Do you email people who work there?
Do you just jump in and hope for the best?
Are there apps or sites you like?
1. Revenue and runway before next funding round or profitability. This trumps all in product decisions. Long runway means they can invest in new platforms and techs with bet on huge growth. Short runway means getting prestige brands into the sales pipeline to woo next investment round, and leveraging technical debt to survive. Would argue tech debt burden can be estimated as a function of remaining runway.
2. Whether board members and executives still have skin in the game and holding their stock. If board is full of early shareholders who have already been made whole, chances are you aren't their next unicorn, there is no explosive growth, and they've checked out. Expect executive level bullshit politics related to their short term compensation milestones.
3. Informal network: Who went to school with/worked with whom, and whether this role will-be / needs-to-be in that fold, or out of it. If you are not in the fold, you are a dilution target, and someones tool for meeting executive compensation milestones before changing the world. Do the work and take the money, but keep your dreams in check.
IMHO, these factors are what determine the company culture.
If the company is private, check out the other companies in the lead VCs portfolio web pages and what kinds of cultures those companies have. People move between them and you can get a better data set for glassdoor searches. If the other companies suck, this one probably will too.
What makes a company a great place to work is its real opportunity for growth because that means people are growing with it, and that brings them into work everyday. This creates a trajectory that defines its culture.
Actually, it’s worse than terrible
The revenue is several years old, the technology is wrong, the employees listed is laughable (except the founders)
From the info I do know, I wouldn’t trust the info I don’t know on that site
Since their data is so bad, I’m going to throw out some bad info too: if a company has less that 5,000 people, don’t look at Crunchbase
Can you elaborate on that?
Later rounds at higher valuations let these members recoup most of the value of their investment, so their downside is now covered and they have all the votes. Nice spot to be in.
To me, this board no longer represents the parties with the most to lose, and what was previously an investment partnership is now just a one-sided gamble. Where when it is founders making decisions, there is skin in the game.
The effect I'm trying to articulate is the board not holding executives accountable for anything other than positioning the company for a sale, and that the incentives can be apparent from the board makeup. Conversely, if massive later stage investors were really interested in the long term prospects of the company, they'd have got board seats.
Point being, as an employee, the day to day at a company that is being positioned to sell to a greater fool is very different from one positioning itself for explosive growth. The make up of the board, assuming it is fit for purpose, may be a tell for which strategy the company is pursuing, and hence, culture.
Specifically, on "... executive level bullshit politics related to their short term compensation milestones ...", I would like to add, this one is the hardest to figure out and has a significant impact on your growth not just within the company, but as a person in general.
Any more suggestions, on good ways to find out if this is part of the company culture?
Public companies are easy because it's all public.
Interesting documents are SEC 8-K's, which are unscheduled filings about material changes to the business. Ask yourself why a couple of times to get to the reasons behind it. Volatility means uncertainty, and uncertainty often implies a power struggle. Nowhere is perfect, but adjust your expectations about how much chill to expect. Read a lot of them to get a sense of what's normal.
If the execs are stacking equity in a public company and only selling to pay taxes, that's a pretty good sign everyone is committed. It's also a sign that there isn't a lot of volatility, and with that stability, growth may be slow, so expect growth opportunities to be commensurate and feel out the trade off.
Huge disclaimer that these are just tea leaves, but to reply to another comment here, you are investing 3-5+ years of your life and your reputation into a company, where a VC is just allocating maybe 1/30th of their fund. You have more to lose as an employee than that investor does. Just keep an eye for the longer term.
Most of us are just happy to get a gig, work with cool people, get paid very well and dream about upside, but when you evaluate every 3-6 months working at a job as opportunity cost against validating an idea against possible market fit, you start looking hard at the trade offs.
Based on crunchbase profiles, if a founder is present, but demoted or marginalized ("special projects"), find out if there is a technical lead who can't say yes, but who can say no to everything. Not a dealbreaker, but a culture variable.
If the founders are out of the picture, ask about tech debt and whether company has enough new runway to stand up a new platform. If not, it means they're hoping to grow their way out, and ask if there's a roadmap for that play. If they don't have an answer, just expect competing priorities as it's going to be very sales driven, with customer/sales politics.
If the CEO or other execs have been there for more than 3 years without profit or a new financing round, who is protecting them and why? (hint, board, running dumb money, possibly angling for sale, not explosive market dominance.)
