Being laid off can be due to lack of performance, a specific situation, overstaffing, or simply personal differences. Regardless, if the situation went sour – you want to be honest with future companies on your experience. But negatively talking about a past employer during an interview will do you more harm than good. Here’s why.

Focusing on the Positives Makes You the Bigger Person

Regardless of your differences with a company, focus on the positives that have occurred when possible.  If you were let go due to lack of performance, discuss how it’s motivated you to be a better worker. Whether it be of career growth, learning, teamwork, etc. – these are factors you can touch on in an interview. Avoid discussing any specific issues that you had. Sharing your proudest work, or skills, or most productive days in your last position are what engage the interviewer and demonstrate your value as an employee. Being able to talk optimistically about your past position, shows you are focused on the positives and what you can bring to a new company.

It Can Negatively Affect Your Opportunities

Speaking negatively about a past employer will hinder a company’s reflection on you as an employee. Your past employer will build its own reputation without you centering your interview on your experience there. If you did have a negative experience, try saying you had differences with the company, which speaks volumes. If a company is curious, they can/will ask your references. Find what is positive about the unfortunate circumstances and display that this has helped you be a great fit for future opportunities.