People First Personnel

A Recruiter’s Role in a Candidate’s Notice Period


Finding the perfect job for a talented candidate is not the only role a recruiter plays in the process. Should the candidate already be in a job that they are seeking to move on from, then there will be the tricky notice period to navigate as well.

Recruiters have a role to play during the lead up to the notice period, as well as during the notice period itself. They will need to ensure the candidate is making the right move, communicates their resignation correctly, and is ready for any counter offers that may come their way.

What’s more, the company losing the candidate will soon be an employee short, which could be another opportunity for the recruiter to work their magic should they play their cards right.

No More Jobs for Life

The fact is, we don’t live in a society where most people are looking for a ‘job for life’ anymore. Talent movement between jobs is now a relatively frequent occurrence. Even back in 2017, a BBC report cited research showing UK workers change employer every five years on average.

It is not that employees are simply growing bored of their surroundings quicker than they did before, but that modern workers often seek a continual upward trajectory in their careers. Such a trajectory in terms of responsibilities and recompense may hit a ceiling in their current employ, or an opportunity to hasten the process is too good to pass up. Many workers actively seek out these opportunities, and recruiters can help them find the ideal roles to help them continue the advancement of their careers.

Let us also not forget the effects of the pandemic on work culture, with many employees now seeking a better work/life balance through remote or hybrid working. Companies that offer such opportunities are attracting a significant amount of candidates from companies who insist on traditional in-office work, further increasing the amount of talent moving between firms.

But as mentioned, a recruiter’s role doesn’t necessarily end with the finding of a new job for the candidate. Ensuring that they leave their current job without burning bridges or leaving a bad taste in their soon-to-be former employer’s mouth is also important. So is making sure they are placed in a new role where they can truly excel.

Recruiters have a duty of care to ensure candidates are fully supported during what is potentially a stressful period in their lives, even if a happy ending is the most likely end result.

Working Through the Notice Period

It is most likely that a candidate will have a fair to good relationship with their current employer, with their reasons for leaving entirely based on ambition or other personal factors. There will be some talents who strongly dislike where they are currently employed and may actually enjoy handing in that resignation letter, but others may struggle with what is essentially a blunt act of rejection.

A recruiter should broach this subject early on with the candidate to ascertain their thoughts on it. Also check in with them occasionally throughout the process to see if there has been any changes.

Find out if the candidate has a plan for handing in their notice or not, and whether they want a face-to-face meeting with their current employer or prefer to simply hand in a letter and wait for the response. Also ask if the candidate expects any backlash, and if there is anything that might dissuade them from following through with the resignation such as a pay raise or other improvements to their current role.

Recruiters can also offer to proofread the candidate’s resignation letter and suggest any improvements.

Countering the Counter Offer

No company wants to lose legitimate talent from their ranks, so many candidates will receive counter offers in response to their resignation letter. How recruiters approach this will vary according to the candidate and their unique circumstances.

In some situations, the candidate may well be better off accepting the improved terms and remaining where they are. However, it is most likely not in their best interest to do so. While it plays a big part of course, money is rarely the only factor in a person’s decision to change jobs. The office culture and environment, location and ladder-climbing prospects are vital elements too, as is the increasingly important work/life balance.

When the counteroffer comes, recruiters should focus the candidate’s attention on these other elements and ensure they consider every aspect of their situation. They may make slightly better money by remaining in situ, but are they sacrificing job satisfaction and the potential to more easily achieve their career ambitions?

It can be a tough decision, and one recruiter should be ready to help the candidate’s make in their best interests.

Everyone’s a Winner

On the face of it, you would hardly expect a company losing a talent thanks to a recruiter being particularly enamoured with said recruiter. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to play out like that.

It is a fact that the productivity levels of an employee thinking of leaving for greener pastures will begin to diminish. And it will continue to do so the longer they remain in a job they are no longer fully committed to. In such instances, it is actually better for the company to wish the departing candidate well in their future endeavours and bring in somebody hungry and happy to be there. If the employer losing a talent understands this, then there is an opportunity to help replace the candidate you just helped leave.

Recruiters will need to speak with the departing candidate first, preferably during or just before their notice period. This is to ensure they are comfortable with you approaching their soon-to-be former employer. Assuming they are comfortable and their relationship with the former employer is fine, then approaching the employer with the promise of potential replacement candidates can be the ultimate solution that means everybody wins.

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