Following up on the previous blog regarding the candidate who kept saying ‘It wasn’t a good fit’: After several attempts, days in between conversations, and my sharing with him my concern for him not being able to articulate WHY he left, he finally shared with me his story.
After he was terminated (previously, he had not answered the question as to whether he was terminated or he quit) he went to HR and asked what went wrong. He said he had never been terminated before and was quite embarrassed about it. HR said, ‘We are sorry it didn’t work out, you can simply say it wasn’t a good fit’. Since he had never been in this situation before, he felt that per the direction of HR, this response would suffice.
Something that he had never thought about was that HR could have been walking a thin line from a legal standpoint if they told him any different. I explained that HR no longer ‘supported’ him as he is now an ex-employee. Their loyalty (and legal standing) is with the company, not the former employee, which is what he is now. Their answer suited their needs, not his.
Once he understood this, he opened up about what happened. As much as I was looking for a story that could possibly become the next great American Novel, his story was quite simple: He made a mistake on a report that had consequences. Interestingly, it sounded like the owner/HR took little to no responsibility in the training process for a relatively new employee, etc., but instead, made a quick decision to terminate the employee.
While it is a blow to the ego, and goes down in the ‘fired’ category, it’s not the end of the world. For a company who has a strong training program in place, this would not be viewed as a deal breaker. It could definitely be looked at as a training opportunity (Do we have measures in place to fully train new employees? Do we have a check and balance procedure in place for new employees? Are documents reviewed for accuracy before being distributed?).
Now that we understand the situation, we can work on how we are going to communicate that going forward. We can form an articulate response to the question, ‘Why did you leave?’. For the record, flailing arms still scare me.