Window dressing to attract acquirer attention causes insanity on teams because managers have do things to appear positioned, and they are under pressure to "produce," metrics to keep the ball in the air. My experience was it causes rage quits and makes people enemies for life. The pattern of leadership angling for a sale, but must swear they are not makes everyone seem psychotic.
I'm not an authority on this, I happen to write and this is what I've observed.
People behind all this aren't evil, it's just some incentives can be used as tea leaves to get a sense of what questions to ask before you give up 6-10 six-month iterations and pivots on launching your own idea for some snacks and a foozball table. :)
Before building KV though, my research process included looking for and reading:
- the company's career and about us pages
- an active blog w/ recent posts (w/in the last 2 months)
- LinkedIn / Twitter / GitHub of founders and existing team members (I'd also look for any old blogs written by (or press written about) these folks before they joined the company)
- checking to see if the company hosts meetups or hackathons I can attend
- seeing if I know anyone who currently works there or worked there before and then reaching out
- cold emailing or Tweeting current team members
I'd expect it to start large, and then filter down with more things selected. But it's not even like it's acting the other way, including only companies that match at least one thing I clicked, because it started non-zero.
If you select multiple values, the results will be ordered by number of matches and prioritize the companies who ranked those values highest.
Sorry, I'm not sure I understand what you mean by it starting on a non-zero number. Perhaps you have one of the tags selected?
Question: why not include a "high compensation"/"high equity"/"top of market comp"/etc category? Talk about culture and values is nice but as far as I'm concerned the best way for companies to show they care about engineers is to put their money where their mouth is. There's surely a subset of engineers and companies that agree with me on this. It would be useful for matching.
Suggestions: if you're not doing this already, you should limit the number of categories a company or user can select. (And if you are doing this, you should make it clear on the site.) This will help get more meaningful results. Some of the current categories are meaningless - ie. "Impressive team members" ... what company would not claim this? It's only meaningful if you restrict them to, say, 5 categories. Either do this or just eliminate these categories and keep it on pure culture traits like "eats lunch together."
2. Yup! Companies are limited to choosing 8 values. They're also forced to rank them in order of importance. As you can see, not all companies select Impressive Team Members.
1. Pretty much every other job board / recruiting tool out there filters on compensation. If you're optimizing for comp, you have plenty of places to go! However, there's no place to discover companies that share your values. There's no place to learn about the team or what your day-to-day might look like before jumping through all of the other hoops (cover letters, apps, take-home tests, whiteboarding questions...). Not until Key Values that is. This is the space I'm working to fill.
Additionally, I'd argue that constraining your job search based on comp is a mistake. After some level of $$$, an additional $10k-$20k/year means a lot less than everything else. Value alignment (aka your happiness) is worth so much more.
As a not-so-extreme example: you couldn't pay me a $300k/year to work w/ people I hated.
Ps. One lesson I've learned: never judge a company based on their marketing website.
I suppose that's just a sign of the times, and I don't necessarily have a grudge against the company for doing so. It does however mean that the site is no longer useful to this end, at least for me.
As for directly contacting a company, I tend not to. Sometimes this works out, other times not. I thought I would hate my current job and thought I was quite unqualified, but it turned out to be pretty fantastic. Just going with the flow sometimes works out that way.
Positive Reviewer - "Hypergrowth company! Lots of opportunties, great culture!!!!"
Negative reviewer - "They hired too fast, have no clue what they're doing, and have lots of free food and ping pong."
No. They'll rarely tell you anything useful because they'd risk their job.
Focus on former employees instead if you really must. (And only stick to recent ones if you do, because companies change.) But IMHO you don't actually need to do this nowadays.
> Do you just jump in and hope for the best?
At the very least check out their website, their execs, and your future boss. Google whoever you think is relevant and check their respective LinkedIn profiles, blogs, social media, etc.
Even more importantly, pay attention to any hints of company culture or technical red flags during interviews. Ask soft questions as you run into them to keep the interview process flowing; and dig deeper when you're in the negotiation phase.
> Are there apps or sites you like?
Glassdoor was interesting in the past. It still is, but there's a strong sampling bias and a lot of astroturfing. IMHO it's mostly useful to check for recurring, obvious red flags. YMMV.
CrunchBase is sort of useful to get funding data -- when it's accurate. (IMHO you're better off asking this type of data point blank during the interviews.) The important bit here is how they'll approach things like risk taking and technical debt, as already noted in an excellent sibling answer.
