Would you even consider a candidate who was terminated?

  1. 0
    I have a good friend who wanted me to ask this question for her (she does not want to post under her own AN screen name).

    My friend has been a nurse for 15 years, much of it in outpatient settings; she has some hospital background, about a year, from years ago (and left that job due to the impossible workload with a 1:8 ratio on stepdown). Later she worked at a clinic for several years and did well, however, family obligations caused her to quit this job. Since then, she has had a difficult time finding employment, in part due to the economy and because many employers (e.g., outpt clinics) no longer hire RNs. Ultimately, she accepted a PRN position on a med/surg floor; unfortunately, she received a very poor orientation and hospital nursing had changed considerably in over a decade. All told, she was unable to just "jump into" the position as a PRN nurse should be able to and had a lot of OT due to after shift charting. Because she had few available shifts (e.g., 8 hours one week, 4 hours the next) she was never able to develop a routine and improve her speed. One day, the manager took her off the schedule and told her that she didn't need her anymore and said that although she was a good nurse, she was not a good fit for this floor.

    My friend was never written up, no warnings were given, neither verbal nor written. She did not receive a termination letter nor did she send a resignation letter (probably should have, but she was too taken aback to think about that at the time). Due to a strict "HR only" reference policy, she has not been able to get in touch with her former manager for answers. HR told her she was eligible for rehire with the hospital.

    It's been several months and my friend has not made it as far as an interview. Every application seems to ask "Have you ever been terminated?" and "Reason for leaving". My friend is not sure if this was a termination, but assumes it was; did honesty sabotage her? She would write "Would like to explain in an interview", but was never called for one.

    Is her career in nursing over? Is honesty wrong? Is "would like to explain..." a bad answer? Should she omit this job (although it's a small town, and nurses know nurses), which she does not want to do; should she lie ("No") and later correct this in the interview? Or not correct it and hope no one ever finds out? (Not too long ago a Reader's Digest article - "What HR won't tell you" - stated that you should never admit to having been terminated because you would never be considered for a job. Is this true?!)

    I would appreciate any insight from managers or HR staff. Thank you very much from my very discouraged friend.
    Last edit by DeLana_RN on Sep 30, '11
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  3. 15 Comments so far...

  4. 4
    Yes I would. I am very aware that most of the time people are not terminated for good cause. I would at least hear the person out.
    fiveofpeep, VivaRN, VivaLasViejas, and 1 other like this.
  5. 2
    It doesn't sound like she was terminated so why would she put this? Under "reason for leaving" I would put "wanted a change" and she can explain it when she gets to the interview. Being terminated is a red flag and it doesn't sound like she was, if she was eligible for rehire.

    Budgets now are tight with the economy; it could be that there are only a few vacancies and a huge pool of applicants. But yes, saying you've been terminated is a red flag, I wouldn't even consider the application if there were other qualified candidates.

    Quote from DeLana_RN
    I have a good friend who wanted me to ask this question for her (she does not want to post under her own AN screen name).

    My friend has been a nurse for 15 years, much of it in outpatient settings; she has some hospital background, about a year, from years ago (and left that job due to the impossible workload with a 1:8 ratio on stepdown). Later she worked at a clinic for several years and did well, however, family obligations caused her to quit this job. Since then, she has had a difficult time finding employment, in part due to the economy and because many employers (e.g., outpt clinics) no longer hire RNs. Ultimately, she accepted a PRN position on a med/surg floor; unfortunately, she received a very poor orientation and hospital nursing had changed considerably in over a decade. All told, she was unable to just "jump into" the position as a PRN nurse should be able to and had a lot of OT due to after shift charting. Because she had few available shifts (e.g., 8 hours one week, 4 hours the next) she was never able to develop a routine and improve her speed. One day, the manager took her off the schedule and told her that she didn't need her anymore and said that although she was a good nurse, she was not a good fit for this floor.

    My friend was never written up, no warnings were given, neither verbal nor written. She did not receive a termination letter nor did she send a resignation letter (probably should have, but she was too taken aback to think about that at the time). Due to a strict "HR only" reference policy, she has not been able to get in touch with her former manager for answers. HR told her she was eligible for rehire with the hospital.

    It's been several months and my friend has not made it as far as an interview. Every application seems to ask "Have you ever been terminated?" and "Reason for leaving". My friend is not sure if this was a termination, but assumes it was; did honesty sabotage her? She would write "Would like to explain in an interview", but was never called for one.

    Is her career in nursing over? Is honesty wrong? Is "would like to explain..." a bad answer? Should she omit this job (although it's a small town, and nurses know nurses), which she does not want to do; should she lie ("No") and later correct this in the interview? Or not correct it and hope no one ever finds out? (Not too long ago a Reader's Digest article - "What HR won't tell you" - stated that you should never admit to having been terminated because you would never be considered for a job. Is this true?!)

    I would appreciate any insight from managers or HR staff. Thank you very much from my very discouraged friend.
    canoehead and DeLana_RN like this.
  6. 3
    I hire for my facility and I would consider a nurse who had been terminated depending on the circumstances. That being said, in almost all instances only dates of employment, and separation, and job title can be give to those who call for a reference.
    Your friend was prn, she should simply say there wasn't enough work, and she decided to look elsewhere.
    kcmylorn, BabaLouRN, and DeLana_RN like this.
  7. 3
    I have hired nurses and aides who were fired before. I myself have been fired before, so why wouldn't I give someone else a chance? It all depends on the circumstances under which the person lost their job and their attitude toward their former employer, but I have never summarily discounted an applicant for having a blot on their employment record from a termination.
    donsterRN, VivaRN, and DeLana_RN like this.
  8. 1
    Agree with Viva.

    But the RN at issue here simply wasn't terminated IMO.
    DeLana_RN likes this.
  9. 0
    Would you hiring managers consider the "terminated" situation different if you saw that the applicant had worked several jobs since their termination? Personally, I would think that if other employers hired the applicant since the termination and everything went well, then the termination was probably not justifiable. What do you guys think?
  10. 1
    I agree that this nurse was not terminated or fired. If the hospital policy is to have all references go through HR then all that HR will likely say is that she is eligible for rehire - and confirm the dates of employment and position held. They will not give a reason for separation from employment, too risky! As previously posted she should say she was looking for a change, or desiring more hours, a benfitted position or something like that.

    Perhaps a bedside nursing refresher course would look good on her resume and help her confidence?? Just a thought.
    DeLana_RN likes this.
  11. 1
    Unless she is specifically listing "Got Fired & the reason behind it" on the application--It might just be the economy.. We dont even check references until after weve interviewed the candidate and put forth an offer..
    DeLana_RN likes this.
  12. 0
    I think she should peruse a refresher course and explain that her last job was not a good fit because she recognized her own need to refresh her skills in order to perform at a higher level. She should contact HR and find out her status. Since she wad PRN there was no obligation in her employers behalf to give her hours. But also since she had been working, she may have been eligible for "under employment benefits". So they would likely have termed her employment later stating that she had not given her availability. If that is the case, then she could put no down on her app when applying and simply use the same reason for leaving or whatever she wanted. I suggest that you never lie on an application because you set yourself up to be fired later if you do. Most apps actually have a clause stating that lying will be terms for immediate termination and some companies will do that. I have been fired before and have never lied about it. You just need to be honest and do a great interview. The reason you were fired means a lot more than the fact that you were.


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