Why did you leave your last place of employment?
I am a controller who was laid off by my employer last November. I am worried about answering the question of why I was laid off. My former employer sent a letter to the PA unemployment office stating I was let go due to downsizing.
A few months later a new person was hired in my old position. His LinkedIn profile shows he is the controller of my former company.
I am using the reason "laid off due to downsizing" based on my ex-employer's letter, but I am concerned that any new employer will check my claim by going to LinkedIn, inputting my former company name, and discovering that a new person with the same title is in my place.
During a phone screen should I say I have a letter stating I was laid off due to downsizing or should I take another approach?
Sorry to hear of your job loss. Although this is a stressful time for you, at least your employer said you were laid off and allowed you to collect unemployment benefits. Most employees aren't so fortunate.
Some employers find it easier to "lay off" people rather than fire them as they worry about liability. If your employer didn't say he was firing you, and told you you were being laid off...then that's your answer.
The fact that they hired someone else a few months later shouldn't concern you. I realize how it looks, but maybe they picked up a big new account, or decided after they let you go that they really couldn't manage without this position.
You don't know the reasons.
You're telling the truth to prospective employers about your layoff status because that's what your ex-employer told you during your exit interview and they even gave you a letter.
On the other hand, if you were fired, here are a few resources on my site that can also help you formulate your answer:
I would not share the letter your ex-employer gave you with prospective employers unless they doubt your reason for leaving the company. If you share the letter too soon it will look like a cover up.
Lastly...sometimes no matter what you say, an interviewer will keep digging for the "real story". If you feel trapped in an interview after you've made a good effort to explain your departure, just collapse and explain that in addition to the reason you gave, things didn't work out because...whatever. Then let the chips fall where they may. This won't happen too often, but don't worry if it does.
I've seen lots of people get a job after they were fired or left a company under less than favorable circumstances. FACT:
70% of the reason people don't get job offers is a poorly written resume
, and doing poorly in a job interview setting. These are 2 things you have a lot of control over and can prepare for. If you're interview is going very
well and your job loss becomes an issue, it now is a smaller problem because your interviewer is impressed with you. So always make sure you are well prepared for your job interview
to make the best impression possible. This often trumps thorny problems.
Maybe someone else out there had a similar experience and can tell us how they overcame this.
Update 6-18-2011: I recently published a book to help the long term unemployed find a job, Why Don't They Call Me?-Job Search Wisdom to Get you Unstuck
. Included in my book are scripts for networking, truths and myths about job search methods, and an extensive chapter on how social networking (LinkedIN, Facebook, Twitter) can help you find a job. I also share with my readers numerous true life stories to validate the principles and concepts mentioned in my book.
Let me know if any of this was helpful to you. Also if you come across some good information to help others in the same boat, let me know so I can share it with my visitors.
All the best to you.
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