If you leave a company on bad terms (say you abruptly quit because you felt discriminated against), how do you frame this for your next employer?

Leaving a company on bad terms can be difficult to recover from, especially if you don’t take steps beforehand. What hiring managers typically look for in addition to the skills needed are the candidate’s professionalism and genuine interest in doing the job. As a candidate, you need to present potential employers with a narrative that is both factually accurate and portrays you as a professional who wants to do the job.

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This can be difficult, especially if you were emotionally hurt. A toxic work environment can cause emotional damage that won’t heal overnight. Most people need time to grieve and heal from this loss. Make sure that you take this time if you need it. Remember, employers are looking for is professionalism. That means being bale to keep your emotions in check during the interview process. It’s usually better to take some time after leaving a toxic job to recover mentally and emotionally before starting a new job search. If you don’t, you might not be ready for the interview process and lose opportunities to unforced errors.

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Prepare a diplomatic way of describing the circumstances under which you left. If it was because of discrimination, you could say that you did not feel like you were given the kind of growth opportunities you needed for your career at your previous employer. If it was because you hated your boss, you can say that you felt that you felt your growth as a developer wasn’t a good fit for your previous employer’s management style. If you badmouth your former employer at an interview, your interviewer is probably going to think that you’ll also badmouth them if you ever leave. Keep it professional.

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Keep the focus of the interview about you, your experiences, and how they’ve made you a better developer. That shouldn’t be hard - your interviewer isn’t evaluating your old employer, they’re evaluating you. Remember, you own your story. Establish a good narrative and focus on the positive - the skills you learned and the growth you underwent at the previous employer. Don’t dwell on the negative for too long. You want to show that you can do good work and level up even in the face of adversity. Remember, you also control your own references - you choose who to put them in contact with, so you don’t have to pass them the contact info of your behated old boss if you don’t think it will be a good reference for you.

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