Was just asked to resign...what should I say on interviews?

Current 2nd yr analyst who did something stupid which led to being asked to resign. Unsure of how to handle this during lateral interviews now when the inevitable question comes up as to "why did you leave your old job". Unsure how much info HR gives out surrounding terminations/resignations but do they really only confirm employment dates when calling for references / background check? If so, thinking about what to actually say to help me land another job ASAP.

Thanks

Comments (37)

Jun 1, 2016

how stupid was the mistake? Minor compliance issue, sexual harassment, securities violation? Really depends on the gravity of the situation.

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Jun 1, 2016
PE_Reaper:

how stupid was the mistake? Minor compliance issue, sexual harassment, securities violation? Really depends on the gravity of the situation.

Stupid enough that I'm treating it as a resignation or a lay-off. There are other factors I can play with to come up with a decent reason for why I left, but unsure if this sort of stuff is even verifiable with HR?

Jun 1, 2016

you will need to say what it was.

Jun 1, 2016

HR will say as little as possible to a new employer - I think they only confirm employment dates, salary, reason for leaving (as in fired, laid-off or voluntary). They def. will not say "he left b/c of ...." unless it was securities fraud or something...but even then I'd imagine they would just say you were fired. They don't want to expose themselves to lawsuits for defamation by getting into details.

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Jun 1, 2016

HR could get their asses sued if they said the situation that lead to your resignation. Not going to happen, so you're safe there.

If this was a "normal job" I'd say to just say something like "The job no longer matched up with my long term goals and I was luckily in a secure enough financial position to resign and reevaluate my career path."

For you though, that's not going to work, because no one quits an analyst position at one bank and then tries to get another. Honestly in this case I'm not sure if being negligent/stupid/doing whatever it is you did looks better or worse than being considered a bottom tier layoff.

    • 1
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Jun 1, 2016

Well, it depends on the situation. Given that they offered him a resignation over a potential U4/U5 Blemish, I'd be far more worried. HR may be able to freely discuss this if the OP's U4/U5 requires an explanation.

If you look directly at the U5 it states:

Termination Explanation:
If the Reason for Termination entered above is Permitted to Resign, Discharged or Other, provide an explanation below:
If amending the Reason for Termination and/or termination explanation, provide an explanation below:

Either way, I think the OP is kind of fucked here depending on what actually happened.

Jun 1, 2016

Did you sleep with the MD's wife?

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Jun 1, 2016
adapt or die:

Did you sleep with the MD's wife?

You could spin this in so many ways on your next interview...

Jun 1, 2016

You're fine. HR can only confirm the dates in which you were employed. They cannot legally give specifics. You can say you resigned the firm (have a reason of course). Of course if at any place in an application you said you were fired you'll have to tie that out.

    • 1
Jun 1, 2016

Dude just tell us what happened

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Jun 1, 2016

HR aspect is fine. What you need to consider is whether an MD at your next place is going to call up your current/ex MD and ask about you, which can easily happen.

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Jun 1, 2016

I don't see what the big deal is with wanting to leave your team. Afterall conpanies do bait-and-switches to us employees all the time too, getting us to take a job which turns into ending up workibg with people other than what you were told etc.

At my future interviews I would say I wanted to switch teams but it didn't work out thats all.

Jun 2, 2016

It no longer is in the aspect of what has occurred or what is being asked of here, but more of, "how does this reflect on my employment application?"

Think of it if you were in the shoes of HR or some manager/director at a bank reviewing applications.

"Why should I hire this guy?"
"Why was he suddenly let go as a 2nd year analyst?" (most like this person will research and call around about layoffs and such).

There will be more than one person applying, any red flags or doubts and your resume/CV will be passed on. The last thing these people want to have to do is doubt your ability to perform or your actions on the job.

Honestly? I think you're screwed regardless of whatever aspect you look at this. If you land an interview spot, and they ask. Be 100% honest. Give detail step by step, and you need to really find a resolution to the problem that occurred.

Did you learn about your mistake? This is key. You may need to take a demotion or alternative position before bouncing back again.

Keeping it 100% honest is still going to be key.

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Jun 2, 2016

Ok so the worst thing you can say to your new employer is "the firm asked me to resign". Right there that's a red flag and I'm not hiring you. While you should be honest almost all the time, this is one of the few cases where I would not be completely honest here. The firm gave you an out by asking you to resign as opposed to straight out firing you.

So come up with whatever bullshit excuse (I just didn't fit with the culture, the location was too out of my way, personal family issues etc etc).

Jun 2, 2016

In my experience, the interviewer will not even bother to ask. Finance is a small enough community where everyone knows someone that knows someone and burning any bridges can bite you in the ass.

Jun 2, 2016
theLostnDamned:

In my experience, the interviewer will not even bother to ask. Finance is a small enough community where everyone knows someone that knows someone and burning any bridges can bite you in the ass.

