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I was recently laid off in a second round of layoffs while my old company was going through some restructuring. Yet, I would consider myself to be on good terms with my old company as:

  • I got a decent severance package
  • I am still working with them to pay for my latest Masters Degree class that they requested I take while I was still under their employ
  • They invited me to the xmas party 2 days after the lay off where despite my change of employment status I still was asked to give a toast and shook hands with the partners and president of the firm.

With this foundation of the story being what it is I am firmly in the interview process w/ ~18 diff companies interested in reaching out to me to do interviews, it would be fair to say that I have gone through a decent number of interviews sofar. Further in my previous employment had the opportunity to sit on the other side of the table and give ~100x interviews (eg. this isnt my first rodeo).

However in my most recent interview, the person doing the interview pulled up the recruitment page of my previous company where he found that they where recruiting for the position I was laid off from (most likely a situation in which they never took down the recruitment post because they are always looking for exceptional people type thing). This interviewer then accused me of being fired with cause.

Now, I am not easily flustered but at the time I couldn't think of a response to this as it is something very hard to prove even though I knew his accusation to be false. Am I wrong to think that this was taboo to bring up in this interview? What might have been a good way to respond to this accusation that wouldn't come across as either weak or argumentative?

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  • I’m voting to close this question because as the help center states, questions asking whether there is a problem (whether you're right or wrong in thinking something) and questions that ask us to rewrite text or otherwise tell you what to say (not knowing how to respond, asking for ways to respond) are off-topic here. It's up to you to decide what you want your response to be, and provide enough details to make it clear what interpersonal skills you're struggling with in giving that response.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jan 13 at 7:25
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    Maybe this is better to ask on workplace.stackexchange.com
    – Brandin
    Jan 17 at 9:16
  • "was this taboo to bring up in the interview?" - Which part do you think was taboo, you mentioning that you were laid off, or him (the interviewer) accusing you of lying?
    – Brandin
    Jan 17 at 9:20

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You have lots of interest and lots of interviews. You're not desperate. This interviewer called you a liar to your face. Maybe they think you are a liar, maybe they're interested in seeing how you handle being spoken to that way. Who cares? This doesn't seem like a place I'd be interested in working. It sounds like you value your relationship with your former employer a lot, and are looking for a new employer you can care about the same way. Does this interviewer make you feel you're headed for something like that? I don't think so.

You could have just stood up and left, perhaps after stating clearly that you're insulted to be called a liar. Or you could just silently flip a bit on this company. Neither of these is weak or argumentative. You don't need to "answer" every bit of nonsense an interviewer tries on you. And you don't need to choose to work at each place that interviews you. In my opinion, this firm has removed themselves from the running. What they think of you is not relevant, is it?

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    The question would have fit better on workplace.stackexchange. And there the answer is: A job interview is two-sided. The company decides to hire you or not, you decide to work there or not. The company failed the interview. (I only had one company ever fail their interview with me. Their boss was such a stress head, I would never have been able to work with him for more than two weeks).
    – gnasher729
    Jan 17 at 14:23
  • It might not be in itself a reason to walk out of an interview - it's possible the interviewer is either an HR person you'll never speak to again, or a technical person who doesn't know how to conduct interviews (some inexperienced people can appear like assholes where a more experienced person would be able to ask in a more civil way exactly why you were laid off). But definitely a case where you should question if you want to work there.
    – Stuart F
    Jan 30 at 12:40

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