I was fired for theft. When investigated, I admitted to what I took and returned it. The company said they would not document the theft in my personnel file or report me to the police. I have also found that the Human Resources Department at that company is not revealing it when people call to verify my employment. They are only stating my salary and dates of employment. They do say that I am not eligible for re-hire. I worked at that company for seven years and it’s my most recent job. How do I handle this in an interview? ~ Carla, San Dimas, CA
Sometimes a moment of poor judgment can affect you for many years. However, it is not a lost cause and I have a feeling you will never make that mistake again. Here is my opinion on how to handle the situation.
If asked in the interview why you left, you can say you made a poor choice and that you sincerely regret it. You admitted to the wrong-doing and made restitution to your employer. Furthermore, it has impacted you to such a degree that you will never break any company rules again, nor would you ever do anything dishonest. If true, you can also say that you never did anything like that before and that it was a one-time lapse of judgment. The theory behind this is that when a potential employee hears that you are not eligible for re-hire from your former employer, they may think the worst and you may be disqualified. If you honestly admit what happened, they may give you a chance.
This is one of those cases in which they may think a worse infraction was committed when they hear you are ineligible for re-hire. So, it is very likely that you will be eliminated unless you provide an excuse. In this case, I always recommend telling the truth. You may get away with lying, but it’s wrong. Even if you overlook the ethics, it is possible that they find out about the true reason for dismissal.