Ask Vicki: How does getting fired affect your career?
In this answer on Quora, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi explains the consequences of getting fired—plus the best way to recover.
Each week, Monster’s career expert Vicki Salemi—a former recruiter who utilizes 15-plus years of experience in recruiting and human resources to empower job seekers—answers user questions on Quora. We’ll be republishing the answers here. If you have a question for Vicki, send it to email@example.com.
Q. How does getting fired affect your career?
A. If you get fired, it doesn’t have to crush your dreams, but there are a few ways it can affect your career.
Let’s say you were terminated for poor performance. While running a background check on you, your future employer would typically be told you were terminated. Some companies hear the word “terminated” and they think “fired.” But others hear the word “terminated” and think you simply resigned and were therefore marked as “terminated” in the system. There’s a nice shade of gray here that can work in your favor.
During a job interview, definitely don’t mention if you were fired due to poor performance. If you were let go due to smaller budgets, outsourcing, or anything else that wasn’t related to your performance, you can mention it. Due to the recession a few years ago, it seriously wasn’t an issue if someone I was interviewing said they were let go from their job. I typically didn’t even bat an eyelash and would just ask, “OK, what have you been doing since then?”
Where getting fired can hurt you, however, is word of mouth. Your reputation is everything. If you arrived to the office late, never met a deadline, and were rude to everyone, well, that’s definitely a game changer—and not in a good way. It’s hard to get a positive reference when you’re not a good employee. People may be honest and tell your prospective employer, “Don’t hire this person.”
How to recover? Get serious about your career. Make it an exception that you were fired, not the norm. Produce exemplary work with a can-do attitude and be humble. You want to show future employers that you were able to bounce back and excel.
Now make sure to properly label your resumes so you can avoid this mishap in the future!