Have you ever had to fire or lay off a member of your staff?

  | James Innes

Have you ever had to fire or lay off a member of your staff?

Alternative and related questions:

Are you able to make difficult decisions and tough choices?

The meaning behind the question:

This question is clearly related to the question we covered in the previous chapter, "Are you able to make difficult decisions and tough choices?"  The interviewer wants to establish if you've ever had to make a difficult decision of this nature and, if so, how you handled it and how you felt about it or, if not, how you would feel about it.  The chances are that the role for which you're applying may require you to handle such situations in the future.

Your answer:

If you have had to perform this inevitably unpleasant task then a simple 'Yes' definitely won't suffice.  The interviewer will want you to describe the situation in detail and how you handled it.  I'd suggest you refer back to the example I gave in the previous chapter under Question 6.  That should help to give you some ideas to formulate your answer.

If, on the other hand, you've never had to fire or lay off a member of staff then your answer could, of course, just be a simple 'No'.  But I'd suggest you follow that up by demonstrating that you would be capable of doing so if it were necessary.


No.  But, although I've never had to do this in the past, I'm not one to shy away from my responsibilities and I fully recognise that such decisions do need to be made from time to time.  It's not a task I'd take lightly, of course.  But, if it came to it, I'd be quite capable of handling the situation and ensuring I complied with the necessary procedures and legislation.

The Interview Question & Answer Book

The Interview Question and Answer Book

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