How Can You Justify a Dismissal?

Did your last work experience end in a dismissal? Here’s how to justify to a recruiter the fact that you did not achieve your goals.

The job interview is not a confessional,” starts off Mathieu Bréard, vocational rehabilitation counsellor. “Yes, you must be honest about the reasons for your dismissal. However, there’s no point in staying on the topic for too long or seeking to blame someone or something…”

There can indeed be a great temptation to try to absolve yourself from all responsibility. After all, employees rarely set their own performance goals. Nor do they decide on the means and the time they have available to achieve these goals. In addition, unless it was a serious breach, malpractice or an illegal act, a worker should be able to put a dismissal into context to his or her advantage.

Éric Lafrenière, guidance counsellor at ÉKI c.o., suggests however remaining cautious about the reasons for your dismissal: “You need to be very careful about what we say about our former employer and how we explain your dismissal: depression, family stresses, etc. This would risk putting other doubts into the mind of a potential employer.” Things can be named “simply and briefly”, Mathieu Bréard sums up.

What can be omitted

Obviously, time can be taken to explain the lessons learned from this professional incident: “The idea is to reassure the employer by giving several examples of what you have learned from this mishap and what you have done to improve yourself,” says Éric Lafrenière.

Some examples could be a skill to be developed, an aptitude to improve or knowledge to be acquired. To achieve this, a few weeks of unemployment that have elapsed can be put to use to take steps for professional improvement, or targeted training which will demonstrate good faith. “A demonstration needs to be made that you are ready to face new challenges,” concludes Mathieu Bréard.

To help yourself, Éric Lafrenière suggests choosing references carefully. Since most employers want to have a reference from the last job, especially from a superior who had authority over us, a person who can speak well about us should be selected. “It’s important to contact the people ahead of time that you want to give as a reference, to have a better idea of what they could say about us,” he says.

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