The Best Way to Answer “YES” to “Have You Ever Been Fired?”

Investment Banking Analyst, New York, NY
Marketing Internship, San Francisco, CA
Investment Analyst, Boston, MA
Marketing Strategy Analyst, Shanghai, China
Jr. Trader, New York, NY

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For some, the question “Have you ever been fired?” can inspire a pit in the stomach when the answer to that question is “Yes”.  You may be among an unfortunate bunch who had a horrific experience at a company (or with a certain coworker or boss), ending in a not so ideal ending.  And whether your termination was your fault or not, it can continue to haunt you in your search for future prospects.  So what is the best way to field this tough issue?

Be Honest

First things first:  don’t lie.  It may be tempting to dismiss the topic altogether, hoping that the company you’re interviewing with never finds out – but what happens if they do?  If they find out during the interview process, you’re certain not to get the job.  And if they find out a few years down the line, no matter how great an employee you are, they may still decide to let you go.  A second termination is not what you want on your record, so do yourself a favor and be upfront and honest from the get go.  It’s much safer, and you’ll stress about if far less in the long run.

Provide Some Context

Explain the circumstances surrounding the incident.  If it was a conflict of interest, let the interviewer know.  If it happened 15 years ago, tell them that you now have a lot of distance from the incident and that your stellar work performance since then speaks for itself.  If it occurred in the more recent past, explain that you have learned quite a bit from the incident, but don’t spend your time making excuses.  Lay down the facts, and focus on what you’ve done since and will do in the future to demonstrate that you are a valuable employee who understands what it takes to be an asset to a company.

Don’t Give Away Too Much

While it’s important to be forthcoming in your response to this question, you also don’t want to spend too much time addressing the matter.  Keep the focus of the interview on what makes you the ideal person to hire, and spend as little time as you can conveying what the interviewer needs to know about that particular incident.  People who feel the need to defend themselves tend to over-explain, and this can portray lack of confidence and lead you down the wrong road.  Certainly stray away from speaking ill of your former boss or company, remaining as objective and succinct as possible.

No one likes getting fired and everyone wants to find a new job.  Don’t let one obstacle in your past set the tone for the rest of your career.  Concentrate on what you need to do to land your next job and on the reasons you’re a perfect fit for it, and the rest will follow.

Have a wonderful day,

The Doostang Team

Doostang Success — It Took Seconds to Get My Foot in the Door

Chris

Florida State University, 2011
Research Analyst – AEW Capital Management

“I recently graduated from Florida State University’s Master of Science in Finance program. I was looking for a career in which I would play a vital role in research and investment strategies with a large company with international exposure. A friend of mine had referred me to Doostang, and I could not be happier for the advice.

While the job market is still tight, Doostang did a great job of consolidating the job opportunities into an easy application process, where I knew my resume and cover letter were being viewed.

We all know how cut-throat the internet job search can be, but Doostang took out a lot of the heavy lifting in the job search process by allowing me to filter my searches toward the career ventures I deemed relevant, but also ones that I had a decent shot at, being an entry level candidate from a non-target school.

I received three calls back about openings before I found my dream job. I interviewed at all three, and received an offer from a PE firm.

The opportunity wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, so I continued sending out my cover letter and resume until I got an email from my current employer. After two phone screens, I was flown up to Boston, where I interviewed and got the job.

The firm manages over $47 billion of assets and securities, and was just the international exposure I was looking for! This opportunity has put me in a position to get experience at a high quality investment management firm, and sets me up perfectly to continue my own personal education by offering to pay for the CFA.

I have spent years cold calling and networking, trying to get an opportunity that just took me seconds to get my foot in the door for via Doostang.

You can’t put a price on a website that is so filter-friendly, and ensures you with alert features that your resume is being viewed by potential employers. This website was great to help me narrow down the job function and industry that fit my personality and career aspirations. I will continue to, and have been referring Doostang to friends and family. Thanks Doostang!”


Did you get a job through Doostang? Share your Doostang success story and get a $500 Signing Bonus from Doostang!

