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Dismissal due to performance issues

So I was recently dismissed from my first Legal Secretary position; the company cited performance issues 5 months into my probation.

Now I won't lie, some of the work they gave me I found extremely difficult to get my head around and asking for help was difficult because everyone else has such a heavy workload. It also didn't help that they had processes in place which various people didn't stick to at times.

The annoying thing is that I work I was able to do I thought I did to a high standard and the main body of lawyers seemed very happy with my work? One even recommended me for a job at his friend's firm after I left.

I didn't contest the dismissal because I, myself, hated working there and was planning to hand in my notice anyway, but hey-ho.

I've spoken to a few recruiters and they've pretty much said it will affect my chances of 1) landing a permanent role for the next 5-7 years, 2) means I won't work in the Legal sector ever again, and 3) will most likely mean I won't land a role in HR either. I've come to terms with all these 3 points now.

I wanted to get some feedback from everyone as to how I should present my dismissal in interviews?

802 views
  • Hi Alex,

    I can’t agree with those recruiters, just like you said, you haven’t been happy doing that work so you ended up leaving that place.

    Once an employer knows that you been dismissed it’s totally on you to convince him why he should hire you and why that job that you will apply it’s perfect for you, as well to let him know what You bring into the companies performance.

    I believe your desire and attitude will decide if you get the next job or not and Not one dismissal.

    Good luck in everything you do.
  • Hi Alex

    Appreciate it may loom large right now as your immediately previous employer, but a mere five months of employment there is probably not going to matter much in the longer term and it ultimately may even slip your mind even to list this as a previous period of employment and you'd be unlucky if your omission ever got noticed,
  • In reply to David:

    Hey David,

    Ah right, that's good to good, thanks David. I've already secured another job in a different sector on a 6-month FTC - so do you think I'll need to mention why I left the legal role if I start interviewing in August?

    Alex.
  • In reply to Alex:

    Hi Alex

    That would be a bit touch and go perhaps but think the more long term job spells you have subsequently the better
  • In reply to David:

    Thanks David!
  • Hi Alex

    Do you know what they will say in a reference? Could you contact the person who recommended you for another position and ask them to be your reference?

    In the first place, I have to say that I think honesty is best. Obviously, it’s the ethical choice but it is usually the pragmatic choice too - there is nothing to be found out which could bite you and you don’t have worry about keeping your story straight. Therefore, if you can say that you tried it but you weren’t playing to your strengths and it didn’t work out, that would be best. However, if you were to say you were only there for a fixed term contract, would anyone find out anything different?

    I think the recruiters you have spoken to have been very pessimistic. People with criminal records manage to find jobs and all you have in your record is a job that didn’t work out. Yes, job-hunting might be harder but not impossible. And once you manage to secure your next job, your problem is over because they will be the employer that provides a reference for the job after that.
  • In reply to Elizabeth:

    Ignore what the recruiters said. At the CIPD annual conference many years ago, two separate firms of recruitment 'consultants' told me I was too old to get a start in HR. A few months later I proved them wrong.

    I also agree with the other posters and Elizabeth's comment about being hones. But that also includes keeping quiet and not mentioning anything if they don't ask!!!
  • In reply to David Perry:

    Yup, as David says: If a prospective employer doesn't ask you about it, then don't tell them.
  • In reply to Elizabeth:

    Thanks Elizabeth!
  • In reply to David Perry:

    Thanks David!
  • In reply to James Webber:

    Thanks James!
  • In reply to Alex:

    Just be carefully with keeping quiet until you know what their referencing policy is. Sone organisations will reference every job in X period. In those cases sometimes it’s better to be up front.

    An honest , we were in lockdown , support was scattered, everyone was busy and it didn’t work out. Is better than someone finding out you were sacked after you told them you left to do other things.
  • In reply to Keith:

    Agree with Keith's cautious approach. If your offer is subject to satisfactory references, and it arrives after you've started (not impossible), then things could get messy. Better to say, "It didn't work for me, and it didn't work for them so we agreed to go our separate ways".