How To Guide Candidates Through Their Notice

It’s that time of year when Recruiters are at their most mobile. Q1’s breached the halfway mark. The financial year’s wrapping up soon. It’s crunch time for anyone realising they missed the New Year, New Me train.

Which reminds me of an article I came across a few months ago in the Japan Times on a company called ‘Exit’: a Tokyo startup seeking to disrupt the ‘job-for-life’ culture in Japan that sees workers trapped in roles they hate because moving on’s so frowned upon.

Less than gruntled workers reach out to Exit when they’ve had enough of their employer. Exit then get in touch with the employer, announce the worker’s notice, inform them their employee won’t be coming back and are due any holiday pay they’ve got left.


Exit charge a ¥50,000 fee for the resignation (about £350) and in their first year have taken care of between 700 and 800 exits from companies that might otherwise not have happened.

“Quitting should be something positive,” says Exit’s Co-Founder Toshiyuki Niino. “It’s good for companies, too. Employees thinking of resigning generally aren’t very productive. It can resolve the talent mismatch at an early stage and would help enhance labor market fluidity.”

So could the Recruitment industry capitalise on a potentially lucrative resignation market with a bolt-on ReQuitment service for placed candidates?


Most people change jobs every three to five years anyway. Isn’t that all millennials? Weirdly, no. A recent study found that 18 to 35 year olds were less likely to switch jobs than their Gen X counterparts.

But with the rise of the gig economy and the still unanswered question of whether it’s better to stay put or hop around accruing experience, it’s not hard to see average tenures shrinking year on year.

Do Recruiters have a duty of care to make sure their candidates are supported fully in their career move? Not just placing them but making sure they leave their role with no major hassles as well?

I’m going to stick my neck out and say yes. Especially if your competitors aren’t focused on it. Because anything you do better than them will be a key differentiator in a saturated market. And the polar opposite of a bad thing.


Get In There Early

Parting company with an employer who’s mostly been alright’s not the easiest thing to do. So cover this off with your candidate early. First call, if you can.

Ask if they’ve thought about ultimately handing in their notice. What are their thoughts on how it’ll go? Would this be a face to face chat or a resignation in writing? Are they expecting or prepared for any fallout? Is there anything that would stop them following through with leaving?

Broaching the topic now gets it out in the open and makes it easier to contend with later on.

Following up throughout the process with quick check ins – “How are you feeling about handing in your notice? Has anything changed your side?” – uncovers potential road blocks to a smooth exit once the offer lands.

The Offer

You’ve done it, you absolute legend. Hard bit’s out the way. But making sure your candidate’s all set to hand in their notice is a bit of a box ticking exercise at this point.

So reiterate the dialogue you’ve had on resigning up to now. Listen to their exit strategy and fine tune it with them. Offer to proof read their resignation letter and provide notes. Collate and disseminate articles on doing a resignation well.

We published Resigning On Your Own Terms and Quitting Your Job The Right Way for Recruiters to manage their own job search. But the same principles apply to your candidates as much as you.


The Counter Offer

Depending on the state of their company, your candidate will be countered if they’re any good. Or there might be a couple of offers in the mix from processes you either did or didn’t know about. Joe Mellor’s written you a step by step on How to Combat Counter Offers.

You’ll have to pre-empt it a fair way in advance. And candidates prone to cold feet might, in the moment, decide it’s better to stay on a bigger base than hurdle the emotional minefield of actually resigning.

Making Hard Choices

With how quickly recruitment moves, it’s easy to forget that leaving a job’s a major decision for most candidates. And the ones that aren’t in a hurry have the luxury of taking their time over their next step.

This article – TED Talks For Recruiters: Decision Making – contains a 15 minute video on the philosophy behind making tough decisions. How there’s often no such thing as an easy choice. Particularly when it comes to making career moves.

Watch it. Then have your candidates watch it. Then have an open discussion about the value they’re placing on each option in front of them.

Do the Consultant bit of your job title well but ultimately, it’s up to them.



You should now have two potential new clients of varying warmth: your happily placed candidate and their previous Line. Both of whom you’ll want to stay close to long term.

After Care

The more you can be a career coach to your candidates, the less you’ll need to worry about issues with notice, counters or rebates.

And it goes without saying but being on hand to cover every step of a career transition with regular follow up is LinkedIn recommendation gold. It means referrals. And if and when your candidate wants to move on, they’ll come to you. When they’re hiring a team of their own, same.

New Business

Approaching a placed candidate’s former Line’s a contentious issue. Some Recruiters swear by it. Some clients roundly criticise it.

Get your candidate’s permission before you do anything. If handing in their notice is still a sore subject, you risk winding up both them and a potentially very reasonable client simply by timing your run too soon.


When you speak to their former employer, tell them who you placed without bragging. Walk them through the steps you’ve take to get your candidates out of their old roles and into their new ones. Ask them if that’s a standard of service the Recruiters they work with currently provide.

Get a replacement shortlist together but don’t hit send until it’s asked for. Ideally stack it with recommendations from your candidate.

If challenged, note that employees who’re looking at an exit aren’t the most productive. Moving them on but also bringing in someone new’s not only good for business but part of the service Recruiters should be known for.

ReQuitment. The unlikely glue holding loyal candidates and extremely cheeky BD pitches together. But master it and it’s a great thing to be known for in an increasingly lively job market.