What To Do If You’re Let Go

Sometimes, there’s no rhyme or reason for falling short in a particular environment. You will in your time, have worked alongside Recruiters who are top biller material.

You may see them bill huge numbers in one place and then struggle in a new environment.


There could be loads of reasons.

Chances are, with continuous self assessment, critiques from ‘the powers that be’ and a lack of numbers on the board, a decision will eventually be made that ‘this isn’t working out’.

If you’re fairly switched on and have any modicum of self awareness, you’ll know it’s coming.

And chances are, the writing’s on the wall long before it’s suggested. You should in an ideal world leave yourself time to address any concerns before a strategic move’s made.

If however, you’ve been caught out, a once friendly hand, will rest on your shoulder accompanied by the words…

“Have you got five minutes for a chat?” 

This Is It

You’ll then have what’s referred to in recruitment as ‘the chat.’ 

Your time’s up.

It’s curtains.

And the first emotion you’re likely to experience is embarrassment.

So let’s address this first.

Walking back into an office where most people know the content of ‘the chat’ isn’t ideal. If you’ve got a kind boss, they’ll have caught you in Costa before 8am. Or at the end of the day when most people have rushed for the door.

If you haven’t got a kind boss remember this: Keep your chin up!

You’re not the first person this has happened to and you won’t be the last. And, whilst I appreciate it’s hard to realise in the heat of the moment, this is just a job. There’s more to you than this.

I imagine most people in your team will be sorry to see you go. And those that aren’t won’t want to make eye contact, lest they unwillingly enter an awkward conversation.

So, take your time. Get your things together. Leave in your own way.

Whether that means shaking hands with your colleagues. Sending a quick message round. Saving any important documents. Or changing your LinkedIn password.

Walk out with your head held high.

Leaving this job doesn’t mean you can’t do recruitment or you’re not as worthy as the people you’re leaving behind. It means in this environment, it didn’t work out. View it as that and nothing more.

The Day of

So… you’re out.

Maybe it came as a shock? Maybe it was half expected? Whatever the case, my suggestion for the immediate day you leave is ‘take it for yourself’. Do whatever you want, but claim the day as your own.

Enjoy it.

Don’t think about the job.

Don’t think about much at all. Have a beer. See friends. Relax.

If it’s been a major shock, then maybe take another day. But don’t take too long. It’s time to dust yourself off and get back on the horse.

Self Assessment

The following day, you’ll probably wake up at the usual time. As you rub the sleep out your eyes, you remember.

“I haven’t got a job. What the hell am I supposed to do now?!”

This is the critical part of your job search. Perhaps almost existentially, you should be searching yourself for a few things.

1) What went wrong with this job?

2) Could you have changed anything? If so, what would you have done?

3) Regardless of your last employer, do you enjoy Recruitment?

Self-assessment’s absolutely crucial. Not just in your job search, but in life.

For best practice… Write everything down.

Think of it as a recruitment exercise. Which it is. Just with yourself as the candidate.

What were the reasons your boss pulled the plug? Was it a lack of effort? Was it a lack of billings? Look at every variable you can. The market. The team. The management. The culture. The location. The specialism. There’s so much to draw on, and you’ll already have a pretty good idea.

The biggest question to ask yourself at this stage is this: Do you want to do Recruitment?

When it’s going well, it’s the best job in the world.

Everything you touch turns to gold and you love life.

When it’s not going well, recruitment’s tough. Really tough.

But a great team, manager, network and environment will make everything OK. And mean the bad times become more seldom.

Gold Blow

You In or Out?

If you decide you don’t want to be in Recruitment, leave.

Perhaps strange advice for a recruitment blog, but explore options outside of it. No one should feel trapped in their job and the truth is, if you don’t like recruitment, you won’t like any recruitment agency.

Plus contrary to what you probably think, you have plenty of options.

If however, you decide you do like Recruitment, stay.

So many great consultants leave the industry off the back of one bad experience, when all they need is to rectify some small areas in their job.

If you do want to put the effort in, there’s still the same level of opportunity open to you.

If not more.

Have you ever spoken to someone who’s left a recruitment company they hated? Almost universally, they look back with a wry smile.

“I should’ve left sooner.” they sigh. Or “Oh my god, it’s not all like that?! I thought I was going mad at the last place.”

Become a Hermit Crab

The humble hermit crab.

Possibly a weird analogy to draw on, but if you’ve read my articles before, you know I love an obtuse analogy. And look, these little nippers swap ‘homes’ based on how suitable they are for a certain amount of time.

If the shell fits, they sits.

And then once they’ve outgrown it, they move on.

As it’s not the Fifties anymore, ‘jobs for life’ don’t exist.

There are plastic bags that will last infinitely longer than a lot of recruitment tenures. Therefore, don’t settle. And don’t look too far into the future either. Look at the next 2-5 years.

You want to enough time to build something, but most critically a ‘shell’ that harbours your growth as a consultant.

Hermit Crab

What’s Important?

You now need to find out what’s important for you in the next role.

To do so, grab your trusty pen and paper and think about the next 2-5 years.

Write a list, in order of importance, of what you’ll find necessary in your next job.

Do you need guidance?

Is learning and development key for you now? If you’re at the start of your career then it should be.

Are you more senior? Is autonomy a better suggestion for your happiness?

Where do you want to work in the world? The world’s becoming a smaller place. That has nothing to do with global warning. Just there are companies who will sponsor you in all corners of the world. Go and explore it!

Find out what certain cities would be like to live and recruit in. Read.

What kind of industry appeals to you?

Think about your network of friends. What are you like as a character? What did you study? The world of Creative Recruitment differs vastly from Financial Executive Search.

A fast paced Tech Contract desk will be a world away from a permanent Construction desk.

Once you’ve got all of this written down it’ll guide your search and help you find a great fit in the next business. If you don’t start a business that is.

The Good News

OK. So here’s the good news…

The right place is out there.

In fact, just to keep things optimistic, there are probably thousands of ‘right places’ for your next recruitment job.

Once you’ve critically assessed your last job, your character type and know what kind of environment you’d suit, finding a place that mirrors that is all that’s left.

“But where?”

You’re thinking… How do I tell what a company’s like until I’ve already joined?

Well, you could try looking hereOr, you could speak to someone completely impartial?

On Hunted, you’re in charge of your own destiny. With more guidance, more information, impartiality and ease than anywhere in the world.

Take the power back.

Be brutally honest with yourself and you’ll find a new shell that protects you and gives you room to grow. Until the time’s right to move again.

Only this time, on your own terms