Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

How Do I Video Interview…Recently Fired Job Seekers?

Every candidate comes with their own set of unique interviewing challenges. That’s why we’re tackling how to video interview different types of job seekers with this how to series. Today we’ll be talking about how to connect with a recently fired job seeker in the video interview. Is this job seeker all wrong for your position because another company cut them loose? Or are they exactly the talent your company needs?

In today’s tough economic landscape, where 7.9 percent of Americans are currently unemployed, there are more candidates than ever before hitting the job search after a firing. While companies may traditionally shy away from fired candidates, this practice could result in losing out on the talent you need to move your company forward and improve your corporate culture.

So how can you tell the difference in the video interview between a fired job seeker who will fit like a glove into your corporate culture and a fired job seeker who will be nothing but trouble? It all comes down to how your candidate answers the big question: Why were you fired?

Here are some things to look for when your job seeker answers this big question in the video interview:

Good Candidate: Explains Honestly and Clearly
You want to know the truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to why your candidate was cut loose from their last position. Candidates who try to duck the question aren’t the kind of honest job seekers who will become employees with integrity. You want candidates who impress you with their ability to quickly, clearly, and honestly answer why they were given a pink slip.

To ensure the candidate is being honest with you in the video interview, you’ll probably want to do a little follow-up. If the candidate has authorized you to call their last place of employment, give them a ring and see if you can confirm the story. If you’re able to confirm the two stories match, then your candidate will likely be an honest and reliable worker.

Bad Candidate: Blames Others
You want a candidate who will blend seamlessly into your corporate culture and bring value to your organization. Job seekers who use the video interview as an outlet to shift blame for their firing onto others likely aren’t very good team players.

You need someone in your organization who will work well with others and take responsibility for their own actions. If your job seeker can’t own their behavior, hiring them is a good way to ruin your hard-won corporate culture.

Good Candidate: Explains What They’ve Learned
Every storm cloud comes with a silver lining, and good employees can learn from even their biggest mistakes. If your candidate sees their firing as a learning opportunity and potential for growth, this is a good sign.

In the workplace, everyone is bound to make a few mistakes. What separates good and bad employees is the ability to learn from these errors so they’re not repeated again.

Bad Candidate: Is Defensive
Being fired is tough on any candidate, but you want employees ready to move forward and grow in their careers. Candidates who are overly defensive about their firing have clearly not moved on from this slight. More importantly, they’re unable to take responsibility for their own actions. You need a job seeker ready to move on to the next big career challenge, not someone stuck in the past.

Before hiring a recently fired candidate, use the video interview to determine whether this candidate has learned from the experience and whether they will have a positive or negative impact on your corporate culture. Being fired isn’t the end of the world, and it shouldn’t be the end of the line for talented job seekers interested in your open positions.

What are some ways you evaluate recently fired job seekers in the video interview? Share in the comments!

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Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is the Career & Recruiting Advisor for Spark Hire. She writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets, and is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010).