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Discussing negative job experiences in an interview


From:

Insights from a College Career Coach

with Valerie Sutton

Video: Discussing negative job experiences in an interview

Jeff Layton: Here's a question that we got from a member that it seems like a very painful place to be in. They need to answer the question, why did you leave your last job? and they've been fired. How do you answer that? Valerie Sutton: That is a really tough one. I think the first thing you have to do is really analyze what didn't work in that situation and why you were let go. And think about how you might rephrase it, and it's really about fit a lot of times, that you were let go, and so that's what I would start with.
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Watch the Online Video Course Insights from a College Career Coach
27m 37s Appropriate for all Oct 30, 2012

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Are you feeling stuck in your current position, seeking a new one, or contemplating a career change? In this interview, author and career coach Valerie Sutton answers common questions about career development. For those thinking about a new career, she offers advice on assessing your passions and your personality, knowing when you need more education to get the job you want, and researching hiring trends in the industries that interest you. For those actively searching for jobs or getting back into the job market after an absence, she discusses how to write resumes and cover letters that speak to your talents, impress potential employers, and help you land an interview.

Topics include:
  • Making a career change and assessing hiring trends
  • Using a gap analysis to fill holes in your resume
  • Tailoring your resume
  • Evaluating postings on job boards
  • Maintaining an online presence
  • Having a portfolio
  • Increasing your visibility with recruiters
  • Moving up in your career
Subject:
Business
Author:
Valerie Sutton

Discussing negative job experiences in an interview

Jeff Layton: Here's a question that we got from a member that it seems like a very painful place to be in. They need to answer the question, why did you leave your last job? and they've been fired. How do you answer that? Valerie Sutton: That is a really tough one. I think the first thing you have to do is really analyze what didn't work in that situation and why you were let go. And think about how you might rephrase it, and it's really about fit a lot of times, that you were let go, and so that's what I would start with.

I would start with you know it wasn't a right fit for myself or the employer. It took you know say x amount of time in the evenings to do something and I just--I couldn't make that. So I'm looking for that more nine-to-five working, which I know that you provide. Jeff: Hmm. Valerie: So that just, that turns it around into something a little more positive. You have reflected on it and now you're set able to say how you might transition that and create a more positive working environment.

Jeff: So if may be you're able to analyze the situation, and say here's the solution going forward. Valerie: Yes, exactly. Jeff: How do you change a negative job experience into a positive one during an interview? Valerie: Sure! Most people are not looking for that negative experience; they're looking for what you learned from the experience. So let's take an example. They might ask a question of, give me an example of when you worked on a team and it hasn't turned out the way you want it to.

Again, they're not looking for the fact that it's negative, they're looking for what you learned. So it may be about well, when I worked on this team, here's what I would change in this aspect to make the team work better.

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