Big Mistakes That Get You Fired Your First 90 Days of Employment

interview mistakes that cost you the job

If you’re going to get fired from a company, it’s most likely to happen in the first 90 days. Why? Here’s are real life mistakes that, as medical recruiters, we have seen made by new employees that got them fired from their new job.

Companies take hiring and training new employees very seriously for a few reasons. Open positions need to be filled to keep operations and sales from decreasing. Newly created positions take the burden off over worked employees and departments. It has also become costly to hire.

Per Business Week, top companies spend on average of $5,380 per hire to onboard new employees.  That being said, it is also extremely common for employers to establish the first thirty, sixty, or ninety days as a probationary period and take that review period seriously.

Employers do this to set the expectation that, although hired, the employee is still under review. Per in nearly all states, the default rule is that employees work at will. This means that your boss can fire you at any time, for any reason, that is not illegal (for example, due to race or gender discrimination). Likewise, you have the right to quit at any time, for any reason.

So what can a new employee possibly do that will get them fired, considering employers have already spent time and money on them?

Here are our top ways to get fired your first 90 days.

Drink too much at training

I wish I was making this up, but as recruiters we have actually had this happen a few times. Often during the first 90 days employees are sent to training at the corporate office or at offsite locations. The trainings are typically mixed with long days of training, dinners and some fun. A sure way to lose your job is to get drunk at one of these trainings. Even if alcohol is served, training events are not a frat party.

In a recent survey by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), 501 Human Resources professionals were asked how drinking is viewed in their organization across a range of work-related activities. HR professionals reported that drinking is acceptable:

  • 70%: at a holiday party,
  • 40%: at a meal with a client or customer,
  • 32%: at a retirement party,
  • 28%: at the celebration of a company milestone,
  • 22%: at a meal with a coworker,
  • 4%: at a meal during a job interview, and
  • 14%: never.

When you look at these statistics keep in mind new employees do not have a track record of success with the organization and your behavior will be scrutinized. Do not give your new boss any reason to regret their decision to hire you and keep the alcohol intake to a minimum.

Get too casual with attire

There have been articles written about how to dress for success and everyone knows, or should know, how to dress appropriately for an interview. Most people also know how to dress at corporate functions and corporate meetings. If you are not sure ask your hiring manager what the attire is for the meeting, most are business casual. That means do not show up to a corporate meeting wearing your baggy jeans and your baseball hat on backwards.

We just got a phone call from a hiring manager disappointed about the lack of common sense of one of our recent hires still under a 90 day review. The feedback was he looked like he was going to a football game tail gate party, not a national sales training. He just earned one strike against him after 2 weeks on the job.

Play Pokeman

This is no joke. We recently had a sale person get admonished at a national sales training for playing Pokeman. What would ever possess a person to think it was ok to play a video game at a sales training? Even if you have down time and love playing computer games, refrain. Playing Pokeman is considered to be childish by most adults, probably because most people played as a child. Do not give the hiring manager any reason to think you are not a mature and results driven person. Refrain from computer games at any work event.

Get too friendly with management

The first 90 days of employment are your chance to show your hiring manager they made the right decision in hiring you. The way to do that is to make a positive impact at your job by working hard, acting professional and impressing your co-workers. This does not mean trying to take short cuts and buddying up with the boss.

This is a good way to alienate your co-workers and give your boss a poor impression. Many people develop a respectful and mutual friendship with hiring managers, but forcing the friendship may leave the manager wondering about your priorities. Absolutely do not call your manager to chit chat, buy them a drink at a training meeting, or ask them too many personal questions. These are all things that we have seen happen that leaves a new boss wondering if they made the right decision hiring you.

The first 90 days of a new role can determine your success or failure at your new job.  Initial impressions are crucial since perceptions are made quickly and, once formed, they typically stick. So learn from the mistakes of  employees who got fired the first 90 days: do not drink too much, dress inappropriately, get too friendly with managements or play video games at a training!


Lisa Manley has been a recruiter for leading biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device companies.



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