This is a tough question to answer without the knowing the specific reasons for the termination. If one is fired for being late to work on a regular basis, it is possible to start fresh with a new employer. If one is fired for embezzling or striking another employee, it becomes exponentially more difficult to land another job.
Many people consider it being fired when terminated as part of a downsizing. If this is the case, the individual is in a much better position to obtain future employment, since most employers recognize that downsizing is simply part of corporate reality and that job loss in these circumstances is typically not a reflection of the individual’s skills.
So, it is first important to know and understand the reason for your termination. Second, you should prepare a brief, but honest, explanation to provide to prospective employers who might ask about the reason for your departure from your previous position. This is not something you would put on your resume. The resume is simply a piece of literature that tells employers what you accomplished in your previous jobs. You would never list how you got the job or the reason(s) you moved on or lost the position.
But just because a termination is not on your resume, doesn’t mean that a prospective employer will not discover it and it it is perfectly legal and well in their rights to ask why an individual was let go. This is why it is critical to have a prepared response; one that is succinct and honest. You want to get past the issue as quickly as possible, but without leaving doubt in the interviewer’s mind.
The natural question here is whether a job seeker should preemptively bring up the termination or wait for the interviewer to ask about it. The risk of bringing up the topic preemptively, is that it may be raising a question the interviewer may never have asked, but now it is on the table. As the candidate, you are there to answer the interviewer’s questions about why you will be a good person for the position.
Now, if you feel that not being forthcoming about the termination will jeopardize your candidacy, the time to bring it up is after you have established a good rapport with the interviewer and built a relationship based on all the positive things you bring to the table. If the interviewer indicates that you would be a good fit in the position and would like to move forward with background checks, it would be a good time to say something along the lines of, “I am very interested in moving forward, as well, and while this did not come up in the interview, there is something I would like to tell you about my departure from my last employer.” Be honest, be to the point and don’t be defensive.