Management Interview Question: Have You Ever Fired Someone (If No)?
In the last QA post, we discussed how to answer management interview questions about firing people if you have fired someone before. Today we will look at what to say if you have never fired someone before. Firing people is going to be a part of your job, so you should expect to be asked about your ability to lay people off, either with or without cause.
How to Answer
The answer is very similar, except rather than discuss why it needed to be done, focus on why you believe you can do it. Again, make sure you do not sound like you will enjoy it or will find no fault with it. Firing people should never sound easy to you.
“No, I haven’t fired anyone before, but I don’t think I’d have any problem with it. If they need to be fired they need to be fired.”
“No, I have not. Yet I recognize the importance of putting the needs of the company ahead of my own, and while I do not expect to enjoy the process, I am confident that I can execute it for the good of the company.”
Here you show some confidence, which is always necessary, but for obvious reasons you don’t want to brag about how great of a firer you would be. The assumption has to be that it is hard for you but you will do it anyway. Unless prompted, there is no reason to go into any additional detail.
You can also parcel out your answer to explain certain situations, especially if the interviewer wants you to expand. Like so:
“If I must let someone go for cause, then there is sufficient reason to justify letting them go. If I must let someone go due to company cutbacks, then the layoffs must be made for the sake of the company. Either way, while it will always be difficult to cause an individual unemployment, the company’s viability in the short and long term is vital.”
Take Away Interview Tips
- The good of the company is more important than your own happiness.
- You won’t enjoy it.