AngelList and LinkedIn are useful to get a feel of who the execs and your future boss are. Personally I wouldn't touch a company whose exec team is all 20-somethings with a 10-foot poll. Some youngsters are brilliant but I'd rather see a few adults in the room too. But that's just me...
Google is the most useful tool overall. You'll sometimes be surprised by what comes up when you google some exec's name and go through a few results pages or their social media accounts.
Last point: don't underestimate the value of this research. If you're going to move to some new location and/or change jobs thinking you're going to stay there for more than a few months, take an afternoon to do this research to avoid getting ugly surprises.
I wonder where that comes from. Perhaps it is from Glassdoor itself, trying to force companies to enter into some sort of business arrangement to correct the nonsense. Perhaps competitors are trying to make us look awful. I'd like to think that the culprit overplayed their hand, and that everybody will disregard the nonsense, but probably some people believe it.
You may also be able to network to someone that works there to get their impressions of the place. Like most job-related things, networking is critical.
I didn't see this posted elsewhere. Before researching a company or role I try to note down what I want. As I research, or talk to different folks about roles, my perspective can sometimes change. It's good to be able to come back to your core reasons for investigating the role.
Once you've done the research try to map out the possible trajectories for you from that point (if the company is acquired by market leader that you hate, if they turn out to not be some happy with remote work, etc.) This doesn't take long, but feel like I've seen so many people in my almost 20 years of work life leave me thinking "that was obvious" after a sad conversation.
The other edge case would be an environment where every employee is super active in OSS.
Currently I have a separate ‘home’ account for personal projects and I never touch the work ID from my home.
Also, you could and probably should create a new SSH key on the company laptop or a personal access token for HTTPS access so that it can be easily revoked when you leave.
Then you see someone at a place like Lyft with four years of real world experience and one year with the company pulling 300-400k a year without breaking a sweat. And now they’re about to jump onto the IPO rocket ship. I want to clarify that I’m not jealous of these people: it’s great. I just gotta stop and ask myself sometimes what the fuck I’m doing wrong.
Then again this is crowdsourced and might be a load of shit.
If you're not already considered top-tier talent, I think Amazon is the easiest way into this right now. They are hiring at an incredible rate, and their engineers are generally considered good hires by Google, Facebook, etc. The lifestyle and working environment is generally considered acceptable if not exemplary.
Also, invest some time to become an expert at technical interviews. They are somewhat orthogonal to everything else that we do, but they are a near-universal shibboleth at top companies and it doesn't take that much time to get good at them. Most of the questions fall into a few broad categories that you can learn to recognize with practice.
This worked for me. YMMV. The key was relaxing the requirement that I stay in my childhood city, although luckily I only had to move a couple hours away.
Are you sure this number still applies if you're outside of US (London, Toronto, Sydney)? My understanding is that numbers in Europe are nothing like those in the US.
I make $50k-100k AUD less in Sydney compared to Bay Area, with all the same HCOL problems.
A very, very good new grad total comp figure in Sydney is say, $150k AUD. That's $106K in USD, which is less than the salary for a new grad at Google or Facebook in the Bay Area. Throw in RSUs, signing bonus, and performance bonuses, and a new grad is making $50-100k AUD more.
What do you mean by this? I could imagine a scenario where the E3 visa puts positive pressure on Australian Software Engineer salaries, causing them to rise.
Most companies want to have folks in the same timezone, preferably in the same office. There's really no substitute for being onsite with your peers.
You want to make the most of not only the various kinds technical interviews you might encounter, but also the behavioral conversations, founder/exec chats, even cover letters are a chance to set an intentional narrative. When you're in the loop with specific companies you can even prepare for specific interview loops and negotiation expectations, and thus have particularly targeted results.
Isn't Amazon known for having the worst lifestyle and working environment out of all FAANG? https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/technology/inside-amazon-...
In the absence of a strong, healthy company-wide culture, managers create their own islands of toxicity or calm productivity. I don't know a simple answer of how to ensure you end up on the right one.
You're not doing anything wrong - only a select number of employers can afford to throw that much money at their recruits. It's just a method of recruiting, nothing more; most other smaller companies / startups can't (or won't) match it so they gain a major advantage over their competitors.
I just managed to pass their interview - maybe that counts for something, but I definitely am not a top 5% engineer. I think there are a lot of advantages you get from smaller places that you won't find at a large "FANG" company as well.
