Many people are afraid of being asked about something really embarrassing . To take an extreme example , suppose the interviewer says,” I notice that you were asked to leave your position with the XYZ Corporation because of insubordination . Is it true that you were fired because of your a personality conflict with your supervisor?” Let’s assume this did happen . It’s probably about the worst thing you could hear! How would you respond?
Many people would get tense and defensive , but this will make you look bad. You could blame your old boss or deny the accusation, but then your chances of being hired are nil. The interviewer won’t believe you. Do you have any winning options? Yes! Disarm the interviewer ,. Agree , don’t argue.
You could say,” As a matter of fact , I think that’s pretty accurate. I was inexperienced and I was too dogmatic and inflexible . My supervisor was difficult for many stafff members to get along with, but I made the mistake of being too arguemative and I foolishly locked horns with him instead of trying to understand his point of view . I could have handled the situation much better than I did . I learnt a lot from the experience. I learnt that I can’t always expect people to be tactful, reasonable, and pleasant. I think I’ve gotten a little more tolerant and flexible because of that experience.”
The advantage of this response is that you display yourself as a reasonable and open-minded person. There’s no way you can erase what happened. If you insist that it was unfair and argue that it was all your supervisor’s fault, you’ll simply confirm that you are still hard to get along with. You will be arguing with your former boss ! I guarantee that someone else will get the job. But if you assume responsibilty for the problem and genuinely agree that you screwed up , the interviewer might just admire your courage and decide that you are the kind of person they want on their team.
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