How to Clarify Why You Were Laid off in an Interview

Why You Were Fired: What to Say in an Interview to Explain Your Termination

The Economic Times reports that about 4.1 million young Indians have lost their jobs as a result of this epidemic.

Finding a solid job should be your top priority despite the difficulty of getting back on track.

These are some of the steps you can take after being laid off.

When hiring managers see a long break in work, they will naturally wonder what happened to cause your layoff. The term “behavioural interview questions” describes this type of inquiry.

This is why it’s crucial to get ready in advance.

To that end, let me to rephrase the question.

What to expect if you’re laid off versus fired

To begin, it’s vital that we all have a shared understanding of what it means to be “laid off” vs “fired.”

There are a number of valid grounds for dismissal on the part of an employer, including misconduct, incompetence, etc.

A layoff, on the other hand, occurs when a corporation reduces its workforce owing to financial difficulties or a company reorganisation and has nothing to do with your performance.

Methods for Explaining Your Dismissal

With the concepts established now, below are a few aspects you should consider while answering this behavioural interview question.

Be honest

Keeping quiet about a layoff is not the best course of action because industry news is never buried.

Instead, be honest with the recruiter about the reason for your employment gap and mention that you were laid off during a company downsize.

Don’t try to hide the fact that you were let go in a layoff either. The truth will eventually get out to your recruiter, and it won’t look good.

So, it’s best to be forthright with your recruiter about the cause for your employment absence.

Address the elephant in the room

There are two schools of thought on this: one would prefer to wait to be asked about their employment gap, while the other would rather just get it out there and clear the air.

Most potential applicants will choose the second, but you can also start with the first.

It is normal for a job seeker who has experienced rejection to feel some level of anxiety or insecurity.

Therefore, facing the issue head-on is the key to success in the interview. In the course of your introduction, you can briefly describe the issue.

In this approach, you can calm nerves and set the tone for a successful interview.

Answer in a positive tone

Having negative emotions after being laid off is normal, but you must not allow them control you.

Accordingly, when responding to the behavioural interview question, it is preferable to respond in a positive manner rather than criticising your previous employer or coming across as negative.

Quantify the layoff in the organization

When you put a dollar amount on the layoff your previous employer carried out, the sharp attention is quickly removed from you.

By assigning a numerical value to the layoff of which you were a part, you can avoid coming across as a helpless victim and instead come across as mature and in charge.

Read on for some suggestions on how to deal with it.

Make your answer crisp

As much as you would like to vent your frustrations, a job interview is not the time or place to do so.

You should be forthright with the recruiter, but also try to keep the conversation focused on the bright side so that you can move on to the next part of the interview.

Do not press the issue unless the recruiter specifically asks for more information.

Point out how you will be of value

Success in an interview depends mostly on your ability to sell yourself at a higher rate than the other candidates.

In describing your fit with the new company, be sure to emphasise your strongest attributes.

How to address a layoff in your resume/cover letter

It is difficult to put a layoff on a résumé, but it is even more difficult to address the issue.

You can include your layoff in a few different ways on your resume, and we’ll go over each of them now.

Do not mention it

Many people would rather not draw attention to a layoff on their resume but instead address it head-on when questioned in a behavioural interview what led to their dismissal.

Add a phrase about it to your cover letter.

If you want to get the attention of a recruiter, you need to start with a cover letter.

There is a lot more to emphasise in your cover letter than the reason you were let off.

Simply put, you may compose,

“As you may have heard, in an effort to save costs, ABC Company had to lay off 30% of its workforce, including myself.

However, this was not due to a lack of my ability, as evidenced by my resume, which shows that I have always done my absolute best.

Do not mislead

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t exaggerate or outright lie about your qualifications during the interview or on your CV.

So, if you were fired, don’t try to call it a layoff and don’t fudge the dates.

To give just one example, if you’ve recently been let go from your work, you shouldn’t list it as your present one on any online profiles.

Use your words carefully.

It’s important to use effective language while applying for jobs.

The way you describe being laid off in your cover letter and CV might make or break your chances of getting an interview.

Don’t sound too casual or downbeat as you break the news of your layoff.

If you want an objective opinion on your cover letter, you can always show it to friends and family.

Things to do during the period of layoff

It’s normal to feel depressed and hopeless after being laid off unexpectedly.

Instead, you may turn that negativity into a career boon by investing in your own personal development.

Some suggestions on how to make the most of your time when unemployed.

Use the time to upskill

Increasing your employability is as simple as enrolling in one of the numerous available online courses.

Courses pertinent to your profession can be found on a variety of online education platforms, including Udemy, Unacademy, and Coursera.

Read on if you want to find out why honing your abilities is crucial to your professional success.

Add references to your resume

A candidate’s ability to do the job is far more likely to be accepted when they have solid recommendations from former employers.

Whether you want to include a reference on your resume, you may always ask your reporting manager, senior members of the team, or any field expert with whom you are on good terms if they would be willing to do so.

If your recruiter contacts them, they will be able to give you a favourable recommendation.

Referees should be included on a resume in the proper format, which you can read about here.

Use your connections wisely

We all hope to advance in our careers, but it’s usually not until we’re at our lowest that we see how far we’ve fallen behind and get motivated to make up for lost time.

If you want more insight into the next trends and what you can do to keep abreast of the curve, a conversation with a colleague, senior, or peer in your area is a great place to start.

In addition, if you have solid relationships, they may be able to introduce you to the appropriate recruiters within their organisation.

Highlight your best works in your career

Take advantage of the time you have and check your work carefully.

Think about why you want to highlight that experience on your resume and how it will help you stand out to a recruiter.

Only after receiving reasonable and compelling responses to these inquiries should the work be brought to light.


Anyone might be thrown off course and frightened by the sudden loss of a job.

Even though it is difficult, hopefully you will be able to answer the behavioural interview question about why you were laid off with the information provided here.

All the best!

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