Can you be Re-hired after Being Fired? What role do Human Resource Officers play in Re-hiring?

Being re-hired after being fired is an interesting discussion that pops up every now and then in bars (and homes), around the world. There are a lot of different scenarios that can play out. However, depending on the industry, if you are re-hired you will most likely be going back with a different salary (maybe less?), and under a different set of conditions.

A couple of general scenarios.

If a company is undergoing a restructure it will have a re-hire policy, that will include new terms of employment and a new wages structure.
Often this comes about if the company has been having trouble negotiating a new agreement with unions, some serious disruption to the productive performance within the company, or economic conditions.

Other times it can be the company outsourcing its work to other companies to reduce its liabilities.

In these circumstances, an employee may be terminated, receive a redundancy, then be re-employed (should he choose to be), by the company the work has been outsourced to.

So, sacked one day, then back doing the same job a few weeks later.

Under a different set of conditions and wages.

When Being Re-Hired is next to Impossible.

An image of two silhouetted men arguing, used in the article Can you be Re-hired after Being Fired?

It is quicker to make a list. Take a look.

  • Gross misconduct. This could be sexual misconduct, stealing, drug use, or other criminal activities.
  • Violence, or Abuse. There are exceptions made sometimes If you undergo an anger management program.
  • Screwing up. You might get away with it Once. Twice will be a reprimand and demotion. Three times you will most likely be shown the door. Some companies have training programs you may have to redo.
  • Absenteeism, poor work performance, generally being slack, and showing little interest in the job.
  • Anything that brings the company into disrepute. Spreading rumors or bad-mouthing the company in public. This is usually instant dismissal.

Being fired for any of the above leaves behind a track record that makes it hard to impossible for you to be re-employed by the same company.

Not only that, but the Human Resource officer will add your file to a database.

This does not mean that others have the right to access it without it being subjected to privacy provisions.

If you were fired for reasons of violence or criminal behavior then your former employer is obliged to make this known in the interests of workplace health and safety.

However, no termination can deprive you of the right to sell your labor.

What Role does a Human Resource Officer Play in Firing People?

Essentially not that much.

Unlike hiring where they comb through the background of a candidate’s suitability for a position. Asking probing questions and checking references.

When it comes to firing they are little more than the messenger.

Doing management’s dirty work you might say.

Some behavior in the workplace allows for instant dismissal.

This can be done by the supervisor and there is very little the employee can do about it.

In those instances, HR just follows up with correspondence explaining why, and payroll finalizes the pay packet.

Fighting for instance is one of those. Both combatants are liable to be sacked on the spot.

Fighting may not be enough to stop them or perhaps just one of them (there is usually a favorite), from seeking re-employment at a later date, say 3 -6 months after they have been terminated.

It will largely depend on their work performance leading up to the sacking, and what they have done to correct that behavior.


The complaints will come to HR’s attention via a supervisor.

The human resource officer will ask for more detail from the supervisor and follow up with the employee.

The rules in many countries give an employee the right to participate in a dispute resolution process.

Many employees think this is stacked against them and will escalate their dismissal further by seeking a court hearing.

This varies from country to country. It is not necessarily held in a court of law unless there is a claim for damages.

Some countries do not allow lawyers to act on behalf of the plaintiff in unfair dismissal cases.

However, the aggrieved person may enlist the services of an independent Human Resources consultant, who can source your records from the company, study the company policies, and give an unbiased opinion as to whether or not there is a chance of reinstatement.

For people who win reinstatement, and receive back pay and reinstatement of their benefits, the outcome is recorded and becomes a huge red flag should they apply for a job elsewhere.

How to get Re-hired after being Terminated.

A screenshot of an employment application showing a hand holding a pen about to fill in a section of it. Used in the article Can you be Re-hired after Being Fired?
Ticking boxes.

Companies may have explicit policies when re-hiring terminated employees or, it could be a subjective process.

