So this client hired me on a contract basis via staffing agency (SA). SA recruiter interviewed me first and then contacted my references which were my previous supervisors. She said the feedback she got regarding me and my work were outstanding. Client did not interview me as the SA recruiter said they would rely on her words.

I started yesterday. VP of Finance checked me in, sat me down for a few minutes while we waited for the Controller (my supposedly boss). She sort of interviewed me with questions like "So tell me about yourself, blah blah". As soon as the Controller entered the room, our conversation ended.

The job itself was very easy, but made it difficult because the person doing it before me had a lot of mistakes in her schedules and I needed help to complete the task.

Today was no different. I had to stay late to finish helping my other coworker with his stuff.
Around 5pm, phone rang and I didn't answer as I was still at work trying to complete the schedules given to me. SA recruiter left me a message saying client said the I was not fit for the job and today was my last day....no need to come tomorrow.

I called the recruiter later and asked for an explanation. Apparently, she only got an email from the VP of Finance and nothing was said except that it was not the right fit. I asked if my boss was copied on the email, but she did not remember.

I asked her to call them tomorrow as I need an explanation why I was not the right fit. Did I make any mistake in completing the schedule? I don't think so. But if did, someone would have pointed it out.

Did I not meet a deadline? Perhaps. The schedules were due to the auditors yesterday...we got an extension today, but I still did not finish. WHY? Because I found several mistakes in the supporting documents that my predecessor did and I needed some assistance from coworkers to understand them.

So today my boss said drop what I am doing and just help my other coworker finish his stuff and that's what I did. However, there were still issues I found so we could not complete the task.

Could that be the reason for letting me go? That I did not complete, or that I was finding one too many errors Did they expect someone to just pickup another person's work without question?

What shall I do? Please advise.

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    What do you expect to achieve here ? You got fired, so I'm not sure what's left to do. – Aserre Nov 28 '18 at 9:24
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    @Aserre To learn what his mistake was, so that he will not repeat it again. Standard procedures :) – Juha Untinen Nov 28 '18 at 11:21
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    It's possible that you found some things that they didn't want you to find. Possibly they wanted someone who would rubber-stamp the paperwork so they could pass the audit. Who knows? As others say, count your blessings and move on. – shoover Nov 28 '18 at 16:41
  • You may never get a real answer, but one possibility is the VP was appalled your boss hired someone without ever talking to them - delegating all hiring decisions to an outside agency may have ticked them off. But it would not necessarily be appropriate for them to tell the agency that, so instead they dismiss you and internally decide on a new process (which your 2-day 'boss' may not be there to see). There are a thousand possibilities, and while good of you to ask them to try to get some answer, you may never get one. The informational content of this experience maybe close to 0. – BrianH Nov 28 '18 at 18:08
  • Is it possible that your skill set doesn't match what the client asked for? It isn't far fetched for an employment agency to throw the client under the bus rather than take ownership of their own error. – Myles Nov 28 '18 at 18:36

Did I not meet a deadline? Perhaps. The schedules were due to the auditors yesterday...we got an extension today, but I still did not finish. WHY? Because I found several mistakes in the supporting documents that my predecessor did and I needed some assistance from coworkers to understand them.

If I am reading this right, you were hired and on the second day you're expected to turn in very important documents to auditors? That you only had 24-48 hours to complete your first task while learning their system?

That sounds a bit bizarre to me. I would just take it up that you were hired for the wrong reasons with the wrong expectations. No need to over-analyze this and move on to your next job.

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    It's a pretty common scenario when hiring a patsy, a person designated to take the fall for problems which were created far before the person was employed. It's not the first time I've seen a person offered a job days before delivery of work that couldn't be done in days. – Edwin Buck Nov 30 '18 at 0:06
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    Yeah I have to agree that it sounds like he was the fall guy. They knew these auditors would discover these errors and so would the new hire. So they hired him to protect a friend/co-worker knowing they would tell the auditors he was the main guy then fire him and "fix" the problem. You'd never be able to prove it unless you can get ahold of the auditors but the time is better spent looking for a new job. – Dan Nov 30 '18 at 13:24

"Maybe if we pretend this never happened, it will all just go away", with apologies to Laurie Anderson.

I am not sure that I see a problem here.

Are you concerned that it will look bad on your CV? Don’t mention it – a two day gap?

Are you concerned about the staffing agency? You probably should not be, but have you discussed it with them? Perhaps the client is difficult and has a reputation of which the staffing agency is aware? If not, your story seems clear enough, and I would not be pinning any blame on you for failing to perform miracles.

At the end of the day, the staffing agency are only concerned about making money from you. If you consistently give them a bad reputation with clients then they _may_ no longer employ you (a good one wouldn’t; others may only care about making money). In which case, find yourself another agency (you may also want to ask yourself if you have been at fault (seems definitely not, in this case), and if you care to improve, but that’s up to you; there are enough contract gigs out there that you could screw up every one & never run out of work).

You don’t say if you have any previous track record with this agency. If so, they already know your worth. If not, they will either find you another gig or not. If not, forget it and move on. If so, do your normal good job and build up a reputation with them.

