When a new hire quits before starting, it’s not all bad
Monday, June 26, 2017
You've carefully interviewed all the candidates, finally deciding on the one applicant who seemed to have all the attributes you required: maturity, dependability, social skills, customer service expertise and an internal motivation to learn and excel.
So what do you do when that new hire quits minutes before the start of her first shift on the job?
Likely, it'll be a shock to you since your last communication with her was filled with excited eagerness to have her on board. Your initial shock yields to, "Now what? I have an unexpected hole in staffing and have to redo the work schedule to cover this hole and possibly irritate other members of the team whose lives have now been impacted."
Of course, you'll be scrambling to figure out the next hire as well. Once the initial shock and irritation have dissipated, though, consider the pluses to this misstep:
1. You didn't invest time, energy and manpower in training; training is a costly endeavor, so why waste it on someone where you won't get a return on that investment? In other words, it was fortunate that you didn't invest in an employee who wasn't equally invested in your company
2. That person's loyalty and commitment to your organization was questionable. While you were preparing for her training and scheduling her shifts and informing the rest of the staff to welcome the new hire, that person was having second thoughts, possibly entertaining another job offer and not actively engaging in the job she agreed to. Consider a wedding ceremony where one person is sincerely reciting vows while the other is eyeing an attractive member of the bridal party. Unrequited commitment seldom works out.
3. It gives you an early glimpse to the true character of the person. Unless the reason was some immediate and emergent crisis, that person probably wasn't honest with you. Concerns about the job should have been aired and resolved before accepting the job offer, not climax in terminating the job at the moment you're scheduled to begin.
4. And finally, quitting work before you start confirms that it was a bad fit with the company, which would have manifested sooner or later. Consider yourself lucky that you didn't have to deal with terminating an employee, providing severance pay or even have to respond to allegations of unfair termination.
Now, having said all that, I can think of one instance in my personal life where I should have quit on the first day! The administrator who had hired me shared a similar vision to mine and reflected similar ethics and values. I felt we could accomplish much together as a team.
To my dismay, in my first hour of work, the man whom I'd admired as a new boss was being escorted out the building and his replacement ushered in. The new boss wasn't even someone I had previously met in interviews. And if that person had interviewed me, I never would have accepted the job as we were polar opposites in leadership style and ethical beliefs.
Despite my misgivings, I did not quit that first day because I worried how it would look to other prospective employers. I hadn't immediately considered that if corporate management fired the man with whom I was in sync, then they wouldn’t appreciate my qualities either.
And they didn't. I lasted four months before I quit in frustration, to the relief of corporate management who didn't believe (rightly) that I shared their philosophy.
For any employee who finds their new boss being escorted out of the building in the first hour of work, recognize that you'll probably follow suit. For an employer, the pluses to having a new employee quit before starting far outweigh the negatives.
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