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I was recently invited to share my thoughts on the following...
"How to Answer 'Reason for Leaving' a Job When Fired"
Because such topics are common yet few people like to discuss them, here's my take below (excerpt).
When working with talents ranging from employees to prospective candidates, I remind them to do their best to represent themselves. When it comes to firings, sometimes the circumstances surrounding the firing is debatable and possibly accompanied with legal ramifications. Context matters. There are cases when an individual is fired for acting out of good faith and adhering to professional principles prompting a retaliatory response from an employer. Bad things do happen to good people, at times. Not all employees and contributors in an organization hold personal and professional values that align across the board. Not all employers are ethical, some invest more time in crafting an image of professionalism rather than exercising business acumen that serves their audience. Differences in opinions, incompetent management, unethical business practices and bad hires are some examples that can snowball into unfortunate, yet at times (really needed) firings. If a person was fired, be transparent about it. Share the context of the firing, why it happened and what you've done in response to it. If you take accountability for a 'true-positive' firing which was well deserved, did you learn from it? Some people learn, some don't.
If it's a situational firing in a job candidate's profile, assess the risk they pose for your organization if they are hired. We need to address the cause of firing because in one company having excessive tardiness can lead to a firing regardless of one's commendable work performance record. If you're not reliable, no one cares how great you are. In another environment, it is possible that a person was fired for compromising the trade secrets of the brand's products and services. No one wants to hire someone who's a savvy thief, a blabbermouth, a negative nelly, self-professed hypochondriacs who are always out sick, technically unqualified people, low or no EQ personalities crying for attention and the list GOES ON. Competent employers aren’t in the babysitting business - they want their staff to focus on productivity by creating healthy collaborative outcomes. Bad firings are like a two way street - it can happen to anyone at any time. There's always two sides to a story.
No one wants to hire someone who's a savvy thief, a blabbermouth, a negative nelly, self-professed hypochondriacs who are always out sick, technically unqualified people, low or no EQ personalities crying for attention and the list GOES ON. - Sasha Laghonh
Bad firings can be prevented if the people screening, interviewing and assessing these candidates are seasoned professionals. There are plenty of inept HR professionals that lack the good sense and professionalism to handle such great hiring responsibilities with care. Hosting HR credentials doesn't cut it nor make one, or their organization, immune from lawsuits regardless of the statute of limitations. These alleged trusted sources need to apply their cognitive thinking skills better by marrying their life and professional experiences. When these HR professionals bring their personal biases about life to the table, it's only a matter of time they fail their organization by not representing the employees with dignity. (Instead) discrimination, racism, gender bias, microaggressions and other injustices are brought to light in their business operations. Such unfortunate realities do exist regardless of industry and whether an entity is a non-profit or pro-profit. Overall, if a candidate has been fired, I recommend coming clean about the story (assuming they are able to disclose it if it's not a subjudice matter). Remember, sooner or later, the truth floats. It's better for the candidate to share their story before they are later asked to 'defend' their undisclosed circumstances. Not disclosing it can qualify for a future firing.
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