Here’s a small sample of the great jobs you’ll find on Doostang:

Junior Trader – Registered Financial Trading Firm, Greenwich, CT

Consultant/Manager – Top Tier Global Management Consulting Firm, Boston, MA

Associate – Cutting Edge Private Equity Investment & Advisory Group, SF Bay Area, CA

Strategy & Analysis Manager – Leading Digital Marketing & Media Company, Chicago, IL

Analyst – Growing Corporate Finance Advisory Firm, Stamford, CT

Search jobs on Doostang

Language Secrets for a Successful Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Technology Research Analyst, SF Bay Area, CA
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On the job circuit, it is important to be yourself and clearly express your experience and ability in a way that will resonate with recruiters.  Sincerity is a critical component of being authentic, however you may need to massage your language to make sure the hiring manager is listening.  Of course you don’t want to deceive a potential employer with a trumped-up version of yourself.  That is very similar to padding your resume – a definite no-no in the world of successful job seekers. What you must do to ensure a receptive audience is to say all the right things – in the right way.

1.  Use the Language of Results.

Most CEOs are interested in how your behavior and enthusiasm can help the company move toward specific goals and objectives. An effective strategy includes researching the company for new initiatives, pet projects, or even community involvement and aligning your key work experiences with the activities receiving corporate attention.  Critical information will provide the frame for presenting your skills to the employer. Highlight strengths and experiences that parallel the business intelligence gathered in your research efforts.

Tailor your presentation to garner extra attention from a hiring manager.  Interest may be generated from shared efforts on a community project, HR committee work on social events (translates to improved morale in the language of the CEO), or attending city council meetings on zoning issues (the Division Manager will see you as a trusted representative of the company, as well as a Subject Matter Expert on community relations and regulations).

2.  Verbalize How You Get Things Done.

Gather several sample job descriptions for plum positions and study them for skill areas emphasized.  Sure, every position will share some basic skills that form the core of that profession, but each company has unique expectations within a specific corporate culture.  Compare the job descriptions with your personal work history, not just in terms of basic qualifications, but also in terms of added-value you bring to the table from your personality, extensive contacts, or significant accomplishments. Help the hiring manager understand how you will enhance the team’s functioning, levels of productivity, or bottom line when you deliver your significant skill set.

3.  Listen for Clues.

Many companies share an idiosyncratic language that reflects the corporate mission. Listen to how individuals talk and write.  By identifying trends, such as “do you see what I’m talking about” or “I hear what you’re saying”, you have tapped into clues about how individuals understand the world around them.  Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) suggests mirroring the language of those around you helps to create a bond of shared vision and direction. You will make a solid connection.

4.  Utilize Action Words.

Using powerful language conveys your individual influence and authority. It is not necessary to be in a position of authority to communicate that type of strength to others. When job-seeking, you may feel as though you are an underdog in interactions, but this is the time to step up your game and project your confidence and competence. Action words are a great way to do so. Your list of accomplishments may include “projects executed”, “costs contained”, or “profits accelerated”.

5.  Express Professional Passion.

Passion ignites interest. Define your professional passion by listing all the career-related activities that excite you. Don’t be afraid to express those professional passions by talking about what energizes you. Enthusiasm is contagious and most employers are drawn to candidates who are energized about the profession, their company, or the mere possibility of making a well-defined contribution. Whether you are a dreamer or a doer, you have specific skills to offer – get excited and don’t be shy about sharing.

6.  Incorporate Nonverbal Messages.

Remember the power of body language in addition to all other types of communication. Pay attention to your nonverbal messages as well as those of the hiring manager. In any face-to-face interactions, use the basics of good eye contact, a firm handshake, and an open stance.  If the body language of the other person doesn’t seem as open, try engaging him/her in conversation that is appropriately upbeat. If you are in the office, pay attention to objects on the desk for clues to possible conversation starters – a favorite sports team or plaque of recognition. Over the phone or email, introduce your interest in a special corporate project.

Put these secrets to work and you will be communicating with prospective employers at many different levels. Being able to effectively match the hiring manager’s communication style in multiple ways maximizes a sense of connection and shared vision. Speaking the same language helps the prospective employer see you as part of the team, getting you a few steps closer to landing that plum position!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!