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Old 11-09-2011, 05:51 AM
Location: north america
379 posts, read 321,454 times
Reputation: 201
Default Have you ever asked a potential employer about the previous employee when they asked about your separation

from your last employment? I feel it kind of evens things out and hopefully brings reality back into the picture.

Notice an employer will never respond with, "They ran out of here screaming." or "After they cursed me out, they stomped out."

I guess it's okay for employers to make their separation issues "palatable", but not ok for employees.

To rephrase the above, lets say you're at an interview and the employer asks, "what was the reason for your separation over at Bubblicious?" You answer," The office was smoke filled and I was getting asthma." Then you ask, "How did this position becoming available?" Then the employer thinks back on the employee whose position your're now interviewing for and says, "They moved out of state" when the real reason was that the person couldn't stand being there anymore and found a new position.

Last edited by mash potato; 11-09-2011 at 06:01 AM..
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Old 11-09-2011, 06:04 AM
Location: East of Seattle, originally from SF Bay Area
12,684 posts, read 13,951,216 times
Reputation: 8294
If asked, the answer would be very vague, if there were negative circumstances. You never know when there might be litigation coming and best not to discuss something like that with a stranger interviewee.

I do not ask people why they left their previous job, often the candidate will tell us voluntarily or it will come up in the reference checking process, but it's not something we would ask in an interview. In fact, we don't ask whether the person is currently working or not, though the resume will have some clues (dates) and more often than not it's mentioned by them during the interview.
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Old 07-08-2014, 02:19 PM
3 posts, read 356 times
Reputation: 10
I know this is an old thread but to answer your question, yes, I did ask my previous employer while I was interviewing why it seems there was a high turn over rate of employees in their company, at least, for the position I am applying for, and some other positions, too. The manager denied that there was high turn over rate, although there were three people before me within less than 2 years time.
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Old 07-08-2014, 03:04 PM
Location: Colorado
4,235 posts, read 6,681,217 times
Reputation: 4074
Sometimes I've asked, "Why is the position available/open?" but it depended on how the conversation was going in general. Sometimes it's not a good idea as people can get a bit defenseive, but if you have a right to know, go ahead. It is your future after all.
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Old 07-08-2014, 03:30 PM
4,068 posts, read 1,627,541 times
Reputation: 3568
I never ask the employer, I will ask during the first week of work though. The last place I worked the guy had left after spending 5 and 1/2 years there with no promotion after the guy above him left to another company. After learning that I knew promotions were pretty much off the table at this place, even though they sell you that line "in 5 years you will be promoted to manager...". I find it best to find out from the employees how a place is run.
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Old 07-08-2014, 03:34 PM
Location: Texas
544 posts, read 209,590 times
Reputation: 1011
I usually ask whether the position is an expansion of the group or to replace attrition. It usually leads to a good general discussion about the future plans for the group size.
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:14 PM
1,102 posts, read 251,428 times
Reputation: 1378
It's fair to ask about turnover and how long, on average, people have been with the company and/or department. It's also okay to ask why turnover has been high, if, in fact, it has been.

You wouldn't want to work for anyone who takes offense to these questions. They're good questions and indicate the applicant wants to be someplace stable.
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