Don’t know anything about you beyond your github and HN profile, but I‘ll speculate: perhaps getting hired at 200k or less by the right company is the key to earning 300k+ within a year, while getting hired at 300k is unlikely unless you come straight from a corp/position that is known to pay more.
> In San Francisco and nearby San Mateo and Marin Counties it said $117,400 for a family of four was "low income", while $73,300 (£54,900) was "very low income" - the highest figures anywhere in the country. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44725026)
The cost of living in these areas is high and is still growing rapidly. At the end of the day, working in a tech hub is still a middle class to upper middle class job. You can achieve similar or better results in states like Utah and Texas, with a much better work/life balance.
I'm an ex-Californian and moved to a saner state. Total comp for me is roughly ~$150K, with almost all the bells and whistles you'd expect from Silicon Valley (still waiting for 401K matching). My commute is 20 mins and soon to be 5 mins. Property values for a large home where I live are still floating in the $500K range, with only 0.5% property tax. I haven't even topped out the market here either -- I know people making $170K salary + benefits out here.
The attractiveness of this depends on whether it goes up or down. It's anybody's guess which way it'll go.
When you're interviewing, you're not just letting the employer assess you; you're also assessing the company and the team. You should be asking questions about working there. There's no need to "email people who work there" to ask because you should be asking them during the interview!
My current job is the first time (out of 6 jobs over 14 years) where I am joining a company without anyone I know there -- as in, I responded to a recruiter pinging me, interviewed, and got an offer. I didn't have a friend refer me or anything. It was a risky leap, and made more risky by the fact that it's fully remote (my first remote job), so I had no idea if it was going to be like everyone being overworked, or feeling completely disconnected, or anything. One thing I did that may have appeared weird but was worth doing was, after getting an offer, I asked to speak with yet one more engineer on the team, in a sort of reverse-interview. I extensively asked about working there.
Like someone said, because people don't want to risk their jobs, most of the time they won't say anything negative in such a scenario. But as long as you learn to read between the lines, you can still get useful information out of it.
On the other hand if this is before you interview, none of this matters. Just go interview and decide from there.
Even considering global offices, there are ~5k employees here on campus.
The problem is that every single team, organization, every executive and the functions that roll up to them, are of course different.
The best advice is what others have said here: go into the interviews bright eyed and try as hard to get a sense of the people who interview.
Are they good people? Is there a good mix of people who are task oriented vs relationship oriented?
At the end of the day, looking at things like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, will only give you a very high level picture so the interviews are your best bet.
Also, if you're anything like me, I value money quite a bit over other conditions, so asking about salary up front is a must.
This is an important point. I'm not primarily money-driven, personally, so this isn't a question I typically ask. But if it's important to you, absolutely ask.
Not to say money isn't important. I do have a minimum salary that I'll accept, and I inform them of it when they ask (and they always ask). If an employer at least meets that, I'm good. Offering more money above that is nice, but isn't as big of a driver to me as whether or not I would enjoy working there.
I pore over their website, and do web searches on the company and the company's top executives. If I don't personally know anyone who works for (or used to work for) them, then I hit up my professional contacts to see if I can find someone who does. I then ask those people about their day-to-day experience at the company. I make sure to ask, at a minimum, both what they consider great about working there and what they consider awful about it.
What I'm looking for is a good fit -- does the company operate in a way that works for me? Do I feel good about what the company produces and how they do business? Are the employees generally satisfied? That sort of thing.
One thing I would never do unless I were in a crisis of some sort is to just jump in and hope for the best. It's too easy for that to go horribly wrong.
Also, it's not a great look on your CV when you've only been at a non-contract job for a very short time.
However for me, one thing I really like doing is reaching out to employees who quit/left. Ask them for honest information about why they quit and what the existing problems are.
The baseline approval rating from someone who left the company is going to be lower than people working at the company. If an ex-employee is disgruntled or bitter it doesn't tell me that much, unless I hear the same complaint from a lot of people.
If someone left because another great opportunity came along, and they are really positive about their time at the company, I'd say that's a good signal.
- horrid open plan layout with no quiet or privacy.
- comically stupid budget wasted on boutique cafeteria and presentation spaces, catered lunches, coffee, snacks.
- corporate slogans and motivational gimmicks painted on the walls.
Why do you need to research office space for a new job? It’s always exactly the same.
