update: how much of a red flag is it if a job candidate was fired twice previously?

Remember the letter-writer asked about a job candidate who had been fired twice previously? Here’s the update.

I wrote in about six months about a job candidate who was fired twice previously, and my uncertainty about whether to move them forward in the process. As I said in the update in the comments section, I did end up interviewing the candidate again, but I felt like they weren’t quite the right fit for what I needed.

In the end, I went with the candidate who had been my top choice from the first round of interviews. She started a few months ago, and she is an absolute dream. Conscientious, diplomatic, flexible, really open to feedback, willing to ask questions until she understands something and then able to apply that knowledge and work independently much faster than I would have anticipated. We have a really complicated bureaucracy and I never expect anyone to really know what they’re doing for months, but she’s already figured out how to get stuff done that I didn’t even know could get done. It took her a bit to trust me when I said I was very open to her improving systems as we went, but now that she both trusts me and trusts herself to understand the systems, she’s making really helpful improvements. She is also doing such a conscientious job at one of her data entry tasks that upper management commented on how much easier it is to run reports now, because they don’t have to do the same extensive data clean-up that used to be required. I feel like she’s regularly trying to figure out how to make other team members’ jobs easier, while still being clear about her own boundaries, and it’s just really helping the team function amazingly well overall.

I really appreciated the comments on my original letter reminding me (and the commenters!) that I wasn’t hiring in a vacuum and that I had to compare the candidates to each other. I definitely want to continue giving candidates a fair shot and not make assumptions about their backgrounds, but I’m also glad that I learned I can trust my instincts, too. And I’m so grateful for this website and your book, Alison. My reports have all recently said how much they appreciate my management style (one of them described it as “laidback but with high standards”) and I know I owe a lot of that to you! Thank you so much.



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