Have a job interview coming up? Make sure you prepare! It’s always a good idea to know what you will say, but perhaps even more importantly, is how you say it. Explaining yourself and your previous job experiences to an interviewer can be an uncomfortable – and sometimes risky – situation! Let’s take a look at some different verbs associated with the termination of a job and the very important differences between them. The specific words you say can have a dramatic influence on exactly what you are communicating to the interviewer!
Interviewer: What happened at your last job? Why don’t you work there anymore?
I was fired. – If you are fired, your boss wanted you to leave the job because of your own bad actions, behavior, or performance. It admits fault, and is almost like saying, “I am a bad employee, and you shouldn’t trust me!” You never want to say this to an interviewer!
I quit. – If you quit your previous job, you left it voluntarily. You made the decision to stop working there, not your superiors. Perhaps you didn’t like the job, or it was too stressful, or you didn’t get along with your co-workers. Sometimes people have very good reasons for quitting their jobs. However, should you say this? No! It can communicate that you might be the type of person who will not commit to a job, especially if it is difficult or challenging.
I retired. – If you retired, you decided to stop working permanently. The most common reason for this is because you are elderly, and you either do not need to work anymore or are unable to do so. In other situations, people retire at a young age because they have become very rich! Unfortunately, sometimes when a person retires, it is not permanent, and he or she will later need to find a new job because of unexpected financial circumstances.
I was laid off. – If you were laid off, your company had to terminate your job because of financial reasons. Perhaps the economy is in a recession, or your company is not making enough money to pay your salary. It is probably the best thing you can say in an interview, because it is like saying, “My company didn’t want to lose me, but they didn’t have a choice.”
Make sure you know the important differences between these terms before your next job interview! And good luck!
James is Voxy’s Featured Tutor and manages its social media presence.