As mentioned above it depends on the circumstances of the termination.

However, there is no guarantee and no obligation to rehire an employee regardless of the time elapsed.

Some people have long memories.

Outside of a wrongful dismissal case, and assuming there is no animosity, there are steps a person can take if they want to go back and work for a previous employer.

Even if you were not on the best terms when you left.

Here are four.

1. Include new References.

Think of people who can add value to your application.

People who can highlight the qualities required for the position you want back.

These could be from people you know or, who you have been employed by since being dismissed from your previous employer.

2. Feature any Additional Skills you have Acquired

Additional skills always make a human resource officer take notice.

You should be able to access your previous KPI reports or work assessments and undertake courses that will improve your skill set in areas you didn’t score well at.

I will add some resources below.

3. Understand the Company’s Re-Hire Process.

You will need to balance this against the reason you were let go in the first place.

If your previous position has since been filled there may be other openings within the organization you can apply for.

Combined with updated skillsets, previous experience, and new references you are giving yourself a good chance of being re-employed.

4. Understand the Role of Human Resource Officers in Re-Hiring.

An animation of a man interviewing a woman for a job. A cup of coffee is on the desk beside an open laptop. used in the article, Can you be Re-hired after Being Fired?
The interview.

If you got to the interview stage you are probably going to be feeling a little nervous entering the interview.

Human Resource officers may have the manager and section manager assisting with the interview.

So, you have to engage 3 people in conversation.

HR will have the criteria for the position firmly etched in their mind.

This may not always be obvious, so it is best to think before you speak because they will be taking notes and checking boxes.

A good knowledgeable human resources officer will also try to bring your underlying intentions to the surface.

With questions like:-

  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Don’t go into the interview prepared. Go in well-prepared!

New references, additional courses you have done, other work you have been doing.

As you enter the interview room they may remember you, if not (they may have new personnel), get on the front foot and mention you used to work there.

There is no need to mention “why” you were sacked in any interview.

But if you are re-applying to be re-employed by a former company (say one you left less than 3 or 4 years ago), you got to assume someone there remembers you.

 If you were let go for misconduct then you have to tell them or you will be discovered and immediately disqualified. Just explain that you learned from it and do not word it as “misconduct.” Just explain you had issues with performance that you learned from and leave it at that.

So take a moment and grovel with a positive attitude. “I wasn’t the best employee back then, I was still immature, you know…,” and show what you have done to make them give your application serious consideration.

This will at least give you the confidence to talk and answer any questions on a person-to-person basis rather than as a “Boss and nervous potential employee”.

Reducing the interview to a conversation level and being specific about what job role you want, are keys to opening the door for you to return.

Don’t be afraid to mention former co-workers you got along well with, who still work there.

Your understanding of the company’s culture, or any other dynamic related to your employment there.

If you are well prepared you should be relaxed and able to handle anything they throw at you.

It is after all a conversation.

Although re-applying for government roles may be more intense. Pedantic might be a better word than intense.


If you were fired for:

  • Lying
  • Illegal activities
  • Workplace violence/harassment
  • Continuous poor performance
  • Attendance issues

Unless you have had a big change of heart. It is unlikely you will be bothered to apply for re-hiring. And it is unlikely you will be hired!

If you had a change of heart it is still going to be an uphill battle.

No one is indispensable.

If you were fired for economic reasons, or the company was undergoing restructuring, you still need to put your best foot forward and show you do want your old job back, or a better position.

All the best. Remember go well prepared not just prepared.

A Couple of Resources for you.

These are relativity inexpensive and don’t take long to do.

There are numerous courses on Udemy for nearly everything:- Udemy

Understanding the role of a Human Resource Officer:- IAP Career College. This is quite in-depth.

Many of their guides and courses are used in colleges and universities across North America.

If you are interested in career development or personal development then Mind Valley will be of interest:- Mind Valley.

All the best.

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