Firing associates

Have you seen associates get fired? I've seen it once in four years and we're now considering doing it again. It's an exceptional situation - low IQ person, low effort, lazy, somewhat dishonest, terrible analytics, few if any strengths.

What were the circumstances in which you did it? 

Comments (43)

  • Assist. VP in PE - LBOs
Aug 12, 2022 - 4:38pm
deals1228

How did such a person get hired in the first place?

I believe there was cheating involved in the key case studies since they were all remote

Aug 15, 2022 - 9:48am
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Could you not just give him a new slightly more difficult case study (to account for the time he's been at the firm), have someone proctor him and see how he performs? If he flunks under proctoring I'd think you'd have a good data point .

Array

  • 1
Aug 15, 2022 - 8:37am
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Straight white males who come in via nepotism sometimes perform bad also.

Array

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  • 1
  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Aug 12, 2022 - 2:46pm

Seems like the low effort, lazy, dishonest is what gets people fired on top of being low IQ and terrible analytics. Usually people who are bad at the job but are likeable, work hard, strive for improvement (e.g., good people that you wish well for but are just not good at the job) don't get fired but simply clip a paycheck and non-insulting bonus for two years and then go on their merry way somewhere else.

  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
Aug 12, 2022 - 11:38pm

My UMM shop fires associates all the time, unfortunately. 

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Aug 13, 2022 - 12:10pm

After I started I found out a couple associates got fired which is why they were hiring. Honestly probably would've thought twice about taking the offer if that was the case because most places will let you ride it out until you find a gig. Our strategy is turnaround / special sits and I think it just comes with the fact that people are more sharp elbowed here. Since joining I've seen us have serious discussions about firing third parties after like a week of hiring them for simple things like not feeling they are being responsive enough. Does make me feel like if they decide they aren't going to give me a promotion that they will just fire me one day

  • VP in RE - Other
Aug 15, 2022 - 8:32am

Have seen the same. Don't spill coffee around the wrong the MD. After a certain number of firings one becomes numb to the outflow.

Aug 15, 2022 - 8:06am
CompBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I fired an associate once. Pretty rare occurrence. Was too bad because he wasn't lazy at all - just the opposite in fact, worked longer hours than any other associate by far.

I recommend that you do it alongside another senior colleague. If you are giving examples of how the person has performed poorly, which I think is appropriate, be prepared for them to offer rebuttals or ask for time to turn things around. The strategy that worked well for me was to deliver the news and if they aren't prepared to have a dialogue after hearing it (due to shock or emotions or whatever), offer to have a follow-up conversation a few hours later with more detail once they've processed the news.

From the other perspective, now that I'm doing career mentorship I've worked with a few people who have been fired from PE roles at various levels of seniority. Sometimes the termination is a big surprise (one person thought they were getting called into a meeting to get promoted) and other times it is 100% expected. If you're terminating someone, you cannot assume that they know they are underperforming … so be cautious.

And for those who have gotten terminated, in nearly every situation I'm aware of, the terminated employee has landed another PE role or in some cases an even better PE role. It isn't the end of the world to lose your job - so don't let it destroy your self esteem. I've seen a few very talented post-MBA PE professionals start to question whether PE is the right path for them after getting fired. Usually their termination is the result of misalignment with their employer's culture versus any lack of talent on their part.

CompBanker’s Career Guidance Services: https://www.rossettiadvisors.com/

  • 9
Aug 15, 2022 - 8:53am
BooBooHoo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Good comment. In my previous post, the associates who got culled in the latest series also got 'better' roles (or at least equivalent - depending on your view), but as you say - it is not the end of the world

  • Assist. VP in PE - LBOs
Aug 15, 2022 - 11:03am
CompBanker

I fired an associate once. Pretty rare occurrence. Was too bad because he wasn't lazy at all - just the opposite in fact, worked longer hours than any other associate by far.

I recommend that you do it alongside another senior colleague. If you are giving examples of how the person has performed poorly, which I think is appropriate, be prepared for them to offer rebuttals or ask for time to turn things around. The strategy that worked well for me was to deliver the news and if they aren't prepared to have a dialogue after hearing it (due to shock or emotions or whatever), offer to have a follow-up conversation a few hours later with more detail once they've processed the news.

From the other perspective, now that I'm doing career mentorship I've worked with a few people who have been fired from PE roles at various levels of seniority. Sometimes the termination is a big surprise (one person thought they were getting called into a meeting to get promoted) and other times it is 100% expected. If you're terminating someone, you cannot assume that they know they are underperforming … so be cautious.

And for those who have gotten terminated, in nearly every situation I'm aware of, the terminated employee has landed another PE role or in some cases an even better PE role. It isn't the end of the world to lose your job - so don't let it destroy your self esteem. I've seen a few very talented post-MBA PE professionals start to question whether PE is the right path for them after getting fired. Usually their termination is the result of misalignment with their employer's culture versus any lack of talent on their part.

It would be morally wrong if this person landed a better role. When I said this is the worst associate I've ever worked with, that's by some distance 

  • Associate 1 in PE - Growth
Aug 15, 2022 - 12:06pm
CompBanker

I fired an associate once. Pretty rare occurrence. Was too bad because he wasn't lazy at all - just the opposite in fact, worked longer hours than any other associate by far.

I recommend that you do it alongside another senior colleague. If you are giving examples of how the person has performed poorly, which I think is appropriate, be prepared for them to offer rebuttals or ask for time to turn things around. The strategy that worked well for me was to deliver the news and if they aren't prepared to have a dialogue after hearing it (due to shock or emotions or whatever), offer to have a follow-up conversation a few hours later with more detail once they've processed the news.

From the other perspective, now that I'm doing career mentorship I've worked with a few people who have been fired from PE roles at various levels of seniority. Sometimes the termination is a big surprise (one person thought they were getting called into a meeting to get promoted) and other times it is 100% expected. If you're terminating someone, you cannot assume that they know they are underperforming … so be cautious.

And for those who have gotten terminated, in nearly every situation I'm aware of, the terminated employee has landed another PE role or in some cases an even better PE role. It isn't the end of the world to lose your job - so don't let it destroy your self esteem. I've seen a few very talented post-MBA PE professionals start to question whether PE is the right path for them after getting fired. Usually their termination is the result of misalignment with their employer's culture versus any lack of talent on their part.

Curious for your situation CompBanker and for others that have done the firing or seen this happen, how often does the employee that is getting fired get a chance to redeem themselves through the initial conversation that you have with them that tell him/her she is getting fired? If they offer valid rebuttals and/or passionately asks for a second chance or some time to redeem themselves, would you or the firm be actually willing to give it to him/her, or the decision has been 100% firmly made and there's no chance for him/her at the end no matter what happens? 

Aug 16, 2022 - 6:04pm
CompBanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I've never seen nor heard of anyone being given a "second chance" .. ever. Once the decision is made, it is made. This is for the USA.

Note that Europe is different because once you pass the probation period, you then have notice periods and often need to put someone on a performance improvement plan before officially firing them. However, in most situations, once you're on a performance improvement plan, the decision has essentially been made except in rare circumstances.

CompBanker’s Career Guidance Services: https://www.rossettiadvisors.com/

  • 1
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 15, 2022 - 4:11pm

what was the rationale for that firing if not for lack of motivation - i.e. too many mistakes, one major mess up, etc.?

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Aug 15, 2022 - 11:11am

How many associates do y'all have? Even 1 seems out of the norm for a MM fund (not UMM, of course)

  • VP in PE - LBOs
Aug 15, 2022 - 1:53pm

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  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
Aug 16, 2022 - 8:01pm

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