image of matt dodgson on video talking about how to answer why you've been made redundant in an interview
Jan 30, 2019

Video: How to explain redundancy in an interview..

By Matt Dodgson

Co-Founder - Recruiter & Marketer


If you’re asked the question, why are you looking for a new job?

Then what you say next is pretty important to your success in the interview.

Because a business will always play devil’s advocate.

They’ll always expect you to come up with an ‘answer’ for this sort of question.

The difficulty with explaining redundancy

And it’s even more difficult when you’ve been made redundant.

Because sometimes companies will think to themselves…

…why has this business made a b2b marketer redundant, when it’s their job to help drive demand. Surely if they’re doing their job properly, the business couldn’t afford to lose them…

Now….you and I know that’s a pretty narrow minded view, but it’s best to think about answering this question with that in mind.

Basically, we need to give the interviewer an answer that puts to bed any concerns or preconceived ideas they might have about redundancy.

And that’s exactly what I’ll cover in this video.

Hello, if you’re here for the first time, I’m Matt Dodgson and I’m a Co-Founder of Market Recruitment.

And we help B2B marketers in the Tech sector accelerate their careers, whether you’re looking for a new marketing job or looking to hire into your marketing team.

And while you’re here if you’re watching this on YouTube then I’d recommend hitting the Subscribe button followed by the bell so you’re notified when our next video lands.

Further Reading; B2B Marketing Interview Questions – The Comprehensive Guide

Redundancy shouldn’t be negative

Now….first of all. It’s really important for me to say that not everybody sees redundancy in a negative way.

And there’s every chance that the person who’s interviewing you has experienced redundancy themselves or will know someone who has.

So a lot of people will be empathetic. However, it’s still worth planning what you’re going to say.

So…how to explain you’ve been made redundant.

And there’s a couple of aspects to this.

Get your mindset right

Firstly…it’s a mindset. Because being made redundant from your b2b marketing job isn’t nice at all.

So the first thing to remember is that YOU haven’t been made redundant. Your JOB has been made redundant.

There’s a subtle difference but it’s super super important.

And it’s important because, as much as you’re feeling hurt or despondent, being seen to have a positive and forward thinking attitude is crucial.

Company’s want positive people who can overcome challenges.

So that’s one thing. As hard as it is, take this as a positive. It’s an opportunity for you to use all the skills you have to benefit someone else.

This can be an exciting new chapter for you.

So….that’s the mindset, and let’s park that and chat through the key components of the answer itself.

Now….in my opinion…. an interview is something that can be prepared for.

There will always be questions like ‘Tell me about yourself’, or ‘what salary are you looking for’, that you can pre-prepare answers for.

And whilst you should be authentic. This interview is an audition.

And anybody who’s ever done an audition will have practised their lines. Rehearsed them.

And an interview is no different.

So…I’d highly recommend getting a small card out and writing this answer down and rehearsing it. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse….until it just falls off the tongue.

Because there’s every chance you’ll be saying this a few times in your job search.

Be positive at the start of your answer

So when you’re asked this question, positivity is the first thing you’re going to hit them with.

‘Well I’ve got to say I really enjoyed my time at Google. During my time there I had a big impact on their inbound marketing efforts. And this was recognised by the CEO last year when I was given their ‘high achiever’ award.’

So that’s the first bit. And just to explain it a bit more.

The first sentence. ‘Well I’ve got to say I really enjoyed my time at Google.’ This is a nice positive opening statement.

Explain your performance there

The rationale, is that if you were enjoying things then it’s easy to make the assumption that you were performing well. Those 2 things tend to go hand in hand.

The 2nd sentence, ‘During my time there I had a big impact on their inbound marketing efforts.’ This again reinforces that you were making a positive difference but also hangs your hat on the business benefit of having you there.

And that could be substituted for anything that you think you’re particularly strong at. It could be I had a big impact on their…..lead conversion rates……demand generation…..their SaaS messaging….whatever works for you.

And then the final bit, ‘And this was recognised by the CEO last year when I was given their ‘high achiever’ award.’

So this is giving a tangible result. It’s your ROI. Or in the example I used some recognition through an award.

And that bit will put to bed any concerns that you weren’t performing. Plus is also helps to get across your commerciality. The tangible difference you made.

Which is a crucial thing for B2B marketers today.

So that’s the first paragraph sorted.

Be honest about your redundancy

The next bit is to explain, exactly what happened and why it happened.

And the tendency is to just say, ‘I was made redundant’.

But that doesn’t quite do it. We need to give a bit more detail, because that detail will demonstrate openness and build trust.

So the 2nd bit needs to be something like this.

‘Now unfortunately the business has had a couple of headwinds over the last year or so. One has been trying to establish true product market fit.

The market isn’t quite ready for our solution. And secondly, their VC is getting more impatient so they’re going to hit some funding issues soon.

So off the back of that they’ve decided to reduce headcount and work really hard on creating a product that the market will actually pay for. And this has meant that they’ve made 10 people redundant, and I was one of them.’

So you can see we’re just giving a bit more info about why the redundancies came about.

Offer a reference

And then lastly, you could put all concerns to bed by offering up a reference. Something like.

‘And I’m happy to provide my managers details who’ll be more than happy to discuss my performance with you.’

So there you have it.

I hope you found that useful.

Just remember, get your mindset right. Be positive. Give some detail and put those possible concerns to bed.

And finally if you’re watching this video on our website, you can subscribe once it ends so you can get an email the next time a video goes live.

Good luck with your interviews and speak soon.