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If You’ve Ever Been Fired, I’ll Never Hire You!

by David Brock on December 19th, 2016

There’s an article that’s getting a lot of attention, If You’ve Ever Been Fired, I’ll Never Hire You!

It’s a commentary on a “manager’s” perspective that being “fired” is a black spot on anyone’s career and that manager taking the position that anyone who has been fired should never be considered for a job.  Unfortunately, I think too many managers share that opinion.  It’s an ill-informed opinion from many perspectives.

There are all sorts of reasons, good or bad that a person is terminated.  What we often miss about termination is that it is as much a fault of management and the company as it may be about the individual’s performance.  It may have been a person in a job they should have never been in, that’s a management failure.  It may have been a person who didn’t have the training, tools, coaching, reinforcement needed for success, that’s both a failure of management and the person.

But the real issue is, “What are our attitudes about failure?”  By extension, the individual in this article would never hire an entrepreneur that had started and failed.  Or Steve Jobs would have never been re-hired at Apple, or any number of entrepreneurs or great leaders would have never been hired for roles in which they have excelled, simply because they may have failed or may have been terminated in the past.

What we learn from failure is critical.  If a person has been terminated in the past, as managers, we need to drill into it more.  Why were they terminated?  What have they learned as a result of the termination?  How has that changed them?   What would they do differently?

Not hiring individuals who have never failed can be very limiting to our organizations and our own abilities to grow.  Instilling a fear of failing in our own organizations is limiting to the success of the organization.  If people don’t take risks, if they don’t try new things, both the individuals and the organization will never improve.

Failure is a part of individual and organizational growth.  Those who view failure as a black mark on a person’s background, clearly have closed mindset and cannot drive organizations or individuals to the highest levels of performance.

My response to the manager mentioned in the Forbes article, clearly those who have been fired and have learned from it are the fortunate ones, they would be under served by going to this organization and manager.

From → Leadership

  1. Scott Woodhouse permalink


    Awesome post. Glad you caught this article. Too many people today just hire “safe”, and their results show.

    Great job!

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