Fired? How to Discuss This in Your Interview

June 26th, 2015

During almost every interview session, for any position in any industry, one question will be more or less inevitable: “Tell me more about your last job.” Most employers will start with a few pleasantries and general questions about your goals and intentions, and then move immediately into a discussion of what you’ve done in the past. And since your last job provides a perfect launch point for this conversation, you’ll need to discuss your most recent position in a way that’s positive and meaningful. But what if your last job didn’t go very well at all? And what if you left under circumstances that are difficult to portray in a glowing light? Here are a few ways to deal with this question if you were fired or dismissed involuntarily.

Don’t Bring it Up

The most important rule is simple: don’t offer this information or initiate this conversation unless you’re asked. It may seem like a gesture of honesty to jump in front of this issue and voluntarily blurt out that you were fired from your last job, but this move is more likely to harm your chances than help you. Give yourself room to grow and change as a person. If given the chance to do so, leave the past where it belongs: behind you.

If Asked, Answer Briefly

If your interviewer wants to know the circumstances of your exit, keep your response honest, clear, positive, and above all, short. Practice an answer that can be delivered in ten words or fewer. Stay positive. According to HR experts, the most valuable word you can use under these circumstances will be the word “fit”, as in: “the job was not an ideal fit”, or “the company and I were not a fit.”

Take Responsibility, Within Limits

If your interviewer probes for more detail, you can briefly explain the philosophical or personality mismatches that pushed you out the door. But frame your departure in terms of a misalignment, not as a personal shortcoming on your part. Don’t make excuses, but at the same time, don’t take on a full burden of blame that isn’t yours to bear.

A Layoff is Not a Firing

Most responsible employers recognize that layoffs and job loss due to restructuring are not the fault of the employee, and that almost every employee experiences at least one or two involuntary job losses during his or her career. Performance-based or disciplinary firings are another matter, but wise managers and interviewers can easily understand the difference.

For more on how to move past this detail and keep the conversation focused on your skills and credentials, contact the staffing team at PSU.


Hiring is Getting Difficult…But We Can Help

February 20th, 2015

If you’re a hiring manager attempting to find and recruit talented candidates in the 2015 labor market, you may have noticed a few recent trends. Compared to the hiring picture of 2010, 1.) rare skill sets are harder to find, 2.) overqualified applicants used to flood the landscape, but their numbers are shrinking, and 3.) candidates left waiting by the phone tend to disappear. Talented workers are no longer willing to put up with low salary offers, ten rounds of interviews, or long hiring timelines. If you’re slow with your decision, they’ll simply accept offers elsewhere.

Long story short: it’s getting rough out there for managers. But if you’re facing these challenges and you just don’t have the budget to keep up with your competitors, don’t despair. We’re here to help!

In the Staffing World, Experience Counts

When you pace your trust in the established, experienced staffing team at PSU, you’ll benefit from our extensive industry connections and the wide reach of our reputation. We source top candidates all over the country, and we know how to attract the specific types of talent you’re looking for. We also understand that you need more than talent; you’re also looking for personality and cultural alignment. We’ll listen closely to your credentials and requirements, then we’ll turn toward the marketplace and help you find the matches you need.

Professional Staffing Reduces Risk

When you choose to partner with a staffing agency, you reduce risk as well as cost and headaches. We can provide you with employee agreements on a contingency basis, and if you and the employee prove to be a mismatch over time, we can reassign the employee to another client and provide a replacement. If you love the employee and want to take her on full time, you’re free to do so as soon as the contract period ends. With this system in place, you won’t have to make a commitment before you’ve worked closely with a candidate for several weeks.

Navigating the current hiring market may seem like an uphill climb, but with the PSU staffing team on your side, you’ll have what it takes to attract, hire, and retain the most talented candidates in your search area. Contact our office today!


What Policies Should You Review in the New Year?

January 30th, 2015

It’s a new year, and that means a fresh start…which means a general overhaul of the policies and practices that have woven their way into the background of workplace life. Just as we take some time each year to clean out old storage closets and get rid of what we no longer need, we should all be taking a close look at outdated policies and procedures at least once a year. Some of these old practices should be updated, and some should be tossed out or replaced. But you won’t know until you tackle the process and take action. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Start by soliciting feedback.

You should probably be taking this step anyway…and on a regular basis. Distribute anonymous surveys to employees and managers at every level and use the survey questions to gain feedback on company polices and how they’re being received. Ask if there are any policies that stand between the employees and their productivity on the job. Ask if there are policies that seem inappropriate, inefficient, impossible to execute, or impossible to enforce. And of course, request suggestions and alternatives.

Focus on the policies that create the biggest problems.

If you have several policies on the books that aren’t causing any problems and seem to be doing no harm, drop these to the lower end of the priority list. Move the squeakiest wheels to the top. For example, a hand-washing policy that’s being widely ignored will need serious attention in a healthcare or food handling facility. The same applies to a safety policy that’s designed to protect workers from one form of harm, but exposes them to another. Or a response time, dress code, or disciplinary policy that’s being unfairly enforced.

Account for the major workplace changes that have taken place this past year.

Can you quickly list some of the most important ways your workplace has changed between January of 2014 and January of 2015? If your employee population has doubled, your facility has expanded, you lost some of your key decision-makers, or your business model has shifted, then the policies relevant to these things will need to change first.

For specific help as you work to revamp your policies and procedures, contact the staffing and HR experts at PSU.

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