Should recruiters hire candidates who have been fired from previous roles?

Article by I Screen You Screen (

When it comes to hiring candidates for a role, there are a huge range of factors to take into account, such as their experience, qualifications and compatibility with the business’ culture.

However, if all of these aspects fit the company and role perfectly, should the person in question be rejected because of a firing from a previous role?

It’s a big commitment to take on a new employee and invest in their training, so it’s understandable that employers will have some trepidation when it comes to hiring candidates who have been fired from previous jobs.

However, it’s important to remember that employees can be let go for a whole range of reasons, and it isn’t always due to their own wrongdoing. Simon Houlton, CEO at reference checking software company I Screen You Screen has the following advice for recruiters on how to determine whether hiring a candidate in this position is worth it.

1. Understand their side of the story

When a candidate shares the information that they have been fired from a previous role, they should be expecting questions regarding this during their interview.

The way the applicant responds to these questions is vital, as you can quickly determine whether they are being completely candid about their past.

If they give reasons such as not fitting in with the culture of the company, or having a difficult relationship with their last boss, these factors can often be out of the candidate’s control and do not necessarily mean they wouldn’t work well at your business.

Revealing that they have been fired before does however show that they are honest and willing to discuss previous mistakes they have made. Even if they admit they were simply bad at their previous job, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t right for yours.

2. See how far they have come

The most important question to ask in this situation is what they have learnt from the experience. If they seem to accept responsibility for their part in the firing, it’s usually a better sign than when somebody paints themselves as the victim.

Further to this, if they speak badly about their previous employer, this should usually raise a red flag to interviewers, whereas if they see their sacking as a learning curve, it shows they have a much more professional approach. Those who have learnt from these experiences may be even more valuable to your business.

3. Check their references

Checking a candidate’s references is absolutely vital, regardless of their track record. However, if they have been fired previously, there is even more reason to get an accurate representation of their former employment.

It’s important to remember that reference checking is designed to create the bridge between the hiring and the onboarding process, rather than act as a last-minute addition once everything else is finalised.

Without proper and rigorous reference checking, you will reduce the trust and integrity of your company’s recruitment process and could well be caught out by unscrupulous candidates.

Simon Houlton says: “A robust checking process is vital in this day and age to ensure applicants are who they say they are and have the experience and qualifications they claim to have. Weeding out unsuitable candidates at an early stage minimises the risk of adverse publicity, saves on re-recruiting, training costs and potential tribunal costs further down the line.”

Keeping your reference checking in-house will also ensure you can stay in control of the process. I Screen You Screen are committed to ensuring all files are completed correctly and are fully-compliant, with a database of over 100,000 employers’ contact details.

The software sends out automatic emails, chases responses from employers and saves a great deal of time and money for recruiters and HR departments.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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