Assuming he gets another interview, which he will.

Do ever speak ill of them, but be honest. They will ask questions about the termination and what led to it. The way the answer is structured and presented will show your ability to be truthful and comfortable, terms of speaking about it. Usually with that they will ask what was done afterwards, etc etc.

Do not ever lie (this is to the OP).

Jun 3, 2016

Completely agree with this. From my experience, there's always someone who knows somebody in your previous group so I would say the chance of the bank you're interviewing with finding out why you left is 90%+. You should work on positioning your story, but always be truthful because the last thing you want is to lie, be found out and develop a reputation. Finance truly is a small community and news can travel like wildfire.

Jun 3, 2016

Piggybacking on this, but would the new MD tell your old MD that you're interviewing if you haven't quit your old job?

Jun 3, 2016

Speaking as someone who was an M&A banker for 25 years, I can promise you that it will come out sooner or later. Concentrate instead on packaging yourself. You made a mistake. Admit it and tell the interviewer what you learned from it. Never, ever, lie. This is finance, after all. The whole industry is built on trust.

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Jun 4, 2016

considering qtrone is still in business, iunno if the industry is built on trust, but i agree with you in principle.

Jun 2, 2016
Woods:

Speaking as someone who was an M&A banker for 25 years, I can promise you that it will come out sooner or later. Concentrate instead on packaging yourself. You made a mistake. Admit it and tell the interviewer what you learned from it. Never, ever, lie. This is finance, after all. The whole industry is built on trust.

Some folks threw MS at me for posting the same thing. Anyway, this goes for really any industry, including technology.

Best Response
Jun 4, 2016

Yes, HR will only give dates. HR would have to be stupid to give you bad press on a reference call. I'm guessing the offense isn't something that can be googled so no worries there.

I've seen this happen to a lot of people (especially in biz dev) and they usually land on their feet within a few months. Hit your network hard. Just tell people that ultimately you decided that the firm wasn't a fit for you and refuse to elaborate more, and that xyz firm you're interviewing for is a better fit because blah blah blah - most importantly, don't make up some BS excuse.

Hiring managers are going to assume one of two things - you were either asked to resign or that you quit before securing a new job (which most people view as pretty stupid) - by using the language above and not bitching about your old job you are hinting towards the former, not the latter. Your position isn't enviable and yes it will make interviewing a little more difficult. Generally, however, more seasoned professionals know that people are let go for a variety of reasons both good and bad (sometimes really, really stupid reasons). If you get through the question and then nail the interview you might still be in the running, especially if you're networked in to the job.

Oftentimes people are often more willing to give a second chance to an experienced lateral who may have had an issue at an old firm than a first chance to someone brand new to the role.

Finally, while HR would never discuss your particulars, if the new firm knows people on your own team a backdoor call may happen. If that's the case, having a professional, canned answer ("Ultimately I decided that the firm wasn't a fit for me") will be a point in your favor. Also, if there is anyone at your firm that thinks very highly of you and sympathizes they may be able to help refer you to a new job. I wouldn't be afraid to ask if you're positive they'd give you a good reference. Otherwise, strike out on your own.

Good luck.

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Jun 4, 2016
BreakingOutOfPWM:

Yes, HR will only give dates. HR would have to be stupid to give you bad press on a reference call. I'm guessing the offense isn't something that can be googled so no worries there.

I've seen this happen to a lot of people (especially in biz dev) and they usually land on their feet within a few months. Hit your network hard. Just tell people that ultimately you decided that the firm wasn't a fit for you and refuse to elaborate more, and that xyz firm you're interviewing for is a better fit because blah blah blah - most importantly, don't make up some BS excuse.

Hiring managers are going to assume one of two things - you were either asked to resign or that you quit before securing a new job (which most people view as pretty stupid) - by using the language above and not bitching about your old job you are hinting towards the former, not the latter. Your position isn't enviable and yes it will make interviewing a little more difficult. Generally, however, more seasoned professionals know that people are let go for a variety of reasons both good and bad (sometimes really, really stupid reasons). If you get through the question and then nail the interview you might still be in the running, especially if you're networked in to the job.

Oftentimes people are often more willing to give a second chance to an experienced lateral who may have had an issue at an old firm than a first chance to someone brand new to the role.

Finally, while HR would never discuss your particulars, if the new firm knows people on your own team a backdoor call may happen. If that's the case, having a professional, canned answer ("Ultimately I decided that the firm wasn't a fit for me") will be a point in your favor. Also, if there is anyone at your firm that thinks very highly of you and sympathizes they may be able to help refer you to a new job. I wouldn't be afraid to ask if you're positive they'd give you a good reference. Otherwise, strike out on your own.

Good luck.

Spot on. +1

Jun 8, 2016

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