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EP 1627 Here I offer multiple ways of addressing it.

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Today, I'm going to do one of those tough interview questions, those questions that are designed to make you squirm and feel uncomfortable because they hit a nerve. And this is, it doesn't have to be exactly this wording to it. And it's not really a question but it brings up a sore spot. And the comment that a firm made or posed is, "it looks like you've been fired twice." Is now the implied question is, "what's wrong with you? Why were you the one that gets fired twice? Because people normally don't get fired twice," or I'm going to go back to even more humbling framework. "Good people don't get fired twice."

Now, the way you respond to this is fairly direct. "Yeah, I've been fired twice and it was painful because, you know, there was never a question my own performance. You know, I've got great reviews, I've got a couple of reviews I can send to you because when I left, I asked for my reviews, just as a way of illustrating that there's no problem with my performance. I can show you; I can send those to you, if you like. But the fact of the matter is, employees in our country are sometimes fired and it has nothing to do with their performance. It has to do with the business unit performance. I worked in sales."

So I'm going to go down a couple of decision trees here. "I worked in sales, I always hit my numbers and exceeded my numbers. But, other people didn't." Or, for example, "you know, the role I was in was heading up a function that they decided wasn't core to the business and, as a result, there wasn't a place to reassign me. I was the one who was among the people who were let go at that time." Or, you know, "I was a staff level individual. I was asked to do certain things. I did them. I exceeded any benchmark that they gave me by far. And, yet, when business suffered, of course, I was like, I'm sure you've seen countless cases of good people getting let go by organizations as part of re-organizations. . . And that's really what happened to me."

And then from there you go into, "In the past, I've landed very good situations, better than the ones I was in at that time and, in many respects, they were a blessing to me that I was let go because I would have continued working there and missed out on some great opportunities.

"But, yes, it's true. I was let go. And, you know, I've landed very well." You go into something,I don't have the exact language, but you close it out by saying something like, "And I hope we have a chance to see one another more frequently" or, "I hope we have the opportunity to work with one another more often, because, frankly, this seems like a great opportunity."

You tie it together in some way. It spontaneously just doesn't come to me right now. But the idea is, you acknowledge the layoffs, that you were a high performer, business situations change and, at the level that you're at, when those changes occur, your amongst the people that gets let go.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1600 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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