Would you pass up a qualified candidate simply because they were fired in the past? The choice is yours, but simply writing off candidates because their previous position did not work out well may not be the best idea, just as you wouldn’t expect job seekers to dismiss a company if one of their past employees quit. Instead, you should take full advantage of the interview process to learn as much as you can about them. It’s tough to find the perfect candidate for any job. You need to make sure the skill set is a match, and the company culture is a fit. So what happens when you find the perfect candidate who you know or tells you that they were let go from their previous position?
Here are some of the questions you should ask, when interviewing a candidate that was fired:
What’s the candidate’s side of the story?
As the saying goes – there are two sides to every story. It is important that you keep an open mind. It’s hard to not assume they did something bad in order to get fired. If the candidate has told you they were fired, you’ve already learned two crucial things about them: they are upfront and honest. Ask them what happened and why they were let go from their previous job. The way they answer this question should be a deciding factor for you. A savvy candidate will know that they should not speak negatively of their past employers- even if they were fired.
What did the candidate learn from the experience?
The key is what the candidate learned from the experience. If the candidate explains in detail what led to their involuntary departure, and then explains all the things they would do differently now, shows experience and growth. Perhaps they will tell you that it wasn’t a great company fit. Perhaps the job was presented to them in a different light to reality. Maybe they made a big mistake on a client and had to pay the price. Whatever their answer, you want to be looking for signs that this candidate can take responsibility for their actions. Making mistakes isn’t the worst thing someone can do — not learning from those mistakes is.
What do the references say?
Whatever the candidate tells you can be backed up by references. You can still learn a lot from their other work and personal references despite the unfortunate incident of being fired from their last job. This will then confirm if the person you met is actually who they say they are and most importantly if your gut instinct is right or not.
RedBox Recruitment collectively has over 15 years of recruitment experience and has seen a lot of dysfunctional working environments out there and a lot of poor managers. Many good employees are collateral damage in the internal politics of bad companies. Don’t be too hasty to throw away the CV and give the candidate the chance to explain their side of the story.