Category: Private Job Search

How to Handle a Job Interview If You Were Fired

by The Job Search Superhero Coaching Team

 

Many job-seekers today are using the web and apps to search for jobs all the time. From the time during World War II when health benefits became tied to our jobs, in many situations’ employees have been overstaying their productive years of service to an employer just to maintain their health benefits. Work scenarios like this can become toxic and inefficient as the unhappy employee tries to keep a balance between working at their current job while trying to search for their next job. In this article that speaks to why employers pay health insurance in the first place, Daniel Akst explains several ways that our current economy is being hurt by this continued practice. Although the article is from 2003, its many points are still relevant today.

Is your current job making you miserable?          Were you fired?

“There is no good reason for any of this, aside from historical accident. During World War II, federal wage controls prevented employers from wooing workers with higher pay, so companies started offering health insurance as a way around the law.” Of course, this form of compensation is still considered a form of payment as part of the hiring package today. When the war ended, the practice stuck and the rest, as they say, is history.

WWII tied US health benefits to employer

When employees try to conduct private job searches, they are caught in a precarious situation where they must try to look for their new job while still working for the current one that’s making them miserable. It is a fine line to walk.

Despite LinkedIn’s Open Candidate feature stating that they will try not to reveal your job search to your current employer, they explicitly say that there are no guarantees. If you find yourself in a situation where your employer finds out you’re looking to make a move and fires you, then that brings an added issue for your next interview. If you are at all concerned that the new company you are applying with will check all of your references then be upfront. At the very least most potential employers are sure to ask why you left your last job.

If you’re actively looking for work you should turn this feature on, however if you’re still employed be very careful.

If you find that the jobs you are interviewing are in line with your skills, but you aren’t going far in the interview process once they find out you were fired, you might be getting blacklisted. But don’t worry, there are ways to overcome this problem, and we can help. Besides helping our clients with mock interviews for their interview practice and preparation, we also help them to formulate their responses to the tough questions about why they were fired from their last job.

You’re fired now what?

As difficult as it seems, the best industry advice is that if you know they will verify your employment, then bring the topic of your being fired up yourself. Being upfront and honest about how you parted ways with your last employer has been shown to be the best approach for this difficult situation.

 

1) We know that it sounds better to use the terminology “I was let go because…” as opposed to “I was fired because…” so make sure to use the first and not the second statement.

2) Explain why you were let go. Do not go into extra details or information they did not ask for. Remember “less is more.”

3) Explain what you learned from that experience and how you will use your newfound knowledge to improve in your next job role.

For Example:

“Unfortunately, I was let go from my last job. I learned a lot from this experience and found out that I really thrive in job roles that engage in (fill in the blank from job ad). I am very excited about and interested in this job because (fill in the blank from job ad) is one of my strongest skills and that seems to be one of the most important duties of this job role.”

You will still likely encounter some people that don’t want to hire you because you were let go. It is out of your control that some companies can’t look past your imperfect work history and give you a chance. We personally believe that everyone deserves a second chance to prove themselves and there are many others out there that will too. The interviewer could be passing up on the most successful and dedicated employee, and it’s your job to convince them that your seemingly lousy experience actually helped you grow and learn a valuable lesson you can bring you to your next work assignment.

 

Practice practice practice in mock interviews!

Make sure to start developing your LinkedIn profile and working on getting recommendations from former co-workers at your previous employer if they are willing to do this. Or they can write you an email reference. Remember to start building connections on LinkedIn and in local community career groups as they can help tell you about open jobs and perhaps get you in there with a word to the hiring manager.

Build your network before you need it

You should always anticipate that the company or recruiter will likely reach out to your past employer to try to get their side of the story. Fortunately, most companies are afraid of lawsuits, so the usual safe reply they stick to is “we only confirm dates of employment and job title.” One of the services we provide to our clients is to call their past employers for professional references and then we report what they say back to our job-seeking candidate. This way they can know what their last employer is saying about their time working for them. Many companies have existing employees sign non-disclosure and separation agreements before they release any severance pay. Make sure to read the fine print that way you will know if either one of you are violating the terms of your separation agreement.

