Recruiters quit.  It happens and, as job-hopping throughout one’s career becomes ever more accepted, it will doubtless happen with increasing regularity.

The question for recruitment company owners and Directors is how to handle the news.  There are a multitude of scenarios in which recruiters quit their jobs, of course, and so naturally there are a large range of reactions.  From a sanguine smile and awkward pat on the back, to barely-disguised relief, and in many cases sheer blind panic.

But what is never easy to predict is the prospect of “gardening leave”.  The dream that is held like a precious flower in the hearts of all resigning recruiters, that they can quit in a positive enough way that things will remain amicable, but not so perfectly that they will actually have to work out their 4 weeks’ notice as well.

And in all my years of handling recruiter candidates of mine who are about to quit to join one of my clients, I’ve never been able to predict it either.  Having forged my recruitment career in the blast furnace of Hays, I used to think that every single resignation would lead to an immediate severance of cordial relationships, an enforced deletion of LinkedIn accounts swiftly followed by a frog march off the premises.

But apparently not everyone behaves like Hays (who knew?)  So I have witnessed just this week an IT Recruiter resign to go to a competitor across the street and do the exact same job, but still expected to carry on working out his notice meeting clients and finding IT talent that his prospective new firm are also looking for.  And then also this week a recruiter resign to take up an in-house role at a business that could well be a strategic partner and client  to the firm she was resigning from, but still being walked out the door to enjoy four weeks of sun and relaxation.

There’s no one rule to suit all situations of course, but what is important, I feel, is the tone in which the decision is made.  Last week I spoke at the Wellington Recruitment MeetUp about Employment Branding for recruitment agencies, and the importance of word of mouth commentary on your agency and how it can affect the decisions of top recruiter talent whether to join your firm or not.  One of the worst ways to damage your firm’s reputation as an employer is by tearing to shreds your resigning recruiter when they decide to leave.

Good recruiters will gather market information and opinion on your firm before deciding to join.  So assuming you want to hire good recruiters, make sure that next time you’re deciding about gardening leave, you do so in a cordial and grown up way, as a chastened and humiliated alumni can do way more damage than you expect.

Talking of gardening leave, all of the Auckland Rice Consulting and vRPO team are off to the Garden City today to celebrate tomorrow’s wedding of our very own Christchurch Manager Mary Batchelar.  So please call us on our mobiles if you need us, and have yourselves a fine weekend.

Jonathan Rice

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.

One Comment

  • Avatar Jayne Rice says:

    Well said Mr Rice. It takes me back to the time I resigned from one agency to go to another agency in a completely different industry sector. Whilst I didn’t get to embrace the “golden chalice” of gardening leave the CEO of the agency I was leaving completely blanked and refused to speak to me for my entire four weeks notice.

    Fast forward a year when I left the Agency world forever and ventured into in house recruitment ironically in the original industry sector I moved from. The treatment I received from my current employer (Hays actually) was professional, understanding and unsurprisingly our relationship continued whenever we required office support staff. The same can’t be said for the original agency. How I miss those days…… not.

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