Dear Evil HR Lady,

I read your article, It’s Time to Fire the Jerks. So much easier said than done.

In a VERY small company (under 10 people) it is extremely difficult to find competent workers, even during high unemployment.  What HR advisers never seem to understand is that small companies have very different HR issues. Usually the owner is the HR manager.

If I were to fire every problem employee, at times I would be running the entire company myself. It can literally take years to find a replacement employee who has minimal competence.

The best employees rarely want to work for small companies and headhunters don’t give their best prospects to one-off clients. Therefore, I’m forced to put up with problem employees for far longer than I should.

–Struggling manager

To read the answer, click here: Why I Don’t Fire the Jerks

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7 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Fire the Jerks

  1. It is all about separating the jerks from everyone else in the workplace so that they don’t cause any unneeded distractions or interactions with other workers.

  2. My experience is owner/operator/managers of small companies trying to fill the HR role have little skill or training allowing fear & ignorance to keep problem employees.

    Train up! Lots of one day courses and plenty of internet resources to learn from.

  3. I worked a while for what is known in France as a TPE – a « Très Petite Entreprise » (very small business). Our offering was highly specialized, the market was badly underserved and yet due to the crisis (and the proliferation of independent consultants) highly competitive, so finding key technical personnel was a real challenge. Suzanne Lucas’s advice that “[i]t’s better to hire a good person with less experience than it is to hire a lousy person who is willing to accept a low salary” is spot-on, as usual, and after several serious disasters this was the conclusion we came to. I would add two things:

    1. It’s worth the time and trouble following and mentoring these rising stars very extensively for their first few months on the job.
    2. Look for graduate or soon-to-be-graduate interns who are genuinely interested in working in the field and give them realistic training and professional tasks to fill the role that you need filled (i.e., don’t ask an intern to go get coffee for the office unless this is a rotative task that everyone including the boss participates in regularly). Don’t promise to hire them at the end, but be willing to do so if they follow through well. They may not always accept, but in many cases they will jump at the chance to slide right into an entry-level position at a company at which they have completed an interesting and educational internship.

    1. Hi,
      I will echo Nicholas.

      As a young MSc graduate in the field of CS & network engineering with a mere 1 year-and-a-half actual experience (internships, apprenticeship), I am often interviewed for positions either as a manager in big companies (! – a shame I am not a better communicator yet), either as a “consulting technical personal” (i.e. no engineering task during at least one year), which I kindly declined after having discussed the position I thought could provide at least as being an entry level one (and before being told the extremely underpaid salary, it is).
      I am fed up with these unrealistic job interviews.

      As a job seeker, I stay open and keep spending time going to interviews with head hunters and ITC staffing firms (“SSII” in French) and, while still not having found a job, I learn things about what people expect, how to reach out to them, being my own advisor in communication for once.

      Head hunters – well, many are honest – do are interrested in big volumes, this is a fact. This means smaller companies are less represented, while (in my mind) representing a considerable pool of opportunities.

      Lately, I am applying for a position opening in a nearby field (specialized development, for I have basic notions about it and I feel interrested about it). The offer says “Open towards personal with knowledge in programming, JavaEE is a plus. If you are a novice, we provide you with a six months training.”
      I have been programming, mostly in Java and C/C++, for about 8 years but the training for the specific J2EE platform is welcome and this is not the real point.
      The point is: This employer seems serious about recruiting people that *actually*, functionally fit the position. There is no employer that would not want that but the way one recruits tells a tale about the way they consider HR management.
      In a word: no one wants to work with jerks.

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