Explaining Reason for Firing in an Interview

Judy writes:
I’m in workforce development and am working with someone who was fired
from a bank for cashing a fraudulent cashier’s check; she claims that it was
not her fault. I’m tending to believe her based on the whole story. How can
she handle this situation in an interview when asked why she was fired from the bank?

The Career Doctor responds:
Everybody makes mistakes. And assuming it was an innocent mistake I think
she should be able to find her way back to employment… although a job in
banking may be a little harder to get than others.
The key for her of course is to first never raise the subject herself. And that
goes for anyone who has been fired — for any reason. Let the prospective employer
assume you left on your own accord.
That said some prospective employers are bound to ask the question. The
way she answers the question however is critical. First she needs to admit
that she was fired for a mistake she made. That’s it; make the admission but
do not dwell on it — and certainly do not blame others for your mistake. The rest
of her response MUST focus on the lessons she has learned from the incident –
this is the information hiring managers want to hear. She needs to talk about
the importance of following procedures checking for authenticity etc. — whatever
it is she did not do the first time. That’s it.
And that’s the way it is with all “negative” questions such as when an
interviewer asks “tell me about a time you couldn’t meet a deadline.” If you
have never missed one you can say so. But if you have the point of the
question is to find out if you have now learned how not to miss one in the future –
and that’s how you should answer the question.
For lots more information about job interviewing check out all the resources in this
section of Quintessential Careers: Guide
to Job Interviewing Resources

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