Laid Off, Terminated, Fired? Here's What to Say…



If you were laid off and you were a top performer, here is how you can explain why you were laid off to employers and interviewers. Getting laid off sucks, but it’s really easy to bounce back from it and get another job. The trick to explaining laid off is to talk about what you were doing while you were laid off, not why you were laid off.

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. I want to teach you how you can explain being laid off to a prospective employer, so that it doesn’t sound like you were fired or that you were let go because of poor performance.
I mean, most companies, if they have a layoff, it’s because the company isn’t doing well. So, if you were let go because of a widespread corporate layoff, let me give you a few ideas that you can use to tell employers that it really wasn’t your fault.
And one of the things that you really want to come through, to be crystal clear, in your answer as to why you were let go or why you’re laid off is to let them know that it wasn’t a result of your professional performance. You were on the job performance. You want to let them know it had nothing to do with you. In fact, you want to let them know that your performance was excellent. Let them know that your boss thought your performance is great. You have a long history of excellent performance reviews. You want to talk about how much you liked working there. You want to talk about how much you enjoyed what you did, you enjoyed the people.
So, you want to make it clear that it had nothing to do with your personal performance. In fact, your personal performance was great; they loved you. You have a long track record of excellent performance reviews. You loved working there. You loved what you did. The people liked you. The customers liked you and even your boss went and asked his boss if they could still keep you. In fact, that’s actually what happened to me.
In my case, my boss went to his boss, which was the owner of the company, and said, “Hey, we really want to keep Don. The customers like him, he does a great job, we want to keep him here”. But you know what? None of that mattered. They just simply said, “This is a numbers game and we have to let go” in my case, it was 45 people. They had to let go 45 people in order for the company to survive.
And they didn’t want to do that, because that was really putting them down to a bare bone, skeleton crew, but they had to do it. If they didn’t let these people go, the whole company would sink.
So, unfortunately, I got caught up on that and it sounds like that’s what happened to you too. You got caught up in an unfortunate corporate-wide layoff and it’s not your fault. And that’s the message that you want to come through when they ask you why you were let go from your last job or why you were laid off. That’s what you want them to understand is that it had nothing to do with you and in fact, they loved you there and they didn’t want to let you go.
And what this really does; this is sending a message to that employer that, “Hey, you know what? There’s another company that really liked this guy, but they had to let him go. So, this is our opportunity to pick this guy up; to pick up a good guy on sale. Maybe we can even pay him less than what he was making before”. I don’t know if that factors into it or not, but this is a chance for a company to pick up a good person who’s already been screened by another company as being a valuable asset.
Now, here’s a problem that often happens in cases like this. If you were very well-paid at your last job, that’s probably nothing that you want to share with prospective employer.
It doesn’t look good to go into a prospective employer and say, “Yes, I was very well paid my last job and then they had a lay off”. The underlying message in that statement could be that maybe you were laid off because you made too much money.
So, if you made a lot of money or if you were paid more than maybe you should have been paid, don’t let those numbers come out in the interview. You might have to taper down your salary a little bit and shut a few dollars off, so that you don’t look too expensive.


27 thoughts on “Laid Off, Terminated, Fired? Here's What to Say…”

  1. Hi Don! I was laid off but the company was going through some financial reassessment and being that I was the newest they laid me off. I went to an interview and the interviewer asked me "was there any writing on the wall" or "why didn't you ask them why you got laid off" honestly I felt it was intrusive. I didn't want that job anyway but still how could I have answered her follow up questions. Thank you!

  2. I was laid off when they shipped 75% of our finance department overseas.
    My question is: How do I explain a 2-year gap in my resume that’s partly due to seeking a new job after the layoff but also due to some health issues that slowed me down for about eight months?

  3. I was laid off when they shipped 75% of our finance department overseas.
    My question is: How do I explain a 2-year gap in my resume that’s partly due to seeking a new job for year after the layoff, but also due to some health issues that slowed me down for about ten months?
    I’m worried that this gap will show poorly and I don’t know what to do.

  4. Can you explain how to handle disrecpected coworkers' attitude in job enviroment. I got a job, but I could not tollarate my bully coworkes. so, I left it. I had several bad experinence about this matter. My gaurd is always down b.c I do like funny and happy environment. But, mostly I am the victim of my attitude. And, people abuse my soft spot against me. Plz help me. I am affraid next time I will do some reactions which hurt somebody. I need to be prepaired.

  5. So i just started new job and just after 3 days passing probation period they told me our business running very slow and we have to let some people go and u're one of them. Lay-off is for 3 month amd they give me a letter stating i will get my position offered back to me before period ends. I already started looking for new job but is there any possibility of me going back. Lay-off didn't happens in that company since last 15 years

  6. I just got laid off because of the coronavirus pandemic and my company were losing clients,what do I say?

  7. I find this to be inaccurate. Layoffs don’t happen to the “weakest people” on the team — that would actually be illegal. So stating that is misleading to start and makes me question the other content in your channel.

  8. I got laid off yesterday and it was all of a sudden is that normal I was great doing everything the right way.

  9. I put off knee surgery for almost a year. Finally had to do it and was laid off before I even returned. Was with the company 9 years and shame on me I was doing senior manager work for Jr level pay. It was actually a blessing I needed the push to move on. I disagree the weakest people are let go. In the case of my company they want to keep the lowest paid in the department.

  10. I was laid off. But I know they lied to be when they said that they fired me.
    Because 1 week before they laid me and others off, work have slowed down a lot. But it was all because of the corona virus.
    But the thing is that they lied to me.

  11. In this environment many people will be some of the best that got laid off and the gap won’t be a deal breaker if we are making best of the time as you say. I do like your tips, the job market is stagnant right now.

  12. Any hiring manager will have experienced laying off good people. I once had to do that with 80 people, and they were all really good; there just wasn't the money to keep them on.

  13. well to be honest i just lie and just say im still employed. i have found prospective employers are more excited to talk to me if they know im employed.

  14. Hi Don in my country i had trouble filling up this question with a yes /no If i was being terminated / dimissed to me putting a yes felt like a death sentence to me as it can affect my future career path………

  15. Yes, very true, I went to Ageis for Technical support. I was layoff from my previous company due to company Revenue in this Pandemic. I was asked what have you been doing for last 6 month, I said I was at home and nothing much. I was not selected

  16. Dude your videos are so long winded, you basically repeat yourself for like 3 minutes then finally move on to the next point, do you think you're good at interviewing? I bet you're not

  17. The actual reason why I was laid of after many years of working for 1 company was my concern of having multiple cell tower antennas recently installed on the roof of the office building…

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