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My First Job & Why I Got Sacked - Mistakes Made and Lessons Learnt

Published 27 Apr 2017 by Saadia Choudry, CANDDi
Read this in about 5 minutes

CANDDi are hiring! We’re expanding our sales team and I’m spending all my time focusing on recruiting - CANDDi is an amazing company to work for and we’ve got a fantastic culture which I’m incredibly protective we’re being very picky on who we offer the job to.


Through trial and error, we’ve come to the conclusion that hiring graduates works brilliantly for us and speaking to so many recently, got me thinking reminiscing about my first graduate job 11 years ago (wow, I feel old) and how I lasted 3 weeks before I got very gently fired. Read on to find out what happened and what I learnt! :)

Although I work my arse off at CANDDi, I’ve not always been the best at ‘applying myself’ and pretty much coasted through school, college and uni. I was always being told how much better I could do if I just applied myself - I wasn’t very academic and I scraped through…I was smart but had a crap work ethic. Whilst at Uni I’d worked part-time at Kurt Geiger selling ridiculously beautiful shoes, but my experience of working in an office was limited to a week of filing when I was 15 (read about work experience CANDDi style here) so I didn’t really know what to expect.

I found my first job via this Grad Careers Fair (coincidentally, we’ll have a stand there this year), I was invited to an assessment day and out of approximately 25 other grads, myself and another guy got the job - yay! It was a telephone based role at a recruitment company as a ‘candidate manager’ speaking with jobseekers and finding out what their requirements were, and then filtering them through to the recruitment consultant.

Here’s why I got fired, and why I’d fire me too!

I was immature

My mistake - I didn’t realise how different being at uni would be to ‘being a grown up’. My colleagues were lovely and appeared to be quite relaxed and would regularly have a laugh - but rather than seeing that 99% of the time they were working their arses off, I just saw the fact that they were joking around and I was busy enjoying the banter. I hadn’t earnt my stripes or delivered anything yet and rather than knuckling down and grafting, I thought it was OK to just join in with the chats and have a giggle.

What I learnt - No matter how nice the office environment is, you’re being paid to do a job - and you need to earn your salary…as silly as it sounds, I don’t think it had occurred to me that my pay was coming from somewhere - and if I wasn’t delivering, I was just draining money from the company.

I didn’t focus on the objectives of the role

My mistake - My job was to filter through good candidates to the recruitment consultant by speaking with candidates and finding out what their experience was, what they were after in their next role, and go through a series of questions. Essentially it was going through a form but trying to do it as conversationally (is that a word?) as possible. I had some training and was given the contact details of the candidates, a form, and a telephone. If someone was chatty on the phone I’d be so grateful that I’d chat and chat and chat, my talktime would be amazing, but I wasn’t delivering any results. And then I’d see this, and get frustrated and spend ages doing anything but pick up the phone…sorting the data, researching websites, anything that would avoid ringing someone.

What I learnt - I probably didn’t listen to the guidance I was being given, or even if I tried to apply it…I wasn’t doing it consistently. If I did get a success I’d then go and make a brew or just waste time, rather than using the positive momentum to get more results. I wasn’t even anticipating that I’d get sacked (how naive!) so there wasn’t any urgency to deliver.

My work ethic was rubbish

My mistake - I was still in Uni mode and thought that I’d be able to get away with doing the bare minimum and have the bonus of getting paid too! Although I didn’t turn up late or have a bad attitude…I wasn’t working nearly as hard as I should have been, or was expected of me. I didn’t have sense of urgency and didn’t properly understand the pressure my colleagues were under.

What I learnt - There is nowhere to hide at work. You don’t get away with not delivering, you are literally costing the company money, and they need to see a return on investment - or at least to see you’re putting your all in. And if you do work hard and are putting in tonnes of effort, they’ll invest right back into your development too. But if you don’t, it’s probably just a matter of time before you get sacked - like I did!

Needless to say, when I started my next job I had pulled my socks up and was definitely ‘work ready’ and it’s important to mention that I’ve never been sacked from a job since….yet :) That whole experience gave me the shake up I sorely needed, and dealing with a lot of University Interns and Graduates here at CANDDi, I see a lot of young people who are probably going to through a similar thing in their first jobs too…I’m hoping reading this will help some avoid that!

Good luck! :)


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