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Glad2bhear's avatar

What do I tell a prospective employer why I left my last job?

Asked by Glad2bhear (209points) December 24th, 2023

After over 8 years as a full-time front end cashier for Walmart I was terminated over a shortage at my cash register. They called me into the office at the end of my shift confronting me with the allegation that I took the $41 that was missing from the drawer. So I was terminated.

I’ve never stolen anything in my life and now I’m being called a thief and a liar. Actually I value having a paycheck week after week and month after month and I think anyone who steals from their employer is stupid, but all of that is beside the point right now.

Right now, my question is what am I to say to anyone anywhere as far as why I left my last job. Every new employer is going to ask that – it is a reasonable question.

I’ve been going over this question again and again in my mind and I’m not coming up with any kind of a diplomatic answer. So here I am asking for any potential input.
What say ye?

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15 Answers

LifeQuestioner's avatar

Maybe something like you were looking for a job that would provide more opportunities for advancement?

Jeruba's avatar

Can you appeal the decision and ask for probation? They can let you go for any reason, right? But they can’t trash your record without giving you a chance to defend it. Can they? This is lousy repayment for eight years of faithful service.

I’m not sure your work philosophy is beside the point. If you can put it forward persuasively, you might win them over, at least to the extent of a second chance.

When speaking to a prospective new employer, I’d say avoid the temptation to say anything about a dispute with your boss. From what I’ve heard, they always assume the employee was in the wrong. I think an outright lie is a very bad idea and will come back to bite you. You need the advice of an HR person or an experienced manager.

gorillapaws's avatar

I wouldn’t bring it up, but I’d be honest about it if asked directly. I’ve been involved with hiring people in the past. I have no respect for companies like Walmart that treats their employees like trash. If someone applied for a job to work for me and they had been with Walmart for 8 years with no concerns and then fired out of the blue for a $40 register shortfall, I would assume the issue is with the store and not the job applicant.

That said, the red flag for me would be the apparent lack of drive to pursue a position higher than front end cashier after 8 years of full-time employment.

Poseidon's avatar

I am assuming that the till you used was used by others. I believe what happens is that when you go on to a till you have to sign in and the person you are relieving had to do the and also had to sign out when you took over.

If this is the case then what evidence have they got that they consider YOU the person who took the money and not anyone who used the till before or after?

Tills are rarely 100% correct when then amounts are counted. Normally it is only by a small amount. The till could be over or under.

I would consider asking the Walmart Branch for proof that they consider YOU the culprit. Although $41 dollars is a significant amount anyone could make a mistake when ‘ringing’ an amount up.

Added to this there could be a problem with the till itself. Did your employer actually check this?

Did you get a written dismissal notice giving the reason for it. If not I would demand this because you are entitled.

I would also suggest telling the boss of the branch that you are suing Walmart for unfair dismissal and deformation. A lawyer would be the best person to consult over this.

As far as applying for another job my advice must be to tell the truth and tell then you were wrongly accused of theft and dd not have the opportunity to defend yourself before being dismissed

If you do decide to take legal action against Walmart tell any prospective employer that also,

The reason I advise you to inform a future employer is because that employer, if he/she is considering employing you , may very well contact your last employer for information about your employment with them.

Whatever you do don’t lie to a prospective employer.

I wish you the very best of luck but my advice is DON’T .let Walmart get away with it.

seawulf575's avatar

Walmart is not allowed to go into details why you were let go. If they do you could have a lawsuit against them. Most companies will refer all questions of previous employment to the HR department that will only tell the questioner that you worked there, when you started and when you left, and what your job was. They won’t go much more into detail than that. If any of your references tell, that’s a different story. But generally if you show on your resume that you were there for 8 years, most prospective employers aren’t going to ask why you left. If they do you could just say something like the job was going nowhere and you were looking for other opportunities.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Every time I am asked why I’m looking for a new/different job, I just say “money.”

In this case, it’s not a lie. When I say money, people assume I mean MORE money. I wouldn’t have to explain much else.

You had the job for a long time. That’s good. I would think that if you’re applying for similar jobs, it would be common for people to jump from retail to retail.

I worked at two separate big box sporting goods stores part-time for years. Left a failing franchise. Got hired immediately by their competitors…

With due respect, most people hiring for retail jobs will be content with having an employee who will show up, on time. Anything else is a bonus.

It’s a bum deal.
But you play the cards you’re dealt. One of my biggest won hands in Texas Hold’em was when I stayed in with pocket 3’s.
Two players stayed in. I got one more two. But. Both other players had two pair.

Worst case scenario. Get a job at gas station, or somewhere desperate. Get kushy with the bosses and when your next employment opportunity comes up, you’ll have a great reference.

Your biggest problem, in my opinion, is trying to get another retail job after the holidays.

January is returns season. But The last half of January and all of February are THE slowest times for most retail stores.

Try an Aldi, or a grocery store. At least that work is constant…

At any rate, I wish you good luck in your journey.

janbb's avatar

There are certain questions that HR hiring people are forbidden from asking. I know your age and whether you have children are two of them. They might also not be allowed to ask why you left your last job. You might look into that. In any case, saying you were ready for something new would not be a lie.

gondwanalon's avatar

Be honest and say what you wrote above.
I was asked why I left my previous job in a job interview. I said that I was fired and explained why. My previous employer was absolutely wrong for firing me.
Good luck.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@janbb that’s what I’m saying.
A future employer doesn’t need to know more than what you’re skills are.

I remember working pretty high up (for me) in some different places. I was part of the hiring process for a few places.
The first thing my coworkers did was go straight to an applicant’s Facebook page, or whatever.
I’m NOT a computer guy.
However. That was how they got their first impressions of people.

If I ever saw that someone pulled 10 years at Walmart, I probably wouldn’t even ask why they wanted a new job… Hell. It could be an endearing quality, to some employers…

On many applications, there IS a place under employment history, where it asks you if you are currently employed. If so, why are you leaving. I always just put a $... When someone does ask, I say “money.”.. I don’t elaborate.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Although it’s a bit off topic, the op could pursue a wrongful termination process. Collect unemployment, or get your old job back…

Big companies like Walmart have constant HR problems. If you were considered “full-time,” you are difficult to fire.
If I was innocent, I would die on this hill. I would make it a point that they either charge me with theft, or gimme my job back.

There are cameras everywhere. Maybe even other people had access to the op’s till, or he didn’t count his till prior to opening his lane because they were busy.

When I was unfortunate enough to be responsible for a till, I was always off. But. I knew I never took anything. So. The error was ALWAYS theirs…

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@seawulf575 I don’t know if somebody already mentioned this above, but I believe places are allowed to also say whether you are eligible for rehire or not. And if they say not, then the potential new employer would know something was up, so I would be careful with that.

seawulf575's avatar

@LifeQuestioner They might be able to do that, but really, eligibility for rehire could be any number of things from terminated for raping someone in the bathroom to leaving without giving 2 weeks notice. It is generic wording that says you ended your employment on something other than ideal conditions.

I moved my employment from nuclear power plant chemistry and environmental (which I had done for 32+ years) to delivering beer and wine. When they asked me, I was very exact on why I left. They laid me off due to large cutbacks and I realized once I was out of that job how stress-filled it really was. I was looking for something less stressful. They could check but honestly all my last employer could tell them was that I was laid off.

KNOWITALL's avatar

That happened to me and after multiple people were fired the manager was caught so don’t take it too personallt, like I did. I would also go with honesty if asked directly.

Glad2bhear's avatar

Thank you for your help!

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Good luck bro. Go get ‘em.

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