Do your own background check pre-interview or hire a professional agency like The Talent Mill to do it for you.

Remember that you are not the first to be let go from a job, or to leave on bad terms. Many have found great jobs after that. So, don’t let anxiety kill your job search and stick to your exit story. Do not embellish. Do not talk bad about your previous employer, and just explain how valuable the experience was and how you will switch it up and use it to do better work.

Think positive thoughts. Practice your interview. Believe that you too can be hired = You are hired!

 

 

As always, we wish you the best of luck in your job search! 🙂

 

P.S. Look for new job search resource documents and templates to be added to our site in the coming weeks as we work to add more helpful tools for your career toolkit.

 

 

 

 

==================

General Disclaimer

We at JobSearchSuperhero.com, including The Talent Mill and/or Mill Montejo, are not recruiters. We do not provide, intend to provide or claim to provide job matching services. We provide coaching services utilizing our industry experience and the knowledge gained through our membership with various résumé writing and career non-profit organizations. We develop tools and methods also used by other national career coaches in order to help our clients job search. We do not and will not place individuals into any new jobs, positions or industries. We do not claim or guarantee that by purchasing our services you will find a job. These results are strictly dependent on the individual and the actions each individual takes given tips, resources, training, and advice, as well as the individual job-seeker’s personal interview style.  You alone are responsible for your actions and your results in your professional career. Any statements, training, advice, reports or mock interviews provided within our services, seminars, webinars, videos, chats, phone calls, and/or meetings are strictly our professional opinion. By law we make no guarantees or claims that you will achieve any results, including without limitation financial or employment benefits, from any of the service or opinions offered by JobSearchSuperhero.com.

 

 

 

Getting To Know The New LinkedIn

LinkedIn is currently rolling out what is being called the “new desktop experience.” Every two years or so, LinkedIn makes significant changes to the design and content of its website. The latest update — launched in late 2016/early 2017 — is designed to align the LinkedIn desktop experience with what users of the LinkedIn mobile app have seen for quite some time.

Ryan Roslansky, Vice President for Product at LinkedIn, said in a blog post in September 2016 that “this is the largest redesign since LinkedIn’s inception, and it’s the foundation for our future.”

One important thing to note is that every time LinkedIn rolls out a redesign, features are removed. This is the case with the “new desktop experience.” If you still have the “old” LinkedIn, take some time right now to backup your profile so that if you lose content in sections that are being removed, you can add that information back in.

You’ll know when you have the new look LinkedIn when you sign into your existing account. Not only will the main navigation bar look different, but LinkedIn will let you know your account has been updated to the new look. The rollout began in December 2016 and is expected to be completed by late Spring 2017 for all accounts.

The biggest change is how LinkedIn looks. The old navigation menu has been replaced with a more streamlined version. The old menu bar looked like this:

Old LinkedIn menu bar 

 The new menu bar looks like this:

New LinkedIn menu bar

The second biggest change is that some of the customization features have been removed — specifically, the ability to move around content within key sections (including Work Experience, Education, and Projects).

You used to be able to move one job position above another — great for jobseekers with two jobs at the same time — or reposition Projects in the order of importance (to you). You are no longer able to reposition items, except within the “Featured Skills & Endorsements” section.

The “Featured Skills & Endorsements” section allows the rearranging of items using a “Reorder” function. Click and drag the lines below “Reorder” to put the items in the order you want.

 

Skills & Endorsements section

 

The “Notify Your Network” setting has also changed significantly — that was the old name for the function that kept you from broadcasting profile changes to your network, which was a big alert that you may be preparing for a job search. That setting used to be right on the “Edit Profile” page, but now it’s three pages deep.

