A quick word about Hiring and Firing |

A quick word about Hiring and Firing

Everyone, and I mean everyone, thinks they are good at hiring. We are not. We fool ourselves.

It turns out that is really hard to size up how an individual will perform in your company culture. Your favorite recruiter can help with guidance, but it really comes down to the in-person interviews at your company.


We fool ourselves. We overestimate our ability to assess fit in the interview. We think that we can choose the best individual and pass on the others. For some reason, we all think that we have cracked the code on interviewing because: 

  • we may have a special pet question,
  • we have a questioning line to trap the candidate,
  • we depend on the “interview team” for a collective consensus review (bad idea),
  • we weigh the candidate’s references (which are useless), or
  • we have alot of experience with interviewing.


Let’s finally admit that we are terrible at hiring and focus on the area that can make a bigger impact – FIRING.

Jack Welch just died. Whether you like “Neutron’ Jack or not, his firing philosophy helped GE outperform the competition for decades. Jack’s firing philosophy was to cut the bottom 10% of employees each year, every year, even in healthy growing companies. Brutal, but effective.

We can all become experts at FIRING but not experts at HIRING. Let’s all get better at FIRING. 

Hiring is guessing.  

Firing is knowing. 

When HIRING, you really don’t know the person. When FIRING, you really really know your employee who is being asked to leave. 

A Few Firing Tips

Let me share a few firing tips that are useful so you can be an expert. Assumption: the individual is under-performing and he/she has been formally warned.

  • Schedule your exit meeting at the end of the day. 
  • Book a quiet meeting room where you are unlikely to bump into others.
  • Tell the individual within the first 30 seconds of the exit meeting. 
  • Keep it short (15 minutes max).
  • Use candor.  Tell the individual why he/she is being let go and don’t make ANY excuses.  
  • Make sure you follow all the HR rules and procedures. Have a witness in the room with you (a 3rd person), usualy an HR representative.
  • Be compassionate and give generous severance. The real reason:  All of the surviving employees will be watching very closely how you treat the exiting employee.