Should you hire someone who has been fired? - Food for Thought.

A lot of companies, or should I say Recruiters/ Hiring Managers/ Human Resources professionals REJECT a job application if the candidate isn't currently working. YOU should not be making that error in judgement.

As a Human Resources professional, I know that getting the right candidate for the right job at the right time is a very difficult task. What is even more difficult is taking a decision to invest into a candidate and bringing someone on-board just on the basis of a few pages of articulated cover letters and a well designed resumes along with a series of short meetings, which we all know as 'INTERVIEWS'. Most of the human resources professionals use certain key criteria to short-list or screen applications, a few look at the educational qualification while some look at past companies associated with. One of the major criteria that most hiring managers look at is the current employment status and the company the applicant is currently associated with. Thus many hiring managers might reject applicants who are currently unemployed. A common misconception amongst hiring managers who believe that people who are good performers will always be employed.

While its true that employees who aren't good enough stand a good chance of being unemployed, it would be unfair to say that all the employees who are unemployed aren't good performers. I personally know a a lot of such employees who are not just good performers but excellent in their field of work but currently are unemployed.

I am sure if you could look back into your own lives you will certainly find quite many examples of this which you may or may not have noticed in the past. The reasons for being unemployed can be different; being laid-off, off time taken to take care of personal/family issues, time taken off after maternity to nurse the child, sabbatical taken to go back to school, fresh graduate, fired from the job, etc. The list can go on.

In a lay-off, companies let go of employees as a mechanism to reduce cost and dissolves their positions. If we look at lay-offs in that light we might just want to consider the employees that were laid-off are as good/bad as the ones we currently have who are employed, wouldn't we? There can also be a case where a person is fired from his job. Now what does 'Getting Fired' mean? It just means the employee wasn't fit to do the job role as required of him/her. By that I mean not every employee that gets fired isn't good or does not like to work or for that matter is not a good performer. As a human resources professional I would recommend hiring a candidate who has been fired from his/her previous job. Here's why;

  • Good Boss/Bad Boss

Ask yourself, did you always have good bosses? I am sure most of you would have had at-least one bad experience with your bosses at some point of your career graph. Some of you might recollect of a boss who played favourites, some might recollect the cut throat negotiation on salary/overtime/leave applications, some may remember the horror of being undermined/being screamed/micro-managed at all times. Do you believe every fired employee was terminated due to their poor performance? Not very likely. Some of the credit does go to their managers as well. Thus don't reject a candidate purely based on the manager they had.

'People don't leave bad companies, they leave bad managers'
  • The shoe that fits one person pinches another.

Just like Albert Einstein said "If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.", we cant expect every employee to be judged by the same standard as his predecessors or colleagues. Just imagine if you hired an web designer to cook a perfect Rib Eye Steak at a restaurant, he probably wouldn't perform as good as the Sous Chef. But does that make him poor in web design? Its just a poor fit of employee to the job role. Hiring managers expect employees to be perfect and never make a mistake ever. Just because he failed to cook the perfect Rib Eye Steak does not mean he will fail at web designing as well.

  • Don't waste a good mistake... Learn from it - Robert Kiyosaki

Don't we all make mistakes in life? When you are cooking a meal for dinner and by mistake you add an ingredient which makes the dish saltier, do you stop cooking for the rest of your life? No, you don't. You learn from your mistakes and ensure that you don't repeat them again. I remember when I was a child my parents always told me to make as many mistakes as possible but at the same time remember what went wrong and learn from them so that I don't make the same error again. The same applies to workplace as well. Some employees get fired because they messed up. Now the real question we need to ask is, 'Did they learn from it?', Did they become more responsible after the mistake?' Do they know better now that they have learnt from their past mistakes?'. You will never find out unless you speak to them.

Multi-Cultural environment

Companies/Hiring Managers relatively spend a lot of time finding talent who will fit into their company culture, often forgetting that a candidate if fired from another company may not have been the right fit to be with that company but can be a perfect fit into their company. For instance, an employee who could not fit into the Taj Hotels culture may be a better fit into the Marriott Hotels culture and vice versa. Why reject an applicant based on the culture he could not fit into?

Sometimes you need a second chance, because you weren't quite ready for the first.

Have you never in life wish you had a second chance at a particular thing? Put yourself in the shoes of a person who has messed up once and had to pay for it by getting fired from the job. Now this time around when you get a new job you know very well that you cant blow it off and lose this job. That feeling will ensure that you work really hard and ensure that you don't make the same mistakes again. Everyone deserves a second chance, not to be sympathised but to learn and grow into a better person personally and professionally.

At the end it goes without saying that the references are still to be checked thoroughly not only for the ones fired from the job but for other regular candidates as well. Having said that, you not hire someone just because they have been fired from their last job and should not reject someone merely on the basis that they got fired on managements decisions.

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