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For many people, leaving an employer on bad terms can leave them feeling frustrated and anxious about their next move. But how can they prevent it from impacting on their future job prospects?

“Why did you leave your last position?” “

Why have you not listed them as a referee?”

These are questions which, at interview, can be awkward and have the potential to open up that dreaded can of worms. But this doesn’t have to be the case. You have the power to shift the narrative by handling your responses with careful consideration and a positive and reflective attitude. Bear in mind this advice and you’ll be back on that career ladder changing lives before you know it.

“Leaving a job on bad terms can be traumatic... Your actions right now can help set you up for bigger and better opportunities”

The Balance Careers


Reflect in private

Before you head to that interview, take the time to reflect on what happened with your previous employer. Try to separate the personal from the professional so you have a sound understanding of what went wrong. Outlining your thoughts and feelings about what happened will help you start reframing it without emotion and in a professional manner, which is necessary for a successful interview. There is no reason to believe the interviewer will not ask you about why you left, so practise your responses in the mirror or with a trusted friend. This will help ensure you are confident and avoid the pitfall of being derogatory about your former employer.



Avoid negativity

Leaving a job on bad terms does carry with it some inevitable anger and frustration, but don’t let that control your future career path. In the interview, try to focus on the positive and avoid naming names. If the conversation veers towards the negative aspects of your past experience then try steering towards the positive things you have learned from it. This will show you have the ability to learn from experiences and are resilient in hard times.


Look forward

Try not to dwell too much on what has happened in the past. Take control of the conversation and focus on the challenges you are looking forward to taking on in the future. This shows your employer that you are a professional and reflective person who is ready to move on. These soft skills of resilience and self-reflection should not be underestimated!



Never bad-mouth former colleagues

In an industry where networking and staying connected is made even easier through new technologies, it is more important than ever not to burn any bridges. Nothing screams ‘unprofessional’ more than someone who bad-mouths their former boss at an interview. The alarm this raises with an interviewer is: “what happens if they don’t like their new boss here?” Recruiters want to hire the right people and they want to retain them so make sure you remain professional and respectful, even after the recruitment and selection process has ended.


Communication is at the heart of what we do at Featherbank Selection because it is what makes our placements so successful. Featherbank Selection are a leading executive search agency, helping care providers build exceptional leadership teams. If you are a Senior Manager or Director in the care sector and would like to keep in touch with regards to potential opportunities for yourself, or if you are representing an organisation who would like to discuss how we can help, then please get in touch today.

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