Can a Company Interview Your Replacement Before You Are Fired?

The odds of your employer parading people through the office to interview for your job may be pretty low. However, it's not unheard of for employers to line up a replacement for someone who hasn't yet received a pink slip. This might be somewhat more likely if your employer is looking to replace you using internal promotion without advertising. Although it can be worrisome to see presumed candidates coming in for what you believe are interviews, don't jump to conclusions.

Unless you actually see your job posted before termination, consider the possibilities, plan to have a candid conversation with your boss or ask a human resources representative to clear up matters for you. If you find out that your employer is looking for your replacement through these conversations, you might buy yourself some time to figure out your next career move.

Employment At Will and Morale

According to NOLO, "employment at will" means that the company can terminate a working relationship at any time for any reason or for no reason, with or without notice. Essentially, your employer may interview people for your job, then fire you the day before your replacement begins working. But that's probably unlikely based on employers' attention to job satisfaction and morale.

Interviewing candidates and leaving current employees to wonder whether they will be fired isn't good for sustaining high employee morale. So if your employer is interviewing someone to perform similar job duties, consider the reasons why and don't focus on the negative implications.

Business Demand and Hiring

Examine the company's business demand, if you have access to that information. Question whether you have been overwhelmed with work or your workload has increased significantly. These could be signs that your employer isn't interviewing your replacement, but that the company is adding staff. The company may be increasing staffing levels to accommodate business demand.

Performance and Job Security

If you are having performance problems or have been on a performance improvement program, there's a chance that your employer may be preparing to replace you. However, you're probably well aware of your performance issues and your employer's attempt to help you improve your job performance.

Determine whether you have been meeting your employer's expectations or engaging in other behaviors that would justify terminating your employment. If you cannot think of any underlying reasons why your employer is planning to fire you, you may be overreacting.

On the other hand, if you are doing your best but your employer simply does not appreciate your contributions, Forbes suggests this could be a sign that your job is not the right fit for you. So, even if they are not planning to replace you, it might be helpful to keep your eyes open for different opportunities.

Important Conversations and Candor

Assuming you can communicate with your supervisor or manager openly, take the opportunity to ask whether you are being replaced. You may ask the question jokingly, as in, "I see applicants coming and going. Are you planning to get rid of me or are they interviewing for another position?" If you don't appear to be seriously concerned for your job security and your boss has always been truthful with you, chances are you may have incorrectly assumed that you're being replaced.