you don't want them to contact the previous supervisor, answer that you don't trust them to give an objective assessment of your performance. – Cronax Mar 10 '15 at 10:29

I sympathize with your getting fired because you ate food that was going to be thrown out because I make a point of bringing home from hackathons and computer meetups food that is bound to be thrown out - Many of us who come from an immigrant/refugee background act that way, pretty much regardless of how well off we are. I wouldn't put "terminated" unless I also get to put in "ate food that was about to be thrown out" as the reason for being terminated. Getting fired was half the story. In general, don't tell any story unless you get to tell the other half of the story - You don't want people jumping to conclusions based on the half they heard.

As for your not getting along with one of your supervisors, I am not privy to the back story. Don't volunteer the fact thatyou were not getting along with that person unless you are prepared to discuss why you were not getting along with that person. I have worked with plenty of people I did not get along with, and tasks and projects still got done - usually quickly and efficiently. In which case, I find the fact that I am not getting along with someone as hardly worth mentioning.

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    While the answer is constructive and provides a valid point I do feel like there's an important part left to answer; what OP should do, not only what he should not do. – Jonast92 Mar 9 '15 at 13:29

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