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How to Explain Your Job Layoff in an Interview

A job interview is stressful enough without the added pressure of explaining a job layoff. Not only do you have to find acceptable ways to explain why you were let go, but you also need to remain respectful to your past employer at the same time. If the layoff was recent, you’ll likely still have a lot of feelings about losing your job. If you find yourself in this position, there are a few ways to prepare an answer to why you were laid off from a job.

How to Explain Your Job Layoff in an Interview

Less is more.

When we get nervous, we tend to want to over-explain a situation that is uncomfortable for us. This is especially true when we want to look impressive but know that the rejection of a former employer is something we need to talk about. In this instance, it’s good to practice your answer about being laid off and keep it concise. Only focus on the relevant details. Find a way to explain why you were laid off without revealing too much about your shortfalls or any proprietary information about your past company.

Be honest and positive.

You may feel the temptation to not be straightforward about why you were let go to appear more positive, but honesty is the best way to go in the case of a layoff that wasn’t your fault. In tough economic times, you can generally assume that an employer will be understanding about a layoff. Also, you never know what an employer might know behind the scenes, so it’s important not to say you were laid off if you were really fired. Additionally, never say anything negative about why you were let go or about your previous employer. It makes a bad impression if you speak negatively about your former company and starts to create a sense of distrust before you even get out of the gate.

Show your value and advanced skills.

Do you know what is a great way to spin a layoff? Talking about what you did immediately after you were let go. It’s all about taking a negative and turning it into a positive. So, show that you did training or took some classes to learn more skills as soon as you were laid off. Demonstrate that you are passionate about your career and the value you can bring to an employer. This looks good because it shows that you aren’t just looking for a job but rather care about your own professional development.

If you work this situation to your advantage, you can really show an employer the positive impact you will make on their company.

Layoffs are not fun, no matter what your situation.

But if you can show your potential employer that you are able to turn a situation like that into a positive learning experience, it will stand out and look good to your new company. Start to form the story of how you exited and practice before your interview. It wouldn’t hurt to get some feedback from your peers about how you tell your story too.



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