 

Here was how the old setting appeared:

                     Old “notify your network” setting toggle                               (used to be at lower right section of home page.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turning off global notification is now harder to find (it’s under “Privacy & Settings,” then click on “Privacy” and then “Sharing Profile Edits” and you’ll see the “on/off” switch — which I’m sure LinkedIn thinks is more descriptive than the old “Notify Your Network” yes/no).

Old OFF toggle switch for broadcasting activity


 

However, LinkedIn has also added it to the bottom of several of the input boxes — for example, in the “Experience” and “Education” sections.

 

Always use the setting “don’t update my network” – which is now located ‘3 clicks in’ to settings

 

 

But that actually makes it a bit more confusing. If you didn’t know there was a global setting for turning notifications off, you might accidentally be sending out notifications as you’re setting up your profile initially. ←–Be careful and go to settings right off the bat to verify you are not broadcasting all your activities. It’s getting to be more and more platforms leave your profile open by default so it is up to us to verify our own privacy level.


From a content standpoint, LinkedIn has severely reduced the new sections you can add to your profile.


Options for profile sections used to include:

• Education

• Work Experience

• Language

• Volunteering Experience

• Volunteering Opportunities

• Organizations

• Honors & Awards

• Test Scores

• Courses

• Patents

• Causes You Care About

• Supported Organizations

• Projects

• Publications

• Certifications

• Interests

• Personal Details

• Advice for Contacting

• Posts


Now the available profile sections are:

• Work Experience

• Education

• Volunteer Experience

• Skills

• Publications

• Certifications

• Courses

• Projects

• Honors & Awards

• Patents

• Test Scores

• Languages

• Organizations


Content that was previously in the sections that were removed simply disappears from the profile, so you need to go back and re-add information that has been stripped out (specifically, content that was in the “Causes You Care About” and “Supported Organizations” sections should be re-added into the “Volunteer Experience” section).

Another important section that was removed was “Advice for Contacting.” You should include your email address, phone numbers, and social media profile contacts at the bottom of your Summary. Doing this gives possible employment, recruiting, and other contacts a way to reach you outside of LinkedIn.


LinkedIn has also removed the “Profile Strength” indicator and emphasis on profile completeness — which is odd, since according to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. Now it’s more difficult to tell when your profile is “complete.”

Here was the old “Profile Strength” indicator:

Old profile strength indicator on home page


 

 

 

 

 

  

Another big change — not unexpected, and not really a feature of the “new desktop experience” — but definitely set in stone now — is the change to InMails. Free accounts used to get a limited number of free InMails. Not anymore. Free accounts receive zero InMail credits, and the number of InMail credits depends on the Premium level selected (Career level gets 3 InMails per month for $24.99, all the way up to Hiring — this level gets 30 InMails for $99.99 per month).

LinkedIn free membership level used to grant you some inMail credits. That has ended and only paid members can send inMails. However if you are in the same group as the person you wish to contact then you can message them from within the group but I would not abuse that trick, lest you find yourself removed from the group for spamming or annoying members.


However, one thing that hasn’t changed is that you can still Message fellow Group members directly (even if they are 2nd or 3rd degree contacts), and that will get you around the InMail requirement. This is a great tip for networking your way to hiring managers within your industry.

If you are a member of a LinkedIn Group with the person you’re trying to contact, you can directly send a Message instead of having to send an InMail. But you can only do it from within the Group. When you are within the Group, click on the member’s name and you will see a “Message” button.

You can still message members of your same group even if on a free plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If, however, you just search for same person’s profile (outside the Group), you will see an “InMail” button instead. So if there is someone you want to connect with, first search your Groups and see if you are both members of the same Group.

InMail option available for free members from within groups

 

Speaking of Groups, the link to the Groups page is now harder to find. There used to be an Interests tab on the main menu, and Companies and Groups were under that.

Old groups menu location

Now, Groups are in the “More” section on the main navigation bar.

