What’s the best way to fire an employee?

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
If you fired a senior executive, identify from this list what went wrong | A Founder’s Notebook

[When you fire someone…] 1. You did a poor job of defining the position in the first place. CEOs often hire based on an abstract notion of what they think and feel the executive should be like. This error often leads to the executive not bringing the key, necessary qualities to the table. 2. You hired for lack of weakness rather than for strengths. You hire an executive with no sharp weaknesses, but who is mediocre where you need her to be grea… (read more)

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Keeping someone in a job not suited to them is worse than firing them | A Founder’s Notebook

We’ve fired many talented people from Seeking Alpha because “it’s not going to work”, and many of them have gone on to be outstandingly successful in other companies. Far from viewing that as a failure, I view it as a huge success — we pushed them to find the job that really worked for them.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Keeping someone in a job not suited to them is worse than firing them | A Founder’s Notebook

Your job as a manager is to build a successful company. You don’t fire people because there’s something wrong with them — a one-sided consideration. You fire them because it’s not working, and there’s no prospect that it’s going to work — which is bad for the company and bad for the employee.

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Startup advice, briefly – Sam Altman

Fire people quickly when you make hiring mistakes. Don’t work with people you don’t have a good feeling about. This goes for employees (and cofounders), partners, investors, etc.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Five bad excuses to avoid firing poor performers, and why you should “expose the pain” | A Founder’s Notebook

First, at the process level, slow firing of under-performers means it takes longer to build a great team. Leaving a position filled, even with an under-performer, removes the pressure to hire the right person. If you don’t expose the pain, you’ll forget (or ignore) that it’s there.

Hunter Walk (Founder & Partner at Homebrew)
Fire Faster: Five Excuses Startup CEOs Give For Not Getting Rid of Low Performers | Hunter Walk

Unless someone has behaved unethically or otherwise misrepresented their skills, they should be given feedback regarding their underperformance plus the opportunity to articulate to you that they understand and can correct quickly.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
MBA Mondays: Asking An Employee To Leave The Company – AVC

1) Be quick – once you’ve made a decision to let someone go, move quickly to do it. 2) Be generous – Unless the employee has acted in extreme bad faith or done something terribly wrong, I like to be generous on the way out. 3) Be clear – Do not beat around the bush. Start the conversation with the hard stuff. 4) Get advice – There are some situations where the company has some potential legal exposure in these situations. 5) Communicate – Once t… (read more)

Slava Akhmechet (Founder at RethinkDB)
57 startup lessons

Fire people that are difficult, unproductive, unreliable, have no product sense, or aren’t pragmatic. Do it quickly.

Ryan Hoover (Founder at Product Hunt)
Startup Lessons Growing from 10 to 100 | Ryan Hoover

Fire quickly. There’s a reason this advice has become cliche.

Spencer Rascoff (CEO at Zillow)
Don’t be scared to hire someone better than you

The mistake I have most commonly made, especially earlier in my career, was not acting quickly enough when I knew in my gut that somebody probably wasn’t the best person for a role