Fired and Hired

by Evil HR Lady on October 2, 2008

I’ve had interviews with a prospective employer and multiple discussions over the last month. The prospective employer said they would have an offer to me tomorrow (Thursday) 10/2. I was terminated today (Wednesday) from my current employer (entire career /work history is with this employer, over 10 years) Do I need to make the prospective employer aware of my termination or just sit tight? Do prospective employers ever do reference checks after they’ve hired to verify positions, or dates of employment? Please help as I am in a panic right now and don’t know what to do.

Have they already done the reference check on you? If so, it probably doesn’t matter. They are extremely unlikely to do a second check. If not, it might.

I wouldn’t panic, though. Get the offer letter. If it says in it that it’s contingent on a reference check then mention to the recruiter that today was your last day with your former company and you are eager to start at their company. If the termination was something other than a position elimination (performance or cause) and there is any chance of them calling your old company for a reference, explain. Usually a good explanation is one that doesn’t make your previous company sound bad. “My boss was a jerk who couldn’t see that I was a genius” is a bad explanation. “My boss wanted to take the department this way and I think we should go that way, which is in accordance with [new company] and so the timing couldn’t be better” is a better explanation.

If you were fired for stealing copy paper and toner from the supply closet, well then you’re on your own.

Getting fired is not the end of the world. It’s extremely common. EXTREMELY common for someone to have a lost job in their past. Yours seemed to have hit at the perfect time. I hope everything goes through with your new job.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous October 2, 2008 at 2:29 am

It is ridiculous that someone has to worry so about the timing of their job termination. What we need to start worrying about are the lack of job rights in this country. “Termination upon demand” is a cheap and unethical business practice that goes on in this country. If there is some office politics like one non-smoker complaining about doing work for some of the professional smokers than she can be on the “reduced hours” list in short order. There are no rights in America as long as there is no honest working union to help protect the workers.

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Lance October 2, 2008 at 4:45 am

@EHRL – Received this exact e-mail in my inbox this afternoon. I just want to know who he/she e-mailed first :)

@Anonymous – I will say that termination on demand is as fair as quit on demand. It should go both ways. If you don’t like your job, should you have to stay for a month or until they find someone? If you don’t like an employee, should we have to wait until you decide to move on? I think neither is better or worse but there should be equal terms for both parties.

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Evil HR Lady October 2, 2008 at 12:15 pm

lance–probably you. Your advice is better. And I bet HR Wench and Ask a Manager got it too. But, she seemed genuinely stressed out and I was avoiding my dinner dishes, so I answered. (Hint: if you want your question answered, hit me when I should be cleaning.)

Anonymous–Long live employment at will. Without it, you get super high unemployment. No one wants to hire someone that they can’t fire. I do think that companies should offer severance whenever the termination isn’t for cause–stealing, for example. However, I do not think severance should be mandated by law.

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Anonymous October 2, 2008 at 8:09 pm

As an Evil disciple from the UK, I have to pick up on the employment at will comments. UK employers have to go through very specific processes to fire someone (and it has to be for one of several specific reasons: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1797) – so it can be a nightmare to get rid of someone. However, it doesn’t lead to high unemployment: the UK has low unemployment, and although that’s probably about to change, I think stupid bankers are rather more to blame for that than lack of employment at will. As much as I agree with EHRL’s views normally, I think this one is a red herring. Having said that, there are times that I am incredibly jealous of your lack of employee protection!

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jaded hr rep October 3, 2008 at 2:00 pm

As someone who’s had to deal with long, drawn-out processes in terminating overseas (read: non-US) employees, I give thanks everyday we have employment-at-will. These are not managers firing employees on a whim; we’re talking egregiously bad behavior (involving theft or serious misconduct) and we still have to pay employees to leave upon getting the ok to fire them. Ridiculous!

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People Wise October 6, 2008 at 2:06 pm

To OP:

I think that being terminated while on the verge of getting another position is very easy to explain…Just say that they found out you were interviewing and terminated you.

In my experience (as a recruiter and as an applicant) employment verification usually only covers your dates of employment, title, and salary. If you were honest about those there is nothing to worry about. A former employer will usually not tell someone the reason you were fired other than maybe to say whether or not you are eligible for rehire…which, in this situation is again easily explained.

Don’t sweat the small stuff and good luck with your new position!!!!

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Anonymous October 8, 2008 at 7:42 pm

From the person that started this thread, I did let them know I was let go via email, kept it short and sweet, also provided additional references. The sent me an email today asking that I take an online aptitude assesment test :)

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Corey J Feldman October 28, 2008 at 2:19 pm

@anonymous Not everyone is a fit for every job and there is no way to know that in an interview. As long as someone is not being fired based on their race, gender, religion, etc. there is no reason to keep an employee who is not working out. Just like there is no reason anyone should have to continue working at a place where they aren’t happy. This probably won’t make me popular with my liberal brethren, but I see no purpose to unions in today’s world. They do little more than serve their own powerbase. In a Union environment you live and die by seniority, personally I think this country is better served if hard work, initiative and talent carry more weight than the number of times an employee has punched a clock.

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