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I was terminated for cause from a 5 year stint as a manager.

I was accused of things which did not happen:

  • Lying on my time sheets by not punching out when leaving for the day (but there were other times when I did punch out and continued working)
  • Accused me of giving extra products to customers without any facts or evidence

It was humiliating.

My question is: What do I say in interviews when asked why I was terminated?

marked as duplicate by gnat, keshlam, Monica Cellio Dec 23 '16 at 4:56

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    So was not punching out a mistake on your part, or intentional? It's unclear whether you were unscrupulous on your time sheets or not, and saying that other people weren't too honest either (before edit) is not a defense. – AndreiROM Dec 22 '16 at 21:08
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    Constructive dismissal is where you resign because of a hostile working environment - if you were terminated, it was not constructive dismissal, you were sacked for cause. How you spin a sacking for cause is another question. – Moo Dec 22 '16 at 21:22
  • It wasn't intentional the other staff members did the same thing - the company was just looking for a reason to let me go – user61995 Dec 22 '16 at 21:23
  • My question is how to answer in the next interview the reason for them letting me go – user61995 Dec 22 '16 at 21:24
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    @user61995 to be honest, there is no way to spin it - the constructive dismissal approach doesnt work because you were terminated, and the grounds for the termination are pretty severe on the face of it. I would suggest staying as vague as possible if asked - do not lie, do not avoid the question, and if found out then you need to convince any prospective employer that that termination does not reflect your current position or attitude. – Moo Dec 22 '16 at 21:31
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There is no way to spin it - the constructive dismissal approach doesn't work because you were terminated, and the grounds for the termination are pretty severe on the face of it.

I would suggest staying as vague as possible if asked - do not lie, do not avoid the question, and if found out then you need to convince any prospective employer that that termination does not reflect your current position or attitude. Honesty in this situation is the best policy - you never know, it may not come up.

  • Ok thanks but can you tell me what to say exactly – user61995 Dec 22 '16 at 21:55
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    @user61995 no, you need to figure that part out for yourself. If you cant do that, then the "honesty" aspect is entirely, completely and utterly false. Your explanation needs to be heartfelt, and as such can't come from a third party for you to simply parrot as needed. – Moo Dec 22 '16 at 21:58
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Assuming this is the first time you have been fired or had performance issues, you start by accentuating the positive, perhaps by saying something like.

"I've worked for x companies and have always been a high performer.....", perhaps give examples.

Then you admit that not every job is a perfect fit.

"Sometimes, as in any relationship, things just don't work out. "

Without bashing your company, you make your defense

"In my mind, I did everything I understood I should do. I believe that I behaved ethically and I am comfortable with my behavior; I have no regrets and harbor no ill will against my previous employer. I believe that it was all an unfortunate misunderstanding."

Then you affirm that you have learned from the situation and it will not be repeated;

"In the future, I will make sure that all of my transactions are completely open, so there will be no room for miscommunication. "

Such an approach, I believe, goes a long way to diffuse the situation.

Under no circumstances let yourself be roped into bashing your previous company or managers. There is no scenario in which that helps your case.

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    "I believe that I behaved ethically and I am comfortable with my behavior; I have no regrets" Considering that the OP was accused of tampering with his time sheets and time sheets are considered legal evidence and documentation, all I can say about your statement is "Ouch!" On the other hand, the OP has shown that they are very comfortable with what they did and they have not shown an ounce of regret, so your statement is absolutely correct that they have no regret and that they are comfortable with what they did. – Vietnhi Phuvan Dec 22 '16 at 23:16
  • The only mystery in the story is that the OP worked as manager for five years for the company. I'd think that if the allegations against them are true and a firing offense, why did they take five years to surface? On the other hand, we have no guarantee that the allegations against them are the only allegations that the firm is making against them. – Vietnhi Phuvan Dec 22 '16 at 23:22
  • @VietnhiPhuvan; A couple things... 1) My words were really meant to be a template - representing more of an attitude and approach vs. 'say exactly this' 2) Had the op been guilty, that would be a very bad statement. But what is being communicated here is the he/she did nothing wrong. – SteveJ Dec 22 '16 at 23:29
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    What;s being communicated here is that the OP thinks that they did something wrong but then everybody does it: "It wasn't intentional the other staff members did the same thing" Signing off on your time sheet should be enough evidence that it was intentional, I think. – Vietnhi Phuvan Dec 22 '16 at 23:44
  • @VietnhiPhuvan; I think that in the context of the paragraph, the intent is well understood. Any answer given here will be subjective - I'm comfortable with mine - that is what I would go with in an interview. – SteveJ Dec 22 '16 at 23:51
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Depending on how long ago you were fired you can definitely spin this in your favor.

First, did you learn anything from being fired? How to deal better with office/company politics, keeping quiet rather than speaking your mind in certain situations, being more honest/open when asked about a specific incident, etc.

Second, were you able to take what you learned from being fired an apply it later on?

Third, were you able to accept responsibility for your part in being fired? Not just an "I accept this" but an "I now see what I did wrong".

Finally, what good came out of being fired. There is ALWAYS some good.

I've been fired and sometimes it was warranted. I look back at my actions in those situations and try to not repeat the same mistakes. In other situations being fired was not warranted however, I can look at the behaviors and actions of my co-workers and/or boss to recognize the issues before they become problems again. I also see that if I had staying in some of those positions I would not have grown as a person or dropped a bad habit (smoking).

Think long an hard about what really happened and don't sugar coat it to yourself. Accept what you did wrong or could have changed in your own behavior and actions. Don't place blame on anyone else.

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If the recruter doesn't know you were fired: Do not say you were fired.

During an interview you should give an honest view of your person and your work experienced. Since "I was accused of things which did not happen", your firing was unfair, not justified and do not reprensent you in a honest way. So there is not point to talk about it. Just say after 5 years you wanted other challenges.

If the recruter knows you were fired: Just explain the truth, there is not point of lying. Put try to explain it without emotion and quickly. Prepare an answer that last less than 2 min, and states clearly you were fired over lies.

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