7 years ago
September 14, 2017

How to Explain Leaving a Job on Bad Terms During Your Sales Interview

Leaving a job on bad terms can happen to anyone. While it’s not ideal, it’s a reality for some sales professionals. Your reason for leaving can be personal or it…

Claire McConnachie Recruiter
Claire McConnachie

Leaving a job on bad terms can happen to anyone. While it’s not ideal, it’s a reality for some sales professionals. Your reason for leaving can be personal or it can be a professional difference of opinion.

Whatever the reason for leaving on bad terms, you need to effectively explain it during your sales interview. And you need to explain it in a way that will not hurt your job prospects.

Expect “Why did you leave your past position?” to be one of the questions you will be asked. If you don’t have a recommendation or reference from your previous boss, expect to be asked about this, as well.

“While your situation is a delicate one, it’s not unusual. Many people have left roles that forced them to compromise their values, ethics, and standards. And the matter gets especially tricky if you are being asked to perform your work under less than acceptable practices,” says Eileen Dooley in The Globe And Mail.

Explaining why you left your job on bad terms is difficult to navigate. Here are some tips for explaining the situation during your sales interview:

1. Be honest when explaining leaving a job on bad terms

While it may be tempting to spin things in your favor, try to be as honest as possible without compromising your chances. Most recruiters and hiring companies can appreciate that things don’t always work out. Explain the situation as upfront and honest as you can.

2. Separate the personal and professional

It’s important to separate the personal from the professional when explaining why you left your previous job. If you make it personal, it could become a red flag for the hiring company. This could hurt your chances.

Focus on the professional reasons why you left on bad terms. Did you have a different approach than your boss? Do you view things differently? Did you feel like you were not afforded a good opportunity? Keep things professional.

3. Keep emotions out of the equation

This is difficult. Try to remove emotion from the equation. Being able to reflect and provide a rational argument for why you left, even if on bad terms, can help hiring managers see how you think and operate. It shows you can focus on business and not have emotional reactions to things that happen in the workplace.

4. Don’t play the victim

While you may be tempted, avoid playing the victim card explaining why you are leaving a job on bad terms. Rather, focus on the fact that there was a difference between you and your previous company, which led to you choosing to leave the company.


Get more job interview tips and advice by reading The Perfect Answer for “Tell Me About Yourself”

SalesForce Search is a sales recruiting company which specializes in the recruitment and placement of sales professionals. We recruit sales people in every sector of the economy including, software, manufacturing, financial services and medical devices. Find the right sales person for your organization, start your search here.

Claire McConnachie Recruiter

Claire McConnachie

Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.