PS: if you're in Indy I am hiring, you will get an office.
1. The company's responses to public issues/tickets/discussions (on GitHub issues/pull requests, a support forum, whatever). Do employees provide thoughtful replies or frustrating form letters ("Great idea! Please vote for your feature request here:")? Is the person responding actually qualified to answer? Where appropriate, does the individual's personality come through or does the reply feel perfunctory or rushed? Do issues ever get closed, and when they do, is a useful explanation provided?
2. Twitter interactions between the company and users. Search Twitter for "to:companyname" for replies and "@companyname" for all mentions. Depending on the company, searching Reddit for the company or product name(s) may also turn up interactions.
3. Search engine keyword research/planner tools. What other words/phrases are used alongside the company or product name? Google and Bing both now restrict their tools, but many third-party planners are public and some include things like inbound link pages. (For a less-complete view, check which phrases are autocompleted in Google and Bing's search form input fields.)
Job posts there usually come with a salary range, and salary can be a deal-breaker for a lot of people (most people?), so seeing salary ranges up front for specific companies & positions you're interested in can help avoid a lot of wasted time on both sides due to mismatch in expectations around compensation.
The tool is even more helpful when you're in that initial stage of looking for work but not sure where to apply to yet, because you can filter for jobs that match a certain salary range, within certain locations/industries, level of funding, tech choices, etc.
I also personally really like job searching platforms like Hired.com, Underdog.io, Triplebyte, and AngelList's own A-List that allow you to apply once to their platform and then have companies come to you with offers for interviews, many of which of also require the company to disclose salary range up front so you can decide which offers are worth your time to pursue.
Github to see if they have open source stuff
I've told companies I want to remeet the team after interviews and they've scheduled lunches for me to talk with them in a more low pressure situation
Besides the usual stuff linked to on the site, you can look for email addresses from their domain(s), Google-dork for file extensions on their site and so on.
Often email addresses are tied to discussion forums and such, though perhaps more of that is Github these days.
One tool (forget the name at the moment) would let you look for social media posts/pics in a radius to a given location, so see what pops up nearby the office. If not from the company, might still be informative of the neighbourhood.
If you end up needing their email address because you can't send a message on LinkedIn, there's a slew of ways to find someone's email. They might list it on their Twitter, Github, or blog. Companies out there will help you guess it (Clearbit, Hunter, VoilaNorbert, etc.). And if all else fails, googling your best guesses as to what their email is (including their gmail) will often yield a match in some random mailing list, press release, or what have you.
1) Keep in mind that during the interview process, you are (read: should be) interviewing them, as much as they are interviewing you. If you sense they don't realize / respect you being an equal in the process then put a note under "red flags."
2) Along the same lines, listen careful during the process. Listen for that is said, and often more importantly, what is not said. Again, be mindful of how they speak with you or maybe it's more like at.
3) Every process has at least one Q&A segment. Prepare some questions. Bring them along printed out if you want. When the moment comes, ask away. If you'd like to speak to current team member(s) ask for that. If you sense friction, that's at least a partial answer. Noted in the red flags column of your "post-date" analysis.
Of course this won't uncover everything, but it's a start. It's also likely yo generate more questions. Do a follow up, if necessary.
For example, yesterday I had a phone call with the head of small marketing / design agency about some PT (but regular) contract dev work. During the course of the conversation I said something like "...and perhaps in time, there can be a junior dev who can take care of some of the more simplistic stuff and I'll focus on the heavy lifting..."
His reply was along the lines of "That doesn't interest me. I'm looking to deal with only one person."
However, what I heard was: "This guy is not aware of the fact that I want to outgrow the mundane stuff and/or I might be willing and able to move into a supervisor position. It also sounds like he's not interested in growing the business in ways where there would be more heavy (dev) lifting. Perhaps my ambitions and desire to grow wouldn't be a good fit."
We're still talking. But that one answer told me __a lot__ even if he didn't realize it. Those are the type of "not said" things I'm talking about.
Ultimately, you are both looking to enter into a LTR. They should want - should things move forward - you to be comfortable and confident they are "the one" for you. If they are resistant to you having __relevant__ and __professional__ questions, then again, that's a signal. Make note of it, and weight it when the time comes.
I would do the same if I were looking at a small company with potentially astroturfed Glassdoor ratings.
