Have you ever fired someone?
What will you say?
If you are interviewing for a management role, they are likely to ask you this question. Managers are usually required to both hire and fire as necessary. They want to know how you would handle that—your thought process, how you feel about it, and if you can make good, logical, thoughtful choices about this situation. Can you make tough choices?
If your answer is “No,” that you have never fired anyone, you need to follow that up with, “But I always live up to my responsibilities, and I know that this is one that comes with the job, as unpleasant as it might be. Although it is probably difficult to make that decision, I know that I would make it with the good of the whole department and the whole company in mind, with any necessary input from HR and my own supervisor.”
You want them to know that you can make difficult decisions that benefit the greater good, and that you recognize that the company will have procedures that need to be followed in these situations.
If your answer is “Yes,” you’ll want to describe what happened.
Tell your story using a STAR format:
- Situation or Task (Set up the story—what happened? What was your goal?)
- Action (What did you choose to do and why?)
- Result (What happened as a result of your actions? Quantify this wherever possible.)
Talk about what was going on with this employee, walk them through the process of how you addressed the situation, and how it ultimately came to firing that person. Mention what happened after that—maybe morale went up because this person was so negative they drug everyone else down, or maybe your production percentages went up because this person wasn’t around to gum up the works any longer.
You want them to know that you:
- didn’t take it lightly
- went through the proper channels
- ultimately made the hard decision and took care of business
This question and answer is just one of the 101 job interview questions and answers in my ebook How to Answer Interview Questions II, available on Amazon. (Along with the Keys to a Great Interview!)
If you know there's a job interview in your future, I encourage you to get this book (How to Answer Interview Questions II) as well as the first book, How to Answer Interview Questions. Both books have 101 job interview questions and answers that will have you ready to stand out in any job interview and get the offer.