I made a critical mistake following my first placement. For whatever
reason, I failed to communicate with the candidate during his initial
week on the job.
By the time I called him on the second Monday, he had already left and
gone back to his old company. He might have quit regardless of whether I
stayed in touch, but I'll never know for sure.
Later, I came to realize that all placements are tenuous in the
beginning. Not only is it human nature to feel some degree of buyer's
remorse, there are a multitude of distractions that can ratchet up the
candidate's level of stress. And when you factor in all the things that
can go wrong or get lost in translation, it's surprising more candidates
don't pack it in during their first week on the job.
Moral Support and Intervention
To protect your hard-earned placement -- and the good faith the
candidate and the new employer have invested in each other -- it makes
sense to stay involved. Here are just a few of the strategies I've used
to lend a helping hand:
1.Make sure the placement is clean. Tie up any loose ends, and proofread
the company's offer letter to prevent errors that may ruffle the
2.If appropriate, help the candidate write his resignation letter or
have a template ready.
3.Prepare the candidate for his resignation by telling him how his
company will react, and how to deal with a counteroffer attempt.
4.After the resignation, encourage the new employer to engage the
candidate in a project so he can hit the ground running.
5.Call the candidate on the date of start and a couple of times the
first week. If appropriate, take the candidate -- and his boss -- to
6.Follow up with the candidate at least once a week for the first month.
7.Touch base with the hiring manager periodically. You'll not only get a
sense of how the candidate is performing, you might also be asked to
find additional staff.
First-week problems typically result from a lack of task clarity. In
other words, the candidate might misunderstand -- or the supervisor
might fail to effectively communicate -- exactly what the candidate's
When people have never worked together, it often takes a while for
everyone to get their bearings. Fortunately, I've been able to save
several placements that were starting to unravel during the shake-out
As recruiters, we're naturally inclined to look ahead to our next
placement -- and our next. I've found that recruiting is like politics,
in that you always need to keep your eye on the ball. If you begin to
think too far beyond the next election, there may not be a next