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Why Are They Quitting So Quickly?

On Friday I have to talk to an audience of staffing professionals about the link between recruiting and retention. It's a tough issue. I've seen it make some recruiters cry! They work hard to find the right talent, to woo the talent, to bring that talent into their organization for interviews. The magic works. The "new hire" joins, seems excited. The fit looks great. And, in an amazingly short time (Three months? Six months?) the magic is gone. The bright new recruit is on to greener pastures.

The recruiter is frustrated, the hiring manager is frustrated, the HR group is frustrated and most likely, that new hire who resigned left frustrated as well. It's a no-win game.

So who should jump on this? Sharon Jordan-Evans (my co-author of Love 'Em or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay) and I both believe that the hiring manger can do so much more. We believe that there is a direct correlation between that shortened tenure and the quality of the relationship with the manager.

We believe that most new hires come into an organization charged up. They are excited about their new adventure and are filled with energy and potential. Too many managers (and they admit this) leave that energy-tapping and "get-to-know-you" stuff to their organization's orientation program. Yes, they meet with their new hires, introduce them around, and then, well, the connection seems to die. It can't.

We recommend a series of on-going conversations initiated by the manager, spread over time, with each new hire. They don't need to be long, but they do need to happen and they need to happen in a one on one setting. The connect to the manager is essential. (We're glad to provide ideas!)

All this requires time and energy on the manager's part. But think about the time and energy that would need to be put into starting that interview process all over again. Compare that to the information one could glean from these conversations and the different ways to channel that data. And think about whether or not you would have wanted your first manager to take this kind of interest in you.

If you're a new hire, and you left quickly, why? What could have saved you?

If you're a manager, and this happens to you, why do you think they leave so fast?

If you're a recruiter, what's your take?

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  • Brian Seel

    I would hypothesize that part of the challenge is based on the hiring standards of companies. Companies tend to hire people who have already had a similar job and are already fully qualified on paper for a job.

    The result is, that person can come in, add another similar title to their resume, and will have options immediately. Case in point is a Director I used to work for. He was already qualified for the position, having held a similar position at another major company. He came in and within weeks or months was getting calls from recruiters. At any point within 6 months to a year, he could have left for another job if he wanted to.

    Take someone in my situation, a Sr. Analyst. If I go out and apply for other manager positions in the marketplace, I am not likely to get much interest. But if my company promotes me to a manager position, and I stay there for a year or so, I can go get a manager position elsewhere. That new company would bring me in at that level, but guess what? I am already qualified to be a manager, so I can bolt for greener pastures whenever I want. Given that there is a wide variance in manager salaries, I could probably do so for a nice bump.

    Companies need to broaden their approach to hiring and start looking at either promoting more people internally rather than going and hiring externally; or by taking people who are ready, even if they haven't yet had that opportunity. There might be more of a risk in the short-term, but in the long run, an employee is going to be very loyal to an employer who gave them a shot. In short, recruiters need to start LOOKING for talent again rather than simply recycling.

  • Gautam Ghosh

    I've left quickly once

    and that's because as Some Body says: Expectations were not clarified by both me and the hiring managers. Or that the environment changed so fast that I was doing something that I didn't want to do


  • Some Body

    I've left a few companies after being there only 3 months. In a couple of cases, the projects turned out much less interesting or challenging than management had described. In one particularly bad case, I was told about a system that would have been really interesting, but once I got there and actually starting to talk with them about the details, I found out that the things they described to me weren't even possible for non-technical reasons. The system actually was just a data-entry web site.

    Another time, as a contractor, I was brought in to do software development. Instead they put me on production support. When my contract was up 3 months later I chose, to their dismay, not to continue the contract.

    Now I don't trust what they tell me about the position, but other than ask a lot of questions I can't really do much.