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How do I answer an interview question about leaving a bad job situation.

by Ella
(New York)

(I'll be more specific than the example already posted).

To cover her own tail, a previous manager of mine, (who has since been fired for fraud), told a lie about me, enlisted a co-worker friend to conspire with her as a "witness", and got upper management to suspend me without a chance to defend myself. I immediately resigned out of disgust, and for a paycheck, took a restaurant job.

How do I handle the inevitable "Why did you leave a job in our industry to become a waitress?" questions without saying what a lying, cheating rat my manager was and/or raising red flags about myself?

I know a lot of bad employees insist it wasn't their fault when there's been a bad situation, and many potential employers are leery of that!


Answer: This is a tough question, because there's probably no way to prove what really happened to an employer, unless you could get a reliable witness at your old employer to talk honestly with recruiters you interact with.

I'm doubtful that there will be any overt admission that a past employee defrauded the company, unless it is a matter of public record (from criminal/civil proceedings in a court or something).

Your concerns about raising red flags with such a negative story are valid. But I don't really see any way around this without being frank when asked at an interview. I think I would be completely honest and say that you are aware of how your story might be perceived, but that you hope your resume and how you are coming across in the interview will speak for themselves. And then say what you said here about what happened.

It's a difficult situation, but I have to believe that right will win! :)

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