By Shannon Jackson
Special to The Toronto Sun
Q:I was fired from my last job because of a personality conflict with my boss. Do I tell someone that in an interview?
A:At some point, you may be asked to produce references from your last employer. If you haven't been honest about your reason for leaving, and the truth comes out at the reference stage, it may cause the recruiter to question your credibility.
There is no doubt it is a tough situation. If you speak negatively about your previous employer, the interviewer may have concerns about what you would say about him/her. If you fail to disclose the details of your termination (if asked, you do not need to volunteer the information if they don't request it), you jeopardize your credibility. If you say, "I was fired," and fail to explain it, you may scare them off.
Send your job-related questions to Diane Janes at firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to Career Connections, The Toronto Sun, 333 King St. E., 4th Floor, Toronto, Ont., M5A 3X5
I would select one poignant example of your personality conflict that presents your situation in a positive light. Share that example in no more than one or two sentences, describing why it was not a suitable fit for you. Then, speak about why you think you would be a strong fit for the company to which you are applying.
Remember, you probably have about one hour to display your strengths. You don't want to dedicate too much of that time to discussions of a negative situation in the past -- focus more on why you are the best hire for the opportunity you are meeting about!
(Shannon Jackson is a hiring expert, with more than seven years experience recruiting for Fortune 500 companies across Canada.)
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