In all honesty, I find how everyone behaves during the interview, and my interactions with everyone involved in the interview process, as the best indicators of how the business operates.
Someone posted asking for the best way to let a friend down easy and tell them they weren't romantically interested. Top response: "Bang his roommate."
I'm not sure how you can assess team dynamics before committing to the job. Unless you sign on as a contractor, you're taking a big risk signing up.
* Glassdoor: Sort reviews by date (people are relatively happy when they join, negative reviews tend to be more current). Take every review (good/bad) with a grain of salt. Reviews with higher "helpful" counts could be more reliable because there are so many companies where the HR writes glowing reviews
* Crunchbase: To know more about the funding situation, list of execs, etc.
* levels.fyi: Salary info. Also check h1bsalaryinfo (website). May/may not be applicable to you, but will give you an idea of what your peers potentially make.
* LinkedIn: Search the name of the company, click on the "People" tab, and look at the list of people who match your background, and then dig out their backgrounds. How long have they been working at the company, what are their previous jobs, how well do you think their background support their roles (even before you talk to them). At my previous company, there were a bunch of people who did sub-par job of being software engineers at their previous companies, and took director/lead/vp roles purely based on their years or experience rather than technical expertise and screwed up the mission big time. This tends to happen at medium/big companies more frequently than at small startups.
* On-site interviews: I know it is going to be extremely hard to gauge a team/company while they are gauging you, but this can be done. Prepare your questions beforehand, and try to see how close or vague their responses are.
* Blind (app) or teamblind (on web): Search for the company and look for comments/questions etc. There may be some discussions which may not be applicable, but it doesn't hurt to search.
* GitHub/Medium: Some companies/startups have their own pages, or at least their team members do (although not current). It'd be good to check those as well.
* Cold emailing: Previous and current employees. Not many will respond, but if even one or two do, I'd highly value their input
* Coffee: Doesn't hurt to try (most people are willing to do this, but don't do this just because they don't have time, or feel awkward about meeting new people)
Most of these will be applicable for smaller companies/startups, but at big companies, it'll be tough knowing all the people you will work with. Ultimately, it's going to boil down to few things:
(a) your instincts: whether you feel you'll fit right in or not, whether the company is good for you or not, whether you believe in the core mission or not. I tend to believe this more.
(b) your team: a good team/team member can make your life at work the best experience or the worst experience. And unfortunately, there is no way to predict this unless you give it a chance.
LinkedIn, AngelList, and Crunchbase are some good places to start to get an idea of the company.
You always get the down lo when you read a highly upvoted review.
I know this one startup CEO he was caught lying publicly about writing his own glassdoor reviews. It was quite obvious (everybody in the company knew except the CEO).
Going on vacation for a week and starting a new job is very difficult to time. You come back give two weeks and have to work really hard transfering knowledge just when you need to be learning everything new job related.
Edit: mistake in duration
https://krebsonsecurity.com/2017/11/how-to-opt-out-of-equifa... (KrebsOnSecurity: How to Opt Out of Equifax Revealing Your Salary History)
Nor can I think of a company that would agree up front to let a new hire do this. Why would you hire people who screw over their employers? They might do the same to you one day when they have decided to leave.
This is a great way to start out with two jobs and end up with zero.
Edit: The undesirable behavior was in reference to the lying about a personal crisis. I personally believe in transparency and wouldn’t attempt to capitalize on an employer’s sympathy by lying to them.
If anyone feels like this is dishonest what do you tell your new employer about why you are truly leaving the old position. Do you tell them the owner was rude and you told him off or do you say you left because of a bad personality fit? You are not lying but perhaps a little dishonest. You can have a personal crisis and that could be the new job.
I'm sorry, it's simply bald-faced lying. If I found out any of my hires had done this, I'd fire them.
> what do you tell your new employer about why you are truly leaving the old position.
I rarely need to tell them anything, but if they ask, I say "I'm seeking new challenges". It's not a lie, and it avoids potentially bad-mouthing prior employers. But I'll be honest here -- it's only happened twice in my career that I left a job because of something bad about the job.
Would you fire that same person if you discover a year later new challenges meant hated old boss and told them off?
Just curious are the positions you manage that easy to fill that you can fire at random?
If someone I knew was fired for that reason a lawsuit would be very likely. The manager would be let go after they lost cost the company so much money. I'm not in the US so I understand the rules might be different but usually you can't fire someone because they broke your personal moral code.