I Fired One of My Programmers 15 Days After Hiring Them

 1 year ago
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I Fired One of My Programmers 15 Days After Hiring Them

Just don’t lie too much on your resume

Work meeting
Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash.

Firing employees is one of the hardest jobs I have faced as a CEO. We are only a company of 20-25 people and I have personal relationships with almost all of the employees, making firing any of them even harder.

From my experience with interviewing 300+ candidates, I have noticed that about 50%-60% of the interviewees lie on their resumes. Some lies are minor. I overlook most of them, though I am not sure if that’s OK or not!

I even Googled the topic and found an interesting fact: A survey from Checkster indicated that 78% of job-seekers lie during the hiring process!

I will discuss the types of lies a candidate normally includes in their resume later in this article. Right now, let’s talk about the programmer in question.

What He Lied About

I don’t conduct technical interviews directly. I was also a programmer, and I loved programming. But since I have to do so much managerial work, I had to sacrifice this wonderful job.

The programmer lied about his experience and work. He said he was an entrepreneur. That was true. However, I think the projects and references he showed weren’t his own work.

How he passed our test

He was, of course, a good programmer. He could easily fit in any junior backend developer post. But we were looking for a senior backend developer.

Our technical hiring consists of three steps:

  1. First, we short-list ten candidates for each position.
  2. Then we make them take a short test. It normally takes 10-20 minutes. After this step, we can normally cut half of them.
  3. Typically, I conduct the final interview. Besides their technical skill, I also need to see how passionate they are or whether they will fit our work culture.

In the final step, we had two excellent developers. In the test, one scored better than this programmer I hired.

I don’t know exactly how he passed the test. My best guess is, as the test was held online, he took outside help because there is no way someone could pass the test but can’t do basic tasks.

I know everyone has passion. But to be successful, you have to climb up the ladder one step at a time.

Why I Hired Him

When he passed the second step, I had an online interview with him. This step is straightforward. I just wanted to see if the candidate was a good fit for our startup.

Though he was behind one candidate in the second step, I hired him because I thought he would do better in our startup. Normally, I consider three factors when choosing a candidate:

  1. Passion
  2. Skill
  3. Company culture
Venn diagram
Venn diagram
Photo made by the author in creately.

He scored well

In the second step, he got the second-highest score on our test. So, I thought he was skilled.

I have a weak spot for entrepreneurs

He was an entrepreneur, and he was very passionate about working in another startup to gain experience.

I also thought we could use him better.

He already knew the work culture of startups

Work culture is essential for every company — especially for startups. When I hire someone, I consider this factor very seriously.

This programmer already worked and owned a startup. So, I choose him over the other guy.

Why I Fired Him

The problem started from day one, but our CTO cut him some slack. As he was new, we thought he would need some time to catch up with our project.

After three days, our CTO told me that something was not right about him. He could not do simple tasks. He did not understand the basics of our project. Even our junior programmer could do it easily.

So, we decided to give him more time.

After ten days, he was assigned a simple task with some junior developer. He couldn’t guide them and was getting uncomfortable in the office.

Junior programmers also complained about him to our CTO.

Then we started to realize he lied on his resume. We didn’t tell him this, but I think he understood.

Then after 15 days, I called him into my office and told him we had to let him go for some reason. I sensed that he actually felt relieved!

I felt bad for him and tried to help him

Though he lied and we could prove it easily but we didn’t because it was part of our fault in the hiring process and we didn’t want to disrespect him!

It was still hard for me to fire him. I tried to help him as much as possible I could. I offered him a junior developer position but it was not easy for him for self-respect. I understood that.

My CTO discussed in detail with him about his lackings and how he could improve his skills. He also gave him some good resources for improving his skills.

Now we have added another layer in the hiring process to avoid this type of event in the future.

Lying on Your Resume Can Backfire

Lying on your resume can backfire at any time. More importantly, it will ruin your reputation.

If your employers find out later, you can be fired. Why not improve your skills and apply later?

Here are some common lies programmers tell on their resume:

  • Experience — The number of years of experience. Honestly, the employer won’t mind so much if the numbers are close.
  • Previous jobs — Why they left previous jobs. Many candidates lie on this one. They think that if they tell the truth, the interviewer won’t select them. Most candidates leave their previous jobs for a better one. We, as employers, know that. We won’t judge you for chasing better opportunities. Rather, we appreciate honesty. But don’t criticize previous jobs too much, even if you had a bad experience there. The candidates who got fired rarely say this in the interview, and it’s normal. However, you can be honest here too. This might give you an extra edge.
  • References — The work references programmers give on their resumes are sometimes false. My suggestion is not to copy others' work and claim it as yours. It can get you fired!

Getting the Job Is the Goal, but Keeping a Reputation Is Also Important

Recently, two of my programmers applied for a better corporate job with a higher salary.

After they applied for the jobs and passed the initial stage, the employers called me for a background check. One of the employers knew me, and we have a very good relationship.

I gave the best recommendation I could! I also told them that they would be lucky to have these two employees. If I could give them a better salary, I wouldn’t let them go.

I did this because I liked both of them very much and they really deserved the jobs. They were very good at their jobs. They kept their reputation!

Final Thoughts

Be honest from the interview to every day at work! Honestyis something that will give you inner peace!

Don’t just be a programmer — be a good employee! Work like you own the company. When you work with your heart and soul, your company will take care of you too.

But if you think you are not enjoying working in the company, make a change! If you love your job, but you are not happy in your current workplace, the problem might not be yours.

And you don’t have to start your career as a senior programmer or even a junior programmer! If you don’t have confidence in your skill, you can start as an intern.

Don’t start your career by lying on your resume!

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