Recruiting employees is no easy task, so we often defer to a few “rules” that help us to quickly sort through the applications and find the best and brightest. Unfortunately, having been fired is often one of the red flags that prompts us to sail right past an employee candidate’s application. This can be a mistake, though. The following are several reasons that you may wish to consider hiring someone that has been fired.
Every company has a different culture and not all employees are going to fit in well with every company. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the employee candidate isn’t going to fit in with your company culture, though. The employee may be extremely professional and stringent about deadlines-which could fit well with your company- while the other company was more laid back and valued creativity and flexibility more.
Some managers are unprofessional, lazy, unethical, or unappreciative. Just because an employee was fired, it doesn’t automatically mean that the reasons were sound or that the employee’s performance or behavior was poor. It is important to hear employee candidates out about the reasons that they were fired and pay close attention to what they take responsibility for or how they pass the buck.
An employee may have been fired from a job that was completely different than the position that you are hiring for, which they may be more qualified for and better at. Bright candidates may even humble down and tell you that their skills were not up to par in the past position, whereas their skills fit well with the job that you are hiring for. The ability to admit shortcomings and identify areas of weakness can be a valuable quality in an employee.
In some cases, life gets in the way of the job. An employee’s attendance issues or performance issues may have been related to caring for a sick family member that has since passed away, taking care of personal health conditions, or other perfectly understandable personal reasons. It is important to keep your ears open and separate the excuses from the real reasons when listening to an employee explain what happened that caused them to miss work or become less productive.
In some cases, none of the above is true and the employee was fired for perfectly sound reasons-but has since learned a lesson from the experience. Employees that have been fired are often determined to show their value and prove that they are worthy of being hired and holding their position, which is a great attitude for a new employee to have. If this determination is present, the employee candidate will generally show it during the interview stages, so listen carefully.
While an employee candidate should not be automatically passed over for having been fired, being fired does not automatically make a great employee candidate, either. It is extremely important to check references and match stories about why an employee was fired if the employer will share that information with you. It is also important to directly address the issue when interviewing the candidate to see how they view the situation and what they will do differently to keep the new position.
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