Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fired After Two Months

from a career counselor

This is my first client who has been fired. The client was fired after working two months. My understanding is that it was a personality conflict in the office and so, of course, it was not the “right fit.” It was not about performance.

Should this position be listed on the résumé?

How should she explain this on an application, if it is not on the resume?

Should the client volunteer this information in the first interview, which is what the client wants to do?

I suggest not putting the two-month position on the resume. Use only years (not months) for dates in the work history so there is no apparent gap when these two months are left off.

The job application is another story. The two-month position must be put on the job application, along with "Reason for leaving." This is where your client needs your help: figuring out what to write for the reason she left. Ask the client more about why it wasn't a good fit and try to articulate that in a way that doesn't put the blame on either your client or the employer. "Not a good fit" is OK, but maybe you can come up with something less noticable like "short-term job." The goal is to say something that's truthful without drawing attention to it.

In the interview, your client should not bring up the subject. She should take a don't-ask-don't-tell stance. If the interviewer asks, your client should say something brief that doesn't invite a long conversation about it -- perhaps something like, "My stint with ABC, Inc. was valuable because I quickly realized how important it is to have professional goals that are aligned with the company's goals." Then the client could go on to talk about how her professional goals will serve the potential employer's goals. She should even ask some questions to assure both she and the interviewer that this next job will be a good match.

Since I started this blog, I've become more aware of how many empoyees get fired and how traumatic it is for those job seekers has they try to move on to another position. Check out my 21 "Job termination - fired" posts. Most of these cases involve personality conflicts so there might be some advice that's relevant to your client's situation.

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