Re-Applying at Employer from which She Was Fired

Mai writes:
About 3 years ago I was fired from a major retail chain for being an accomplice to theft.
Recently I re-applied to this company and they have invited me for an interview. Since they
will find out that I am former employee and that I was fired could I possibly write them a
statement explaining the circumstances as to why I was fired and that I would like a
second chance to prove that I’ve changed?

The Career Doctor responds:
First I think your situation shows that many employers do not conduct much
screening in the early phases of the job search — of initial candidates — because
if this employer had done so I strongly believe you never would have been invited
for the interview given your past with the company.
So that brings you to the interview and what you should do.
I am an advocate of full disclosure of anything that will make you appear
dishonest — even if it means you losing a job opportunity. I mean you could take the
chance that this company’s employee database is so bad that your previous work
history and incident will not even show up but how likely is that to occur?
My advice is that you write the statement — taking full responsibility for the incident
but focusing more on what you learned and how you have changed — and emphasizing
on how much you feel you can contribute to the company. Ask a trusted friend or former
boss to review it so that you are sure it has the proper content and tone.
Finally you need to decide when to present the statement. I think you have two choices.
You can either bring up the subject and present the statement at the end of the interview
(after you have sold them on how great you are) or enclose it with your thank-you letter
you send after the interview. Which method you choose partly depends on how well you
think you can talk about the incident.
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