New location for groups

The main Search bar is now the “easiest” way to find Companies and Groups, but it’s definitely not as intuitive.

You can also use the direct URL for the Groups page:

http://www.linkedin.com/Groups


Because the “More” tab includes things like “Learning” and “Post a Job,” most casual users are likely to overlook the “Groups” button there. There also appears to be several versions of the “More” tab:

More products available

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More products available 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This just further demonstrates that LinkedIn is continuing to evolve, even as they roll out the “new look” LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has made a big point of its “real-time messaging” feature that is part of the “new look” LinkedIn. It now functions more like Facebook Messenger than an email, but most jobseekers don’t keep LinkedIn open on their computers (unlike Facebook, which LinkedIn seems to be comparing itself to).

For Connections, LinkedIn no longer asks you to specify how you know the person (Colleague, Classmate, We’ve Done Business Together, Friend, Other, I Don’t Know [name]). This is what the connection request used to look like:

Old connection invite message

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, if you click on the “Connect” button within the “People You May Know” section on the “My Network” page, it doesn’t give you the option of customizing the invite. It just sends it.

New connection request options

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want the “Add a Note” section to customize the LinkedIn connection request (which is highly recommended), you need to click on the person’s LinkedIn profile and then click on the “Connect” button.

 

Connect button where you add a note

 

Once you click on “Connect,” it will open up a new box to customize your LinkedIn invitation.

 

Option to customize invitation to connect always advised

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LinkedIn’s search capabilities for Free members have also been curtailed. You can search by your connections, location, current company, past company, industry, profile language, nonprofit interests, and schools. However, if you want to search by function, years of experience, and certain other criteria, you must upgrade to a LinkedIn Recruiter or Sales Navigator account. 


Here are the specific search functions LinkedIn has removed from all but the Recruiter and Sales Navigator accounts:

• Years of Experience

• Groups

• Function

• Seniority Level

• Interested In

• Company Size

• When Joined


For most jobseekers, that’s not a huge deal, those criteria can help you find recruiters and hiring managers. The old “Advanced Search” capabilities function is gone:

Old search function changed

Now, using the search box in the main navigation bar, you can “filter” your contacts (this is the new version of “Search”):

 

New people and company search

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll notice the mention of Premium level to access additional search functions.

There is also a strong emphasis on LinkedIn Publishing with the “new look.” If you’ve written an article recently, right on your home page, it tells you how many “Views of your article” you’ve received on your LinkedIn Publishing article. LinkedIn representatives announced recently that you will be able to search posts using the Search function sometime in the near future. They’re also spending a lot of money ($90 million, by one report) on LinkedIn Publishing — using human editors and algorithms to connect readers with relevant content.


Finally, while Introductions still appear to exist (at least in the Help documentation), LinkedIn is no longer emphasizing them, and the Help documentation on Introductions has been updated quite a bit recently as LinkedIn figures out if Introductions are going away permanently.


For example, the “Introductions — Overview” help page was recently updated:

Requesting an introduction 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of the Help pages, a lot of the Help documentation is currently in the process of being updated and you will see by the dates the ones that have been updated and the ones that haven’t been updated yet.

Display order of skills endorsements

Consequently, there are still a lot of old, inaccurate Help pages still out there that refer to things the way they were before the “new desktop experience.” You can expect that this will continue as LinkedIn works to update and/or replace hundreds of Help pages.

One of the best ways to stay connected with what’s new with LinkedIn is to check out the LinkedIn Blog. You can find it here:

https://blog.linkedin.com/

Follow LinkedIn Blog to stay informed about updates

So here is your to-do list:

• If you don’t yet have the “new look” LinkedIn, backup your existing LinkedIn profile so you don’t lose your information when your account is upgraded. Also, make sure your Work Experience and Education sections are in the order you want them to appear when the upgrade is made.

• If you do have the “new desktop experience” already, double-check your privacy settings. Go to “Privacy & Settings,” then click on “Privacy” and check each setting.