It is natural to worry about this sort of thing, but you are making a mountain out of a molehill. Imagine a friend was telling you this had happened to them? Would you see it as a disaster, if it were not you? Forget it, and move on. One day it will be part of your collection of hilarious “you wouldn’t believe what happened at this one job” stories :-)

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  • This is my first time with the agency and also first time getting a job without being interviewed by the hiring manager. This was my second contract work. I was with a reputable big company for 17 years (I left because there was no more room for growth).prior to my first contract work which lasted 1.5 years. After that I was unemployed for 11 months, getting phone interviews here and there but never a job offer. So you can imagine how happy I was to have landed a job, with a great pay rate and no interview. – Rem Nov 28 '18 at 10:43
  • I see, that puts a different complexion on your anxiety 9and maybe ought to have been mentioned in the "question" although it I snot really question). My answer remains unchanged though - don't sweat it. At most, discuss it with the agency. But if they have not discussed it with you, I doubt if they see a problem. Stuff happens - just a pity it happened so soon. – Mawg says reinstate Monica Nov 28 '18 at 10:45
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    I And yes, I may be making a really big deal out of nothing, but I need to know what exactly "not a good fit" means. I was getting good feedback from the coworkers I was working with. One even commented that I already made strides compared to my predecessor. – Rem Nov 28 '18 at 10:50
  • Thanks Mawg. So I got in touch with The SA recruiter said she'll try to get more info tomorrow. The email came from the VP of Finance, so she said she'll get in touch with my boss. – Rem Nov 28 '18 at 10:58
  • "I need to know what exactly "not a good fit" means" - sounds like that it your question, so maybe reword? Really, your only hope is to ask your agency to ask the company, and the chances are very high that the will come back with any old rubbish to avoid saying, "we set the bar too high" or "we didn't know how bad a state our employee had left things in". The feedback from your co-workers while you were there indicates that you have nothing to worry about, performance wise. It's too late now, our comments crossed. I had already written "Do not rock the boat", but you already have – Mawg says reinstate Monica Nov 28 '18 at 10:59

It sounds like you stepped on some toes by pointing out their mistakes to them. If they're real mistakes, then you are better off not working there, but if you were simply wasting time, that can be perceived as a bad fit, and the thing with contractors as I understand it is the staffer eats the bulk of the boarding cost and probably offers a leniency period of about 30 days or so for the new hire to work out after which they get paid, so for the business employing the staffing agency: firing a contractor in some eyes is trivial.

If you can't deal with this, contracting through a staffing agency may not be for you as it is not for many people, try to find a full time job.

TLDR: You can get fired as a contractor for a lot less.

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Use this as a learning opportunity, but don't take it as feedback on your value as a worker or a human being. Their rejection isn't about you, it's about them. Even if it was a wonderful organization and an ideal job for the right candidate, it's still not about you. If a fish judges itself by its ability to climb trees, it'll think it's inferior. This job wasn't a good fit. Find something that is.

The Company: The fact that the company hired you with nothing more than a recommendation and a brief chat suggests that either they are overloaded and just needed to throw bodies at the problem, or that their hiring philosophy is to try to filter out people who are obviously wrong for the job and then throw people into the deep end to see whether they sink or swim.

You: Try to learn what you can from this situation (both from the feedback that the company and staffing agency give you, as well as from your own reflection), and then move on. Don't list this job on your CV. The staffing agency has glowing recommendations from your previous manager. Forge ahead and let everyone see that the feedback from your previous supervisors are representative of your value as a worker, and that this brief job at ChaosCorp was a fluke.

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The other answers cover what you can do pretty well, but you also have highlighted an additional question: "I need to know what exactly "not a good fit" means".

It's a catchall phrase. It could be literally true (your body wouldn't fit the chair/desk correctly, and they didn't want to buy new equipment). It could be figuratively true (they felt you don't mesh well with the company's culture or values, for whatever reason). It could just be that they didn't want to get into (or couldn't provide) clear reasons for letting you go, but they had to say something. That last one is pretty common, in my observation.

It's a very popular wording for when people are fired, especially relatively new hires, and the bottom line is that if they wanted to provide you with a clear, specific reason, they would have done so instead of using that phrase. That it doesn't mean anything in particular is probably the very reason it's so popular. Definitely try to get more information from the staffing agency, as the employer may have been clearer with them. But in your case, they gave you the information they wanted you to have (which is basically none).

Unless you can get other information, and therefore make the vague phrase irrelevant, you will never be able to pin down what "not a good fit" actually indicates for you in this case.

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  • UPDATE: I spoke with the recruiter. Her boss spoke with the VP of Finance who sent her the email. Letting me go had nothing to do with my performance. It' about me going directly to HR to ask for a badge. After lunch on Tuesday, I went to HR to ask if I needed a badge. She said ask your supervisor (Controller) to email me. Next thing I know, the VP was at my desk asking why I needed a badge. I said to get into the building. She said "You don't need a badge. Just ring the buzzer and someone will you in". Little did I know that would be case of firing me. – Rem Nov 30 '18 at 0:03
  • Apparently, she thought/felt that I was going around/beyond my superior and that was a no-no. It's pretty petty but true or not, it's better that I got out early rather than me staying longer and they make up something bad about me or my performance. – Rem Nov 30 '18 at 0:09

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