Please Tell Me About a Time You Had to Fire a Friend

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Questions such as ‘Please tell me about a time you had to fire a friend’ is a type of behavioral interview question. Depending on the interviewer- he or she may also phrase the question above as ‘Have you ever had to discipline a close friend or family member at work?’ These behavioral questions can be intimidating if you do not have an effective method for answering them.

Behavioral questions are used by interviewers to gain a better understanding of your personality and approach to issues. The majority of these questions will focus on hypothetical or past situations- and they do not have a right or wrong answer. Conversely- traditional interview questions such as ‘How many jobs have you had during the course of your career-‘ usually have direct and concrete answers. Fortunately for jobseekers- the STAR method will help you answer with ease.

The STAR method involves using a three-step process to answer the question. This method is relatively easy to employ- and it will help you answer every part of the question. If you are faced with the question above- the tips below will show you how to answer it using the STAR approach.

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How to Answer the ‘Please Tell Me About a Time You Had to Fire a Friend’ Behavioral Interview Question

Show Compassion: Firing a friend- or anyone for that matter- is not an easy process. The interviewer is attempting to gauge whether or not you can separate the personal from the professional- but he or she is also looking to see if you take the feelings of others into consideration. For example- if you answer that your friend was five minutes late for work one day and that you fired them on the spot in front of everyone when they arrived- you will seem cold and unfriendly. No one wants to hire this type of worker- and a significant amount of your professional success will depend on whether or not you can get along with others. Be honest. Show that you remained professional but also convey that you care about the feelings of others.

Explain Your Reasoning: The majority of employers will want to hear your reasons behind suggesting termination. They also want to know that you went about firing your friend in a professional manner. In short- be sure that you discuss your reasons and provide details about your friend’s performance or behavior that supports your decision. Discuss topics such as your friend’s constant lateness- a decrease in the quality of his or her work- or your friend’s inability to follow the company’s rules. Show the interviewer that you take the time to learn the rules and that you are not afraid to enforce them.

Discuss the Outcome: Undoubtedly- the interviewer will want to know how you and your friend handled such an awkward situation. They don’t necessarily want an update on your friendship- just a brief description of what happened after you delivered the news. Be sure to state that you pulled your friend aside and that you were very understanding throughout the process. This will present that you possess courtesy and professionalism- and the interviewer won’t have to worry about you firing subordinates in a manner that degrades or humiliates them. This is an important part of assuming a supervisory position- and if you are too iron-fisted- the interviewer may hesitate to hire you.

Use the STAR Method: STAR stands for situation- task- action- and result. This method is used by jobseekers in the event that they are asked a behavioral question. The method consists of the following steps:

  • 1.Choose a detailed situation or task to reference.
  • 2.Describe the actions that you and other individuals involved took.
  • 3.Discuss the overall results of your actions.

STAR was created to ensure that interviewees provide comprehensive, detailed, and professional answers to difficult behavioral interview questions. The method also ensures that your interviewer develops a detailed picture of the situation you elected to discuss.

Sample ‘Please Tell Me About a Time You Had to Fire a Friend’ STAR Interview Answer

At my last job as a call center supervisor, one of my closest friends was hired as a representative. There were several issues from the start, but the vast majority of people make frequent mistakes when they first enter such a fast-paced industry, so I decided to be fair. He would frequently put callers on hold, and many callers complained that he did not provide them with the information they needed. My friend also had a habit of arriving late and leaving early, while everyone else completed their shifts. After being written up by another manager two times, my friend skipped out on a mandatory training session, and I was forced to terminate him. It was a difficult moment between us, but in the end, he realized that maybe he needed to consider finding employment in another industry.

The answer above is a perfect example of an individual’s utilization of the STAR method. By giving a full explanation that covers all your bases, you can adequately answer most behavioral interview questions.

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