Hiring Someone Who Was Fired? How to Make Sure You Won’t Regret It


“You’re fired!” No one on The Apprentice wanted to hear those words and no one in real life wants to hear them, either. But getting fired happens. Sometimes to the very best of us. And that is why you should take a second look at a candidate and consider hiring someone who was fired.

In fact, you may want to seriously look at candidates who have been fired. Below, we explore the reasons why as well as some best practices for hiring someone who was let go from a previous employer.


Dig Deeper


There are two sides to every termination, so if you’re thinking of hiring someone who was fired, it’s important to talk to the candidate about their dismissals. If the candidate openly reveals they were fired, they may be eager to explain the reason. Listen to it and be aware of whether they take at least half of the responsibility for the incident, or whether they were a “victim?” Do they bad-mouth their former manager or co-workers? Doing so is an indication of possible lack of maturity at the least and an attitude of entitlement or persecution at the worst.

If the applicant is honest about the reasons they were fired and takes responsibility, talk some more. It may have been a case that they weren’t a great cultural or personality fit for the employer, so ask about the type of environment in which they excel. Alternatively, the employee may not have had all the skills the employer needed. Ask about those skills and find which ones the candidate lacks; those skills may not be critical to your open position.

It’s important to note that the applicant may not reveal the firing on their own. This could be because they are embarrassed or worried that the termination means you won’t hire them. These are perfectly normal fears. While admitting upfront to having been dismissed is a great indication of the candidate’s integrity, neglecting to admit being fired isn’t necessarily reason to reject them as a candidate. Unless the reasons behind the termination disqualify them as a candidate or you realize they’re entirely lying about the dismal, the candidate may still possess great potential as an employee.


Check References


As you check references, make sure you speak with the candidate’s former manager to hear their side of the story. If the stories don’t mesh, you have some thinking to do. Let the candidate take an integrity test and/or conduct behavioral interviews with the job seeker. Ask other managers or staff members to interview the candidate and ask for their opinion.


When Hiring Someone Who Was Fired, Remember: Great Employees DO Get Dismissed


Being dismissed doesn’t mean a candidate is an automatic poor choice for hiring.  Many great workers are let go for many reasons, a few of which are:

  • They just don’t fit in with the company’s culture.
  • They are in positions for which they aren’t suited (an exceptional engineer moves into sales, for example).
  • They inadvertently angered “the wrong person” even if they were in the right.
  • They make a big mistake that results in losing an important client. Some heads “must” roll as a result, and so a few good employees are fired.

If a candidate has the skills and experience you need and has been dismissed from a company, it could prove well worth your while to at least interview them. Today’s talent shortage behooves smart hiring managers to consider “out of the ordinary” candidates or else risk losing a skilled and valuable hire.

We work closely with our clients here at JDP Search to ensure that they find the right hire at the right time. If you need help finding great people for opportunities in the manufacturing, supply chain, engineering, or sales verticals, let us know what you need and we’ll get right on the search.