For applicants that have experienced a layoff or termination this can be a tough question.  Although most prefer to avoid questions about this topic on the application or in the interview process, it is important to be truthful in your response.  Otherwise, the interviewer may conclude that you have something to hide.  Here are some tips that may help.

If you were laid off from a job that is a valid and honest reason to list on your employment application as to why you left that company.  Under the prevailing economic envirnonment, mass layoffs are not uncommon.  The interviewer will understand that this was no fault of your own and should be able to verify this when they complete their employment verification process.

If you were terminated from a position, I would encourage you not to list "Will discuss during the interview" as the reason for leaving on the employment application.  This puts the recruiter in the position of trying to decide whether or not they should spend time brining you in for an interview.  Rather, briefly detail the reason you were terminated and if possible state a few words about what you have learned or will do differently when working for your next employer.  If asked about the termination during the interview process you can go in to more detail about the circumstances surrounding the termination and the steps you have taken to ensure that it doesn't happen again.  If you do not feel that the termination could have been avoided, provide the recruiter with references that can speak to your character, the quality of your work, attendence, etc.

At Children's Mercy we conduct reference and background checks on all of our top candidates before an offer is made so the time to tell the recruiter what happened and your perspective is during the interview.  You will most likely not have another chance to share this information and if we find information that does not match, it could cost you the job.