I was fired from my job at the beginning of August. I was a controller of a trucking company for just under two years. 2006 was a difficult year, bad system implantation that put us in a bad financial position in 2006. We started to recover in the 2nd quarter in 2007, but I was let go in August with no warning this was coming. No negative reviews, no talks to improve performance, nothing. How should I handle this situation in future interviews? Also, should I give my last company as a reference or just avoid them?

Thanks for your help.


wendii's picture
Admin Role Badge

Hi Bruce,

this happened to me. (I'll wait while you get up off the floor.)

I went over it with a few people, including Mark, until I had a reasonable explanation of what went wrong. Mark telling me my manager was an idiot made me feel a lot better!

I used that reason in interviews for the job I got straight after, and now (a job later) I just say, it wasn't a good fit. I don't have any problems.

If you can tell us what you might say, we can practise with you.


asteriskrntt1's picture

Hi Bruce

Wendii gives excellent advice. Listen to her. And I don't know many people who have not been fired, rationalized, downsized, resized or whatever.

Stress that you had a number of significant wins (turning around the implementation woes etc) and that it was a great experience to add to your tool kit.


jhack's picture

Let's clear up something: "fired" is for cause. It means your performance was seriously deficient, you behaved inappropriately, or otherwise gave them cause. In the US, you can be denied unemployment benefits if you've been fired.

Being fired reflects on your character. This is, in my experience, quite rare. I would avoid that word unless it were really the case.

Most cases (and yours sounds like this) are really lay-offs. They are done for economic reasons, and you are eligible for benefits. This is a much less a negative to a new employer. Many of us have been there (remember the dot-com implosion?)

Be honest, if asked. Indicate how you helped the company through hard times.


BBundy's picture

As I was not given any reason, I can not give a detailed answer in a interview. I can give some background and my theory. I am practicing along these lines.

"During 2006 my last company changed operating systems. This change was more difficult and time consuming than originally planned. As a result of this the company had a very challenging second half of 2006 and first quarter of 2007. We eventually started to solve the problems, implement the necessary corrective solutions and started to turn around the company in the 2nd quarter. It was at this time I was told I was being let go from the company."

I'm not sure if I should mention that I was not given a reason or not. I welcome any help anyone can offer.

wendii's picture
Admin Role Badge


I think that is a perfectly adequate explanation. If they ask why, you can say, 'I was not given a reason, but I assume that they need to ensure their cost structure ensured success of the turnaround', or something similar.


vinnie2k's picture

"Tell the truth".

Especially when it benefits you 8)

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge


Sorry this is so delayed. I regret my absence here.

First, are you certain you were fired? Was anyone else let go at the time? What did they do with your position afterwards? Did they fill it with no other org changes? Had there been other employees released and were there discussions about cost cutting? Was the system that was implemented widely recognized as the cause of the problems? Was it your recommendation or your failure of implementation?

While I'm not trying to sound as if I'm desperately wanting to avoid the idea of firing (hey, I've been fired), I FIRMLY BELIEVE that details DO matter here in terms of this characterization.

So, I'm not sold you were fired. If we decide you were, there's REAL POWER in saying so....but let's cross that bridge when we get to it.


tlhausmann's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

[quote="mahorstman"]First, are you certain you were fired? Was anyone else let go at the time? [/quote]

Mark's right Bruce. A person called me a few weeks ago from his cell phone after he had been escorted from his building. The explanation (he thought at the time) was that he had been fired.

In fact, a number of experienced administrators were let go over a period of several days. Sometimes there is a cost-cutting house cleaning and people get caught in the "woosh"

From these lessons I follow M&M advice in these matters to the best of my ability.

BBundy's picture

Thanks for your reply Mark, here is some additional information.

A few months earlier the company let go 1 whole department (3 staff and 1 manager) and two other managers. A month later they let go a regional manager, then about a month after that I was let go. The first rounds were cost cutting measures. Note, two of the managers let go played a great part in the failure of the system implementation. One was the project manager and one was the administration manager.

I believe I was the only one let go at this time. My position was filled the next day. The only org chart change that I know of is of a reporting change for the receptionist.

The system was widely believed to be the source of the problem. It was the VP's decision to choose this system, I did give it the finance okay. We also went live without any parallel testing, much to my vocal opposition. My areas of the project, while not perfect, were completed before the go live date. My take has always been the team failed at this install, not one particular person.

My separation papers state "Terminated without cause" and I was able to negotiate a better than average severance package, since l as I was there for less then two years. For the recent interviews I have been using the phrase "Packaged Out" when discussing the reason I left my last employer.