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Fired? How to Discuss This During your Next Interview

August 28th, 2015

If your last job didn’t end very well and you were hustled out the door before you were ready, you probably experienced a range of emotions and concerns. If you’re like most job seekers, you probably wondered how you were going to handle your finances and how you would break the news to your family. You may also be facing another sticky challenge: how will you land your next job with this incident on your record? Answers to the first two questions will depend on your circumstances, but for the third concern, these tips can help.

Don’t mention the event in your application materials.

Leave all discussion of your firing out of your resume and cover letter. Don’t bring up the subject in any online or printed application unless you’ve been directly asked to do so, and if you are, answer using the fewest possible words. Try not to engage in this conversation at all until you can do so in person.

Don’t volunteer this information during your interview.

Again, there’s absolutely no need to offer this information or steer the conversation in this direction unless you’re directly asked. For example: “Why did you leave your last position?” or “Did you leave your last position voluntarily?” There’s nothing remotely dishonest about discussing other topics instead of this one. But if your interviewer does ask, be prepared.

Know the difference between a layoff and a firing.

If you were laid off, say so. Explain that your position was eliminated or your branch of the company was divested, and expect your interviewers to understand that this decision had nothing to do with your performance or behavior. Don’t use the word “fired” if you were dismissed though no action of your own.

Control the conversation.

If you really were fired as a result of performance or behavior, don’t testify against yourself. Keep the conversation short, positive, and under your control. As soon as possible, redirect the focus back to your talents and credentials. Notice how hard your interviewer pushes for the details, and read between the lines. For example, if you were fired due to low sales numbers, your interviewer may be concerned about your ability to perform sales-related tasks. Offer reassurance as needed. If she’s concerned about a potential behavior issue, briefly tell yours side of the story and explain what you learned from the incident. Make it clear that this poor behavior will never happen again.

Use the word “fit”.

If you were fired due to a complex personality mismatch, a he-said-she-said interpersonal conflict, or any other drama that can’t be understood out of context, don’t try to explain or tell the whole story. Just state that you and the job were not a “fit”. Then move on.

For more on how to handle this tricky conversation and bring it to a graceful end as soon as possible, reach out to the experienced staffing team at Merritt.


The Cost of Overtime

August 14th, 2015

Overtime regulations have been the subject of some legislative scrutiny lately and may soon adjust to better reflect the needs and standards of the modern workplace. But right now, the same general rules have been in place for several years: overtime pay equals 1.5 times the hourly rate a given worker receives during the first 7.5 hours of the day or five days of the week. Not all positions are eligible for overtime pay, and salaried employees have overtime hours factored into their annual compensation and benefits.

But as a manager, are you closely monitoring the cost of your overtime hours and the value you derive from these hours? When you’re faced with an unexpected influx of orders, do you tend to push your current employees into overtime in order to produce your product or deliver your service on schedule? And are the results worth the toll this takes on your payroll budget?

Short Versus Long Term Goals

Before you make a plan to accommodate a rising demand for labor, estimate how long this demand will last. If this spike will subside within a few days or weeks, your overtime expenses may be well worth the benefits. You’ll build revenue and decrease risk by relying on employees who are already trained, tested, and familiar with the ropes. But if this increase in demand will continue for months or more, or if this spike correspond with a predictable point in your annual business cycle, consider the cost benefits involved in hiring temporary or contingency team members to share the load.

The Benefits of Contingency Staffing

As your need for help increases, pushing your current teams to the breaking point won’t just come at a cost to your payroll budget; it may also have a negative impact on work quality, morale, and turnover. Reduce both cost and risk by turning to an established staffing agency and taking on a temporary team of contingency employees who can pick up the slack. These employees can be carefully selected to meet your needs; if you require specific skill sets, training or educational credentials, the right staffing agency can provide them. Your temporary team can step in the door and start working right away.

In the meantime, temporary staffing can reduce the headaches and hassles involved in taking on new full-time staff. Taxes, insurance, and payments are all handled by the agency, not by you, so when it’s time to return your workforce to its original shape, these temporary employees will simply be reassigned to other clients.

Hiring temporary teams can keep your staffing program agile and cost effective. To learn more, reach out to the experts at Merritt.

Future Hiring Needs: Are You Prepared?

December 12th, 2014

Your hiring needs for this month are covered. You’re steadily on track to replace every departing employee and you’re bringing in new recruits in perfect pace with your expanding business. You have not a single pair of hands beyond what you need, and as soon as Sally retires and Steve says goodbye to care for his growing family, you’ll have new employees already lined up to take over their desks.

So this day, week, and month are locked down and accounted for. But what about next year? What will you do when Steve’s replacement starts gunning for a promotion to the next level? If you can’t accommodate her, what will you do when she leaves in search of a company that can? What will you do if your new product line starts selling beyond expectations and you need to hire more staff to keep up with a flood of orders? And will happen when your new orders suddenly dry up and you need to contract your workforce back to affordable levels?

The answer, as always, lies in planning ahead. Instead of taking a lean, just-in-time approach to the staffing process, try to use all the data at your disposal to determine what your staffing needs will look like in one, three, and five years.

Build a Pipeline

You may not have a crystal ball that can tell you when your employees might leave the company, but you can certainly make educated guessed about promotion readiness. When your top executives leave or retire, have someone in mind who you can groom and prepare for the role. Have others in mind to replace those, and so on down to the entry level. The harder you work to cultivate and retain the links in this chain, the more closely reality will adhere to your expectations.

Hire Contingency Teams

Consider hiring contingency, temporary, independent, and part time staff for roles with an uncertain future. If you don’t know how long an expansion will last, or how a new product will be received by the marketplace, limit your risks and control your workforce growth. That way you won’t have to make promises or take on full time employees that you can’t keep. Contingency staffing can also help you ensure a personality and cultural match before you make a long term commitment.

For more information about staff development, hiring, pipeline building, and long term planning, contact the experts at Merritt.


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