• Re-populate any information that may have been removed with the change to the “new look” — for example, putting your contact information at the bottom of the Summary section, or adding information to the “Volunteer Experience” section.

• Get familiar with where you can find your “Groups” now — either bookmark http://www.linkedin.com/Groups or explore the “More” tab on the main navigation menu.

• Try the “new look” LinkedIn search function on the main navigation menu. Type in a person’s name, company, or Group and explore the filter functions.

Common Sense Reasons Why LinkedIn Users Should Be Scared of the New Open Candidate Feature

This post is intended for all job seekers that have active profiles on LinkedIn since they stand to lose the most, or gain the most with the new “Open Candidate” feature. I can introduce evidence to you that LinkedIn does not have a lock on error free web development and how mistakes with your content can and will likely happen. All users must take responsibility for their profile privacy settings, or risk being found out by a current employer while looking for another job. Sure firing you for that specific reason is illegal, but we all know there are many ways to skin a cat when we want to.

Over the past few weeks you may have heard about a new LinkedIn feature called “Open Candidate” where a signal is sent to certain recruiters that you are “open” to receiving open job offers to apply to. While turning this feature on might raise your profile within a recruiters search, I am not convinced that all the kinks have been worked out of LinkedIn’s site coding.

I have been managing a couple of LinkedIn groups for 3 years now and there have been all sorts of technical glitches which I have reported to LinkedIn support. Upon doing so I was told that they have been aware of the problems with the group notifications showing ‘errors in total number count’ and they are working on it. I have included images below of graphical interface of a mess that is my groups management console.

These errors have been there at least 2-3 years.

These errors have been there at least 2-3 years.

LinkedIn Groups Notifications Number Error

LinkedIn Groups Notifications Number Error

In this article from Design Week on September 26. 2016 by Sarah Dawood, she quotes LinkedIn as saying “this is the largest redesign this LinkedIn’s inception.” With this website overhaul going on I would treat lightly in adopting their fresh out of the box Open Candidate feature. I’ve already given this same advice to one of my very own résumé clients. It’s safer to not run the risk of letting your boss get wind of your job search and can you. Sure, they can’t fire you for looking for other work, but we all know there are ways to disguise that.

Another article I’ve recently read on TechGenYZ.com by Ankeeta Pareek shares some good tips on how to make your job searches more private. If you do decide to use the Open Candidate feature and something goes wrong, at least you will be limiting and fragmenting the online data to give you time to prepare a backup plan (i.e. attempting to delete digital trail that you were seeking other employment). Determine ahead of time if your current life and financial situation is worth risking by being an early adopter of this feature. At a time in history where even password manager sites like “Lastpass” get hacked, the DNC gets hacked, movie stars and celebrities have their images stolen, companies lose confidential data and are blackmailed, do you really think that it will matter to LinkedIn that they accidentally leaked your information? See all of their many disclaimers about the Open Candidate feature below.

This is the switch you will flip to signal certain recruiters that you're open to job offers.

This is the switch you will flip to signal certain recruiters that you’re open to job offers.

How It Works - Disclaimer

How It Works – Disclaimer

Share Career Interests With Recruiters - and more disclaimers.

Share Career Interests With Recruiters – and more disclaimers.

Open Candidate Disclaimer - whoops!

Open Candidate Disclaimer – whoops!

So the final question for you to ask yourself before you hit that switch is this; how badly do you want to be an early adopter and try out this new LinkedIn Open Candidate feature in the hopes of finding a new job? If you’re still employed it takes a bit more thought, patience, and common sense. IMHO it’s better to wait and see what happens with this feature as the website is redesigned rather than to turn on that “signal” and have it go haywire.

Be careful, and as always, best of luck in your job search.

*Have you started using the new LinkedIn Open Candidate feature to market your profile to recruiters? Are you concerned that your current employer or others will find out that you are actively entertaining job offers? Comment here or drop us a line via the contact form with any questions.