Do You Already Want to Quit a New Job?

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 9.13.48 AM

If you recently started a job and you’re already thinking about leaving, you’re not alone. According to a survey by BambooHR, a human resources software company, 31 percent of new hires quit within the first six months of being on-boarded.

The top three reasons that employees bailed out:

  • They didn’t want to do the job
  • The work didn’t match the job description
  • They didn’t like the boss

Hiring is a complex endeavor for both candidate and employer. While some attrition is normal in any corporation, it may be in your best interest to try to turn things around before you give notice.

Consider the Cons

“I actually had someone quit on HipChat a few hours after they showed up,” said Vip Sandhir, founder and CEO of HighGround, an employee engagement software solutions provider.

Sandhir says the hire, a gifted product engineer, lived more than two hours from the office. During the interview process, the team asked about the distance, but the engineer reassured everyone that it wasn’t an issue. On the first day, however, the new hire instant-messaged the group: “Hey guys, this is not going to work for me. I appreciate everything. Thanks.”

After the employee left, Sandhir said, “I called him because I had to understand what happened… and he told me the commute was crappy and he didn’t want to do it.”

While the HipChat quitter isn’t an extreme example of not thinking through a job’s more negative aspects, nobody knows how they’ll feel about a job until they’re in it. If you’re aiming for a successful first six months in the position, carefully weigh any drawbacks before signing a contract. Don’t minimize your concerns: If you avoid addressing them, they may take on a life of their own once you’re actually working.

Use Your Words

Marc Fischer, founder and CEO of Dogtown Media, a mobile app developer in Los Angeles, found himself confused when a new hire quit—and wouldn’t tell him why. “He was really talented,” Fischer said. “He interned and I brought him on full time. Then he came to me and said he had to go.”

Although Fischer prodded, the employee still couldn’t articulate his reasons for leaving. It was particularly frustrating because Fischer invests a lot of time recruiting and training talent. “When I don’t get clear feedback from someone, I start thinking it must be my fault,” he said. “And if I don’t have a good exit interview, then I can’t course-correct for the future.”

In order to increase retention of good hires, both Sandhir and Fischer eschew more traditional strategies for onboarding and evaluating new employees. They make sure candidates understand the scope and expectations of their roles, and encourage open communication by checking in with new hires at 30-, 60-, and 90-day intervals.

While these CEOs are proactive, it’s still incumbent upon employees to be candid about their experiences on the job. “At some point in your career, you have to be able to have an adult conversation about how you feel,” Sandhir said. “I’ve had conversations with employees and a lot of times it’s politics or coworkers, sometimes it’s the work. You have to listen because you want that person to stay and be productive.”

Speaking up is often the path to getting what you want. Fischer cites a developer who asked point-blank for a raise to match market value. “It hurts from a financial standpoint to bump up his salary that much, but it makes perfect sense because I want to retain him,” Fischer said. “He’s that good and I want to reward him for adding value.”

Better Off Gone

On the other hand, sometimes leaving is for the best. Sandhir had a senior-level hire quit after four weeks. The reason: her former employer offered her a founder position after receiving an influx of cash from an angel investor. Sandhir could only offer congratulations.

It’s also possible that you’ll find yourself in a situation that is simply a very poor fit. As a mentor once advised Fischer, if someone wants to quit, they’re going to be gone before they even give notice—and if they stay, they can’t be counted on. If it’s really not working out, your lack of commitment will be evident and no one will be getting what they need or want. If that’s the case, there’s no shame in leaving quickly; it’s likely your smartest option.

4 Responses to “Do You Already Want to Quit a New Job?”

  1. Sad you never write about IT support and all the negatirive things around it.
    Career prospects: offshored, replaced by cheaper younger folks, automated out of job or simply the business goes the downsizing path…

  2. Russell Farmer

    I had a job where I spent 3 full days going through training videos and the first week on the job was a nightmare. It was nothing like they told me. The other employees said forget the videos, and policy papers I studied,, it does not work that way here. There were serious safety and health issues and the other employees complained constantly but nothing was being done to fix any of he problems. When considering leaving I was concerned about leaving too soon but knew the longer I was here the more I would not be using key skill sets and the more I would be delaying finding a job I really like. I thought about just toughing it out for six months but after two weeks I decided I just needed to get out of there. The HR person was very nice and understood all the problems and why it was not a good fit but unfortunately she had been there so long she felt trapped and could not drive any changes.

    After that job I made sure I vetted any new jobs I was looking at and made sure I read every review and information I could find before accepting an offer.

  3. John S Covey

    Here’s the reality folks. Most of this falls on the managers out there.
    If you are going to go through a hiring process for any job that makes an impact on your business, then you need to do it authentically. That means that you as a manager own that process, and you don’t just go through the motions. You have to be sure that the job description adequately matches the position. You have to be sure that you understand and are in alignment with the team culture. And you have to approach the process with a commitment to excellence. For your company, for the prospective employee, for the existing team and most of all for yourself.
    As a job seeker, you can’t always rely on a company to be authentic when the post a position. Count on poor process, poor communications and little or no effective feedback. That can often lead to discouragement while you are seeking a new position. More so if you are lucky enough to get an interview, only to find that impersonal email or snail-mail “we’ve decided to move in another direction.”
    What I am seeing in the workforce in general, and in the technology field specifically, is a dearth of leadership. I’m not talking about the top managers, the corporate explorers nor the entrepreneurs. I’m talking about individual leadership as expressed by simple and common decencies that EVERY leader should exude, yet seemingly so many lack.
    As a manager, before you even start, you have to assess and examine that position. Every job posting is an opportunity. It’s a chance to make sure that the vacant position is still what you really need, and that the description of that position is really what you want. I’ve seen where over time a programmer has really become a project manager, and a technician has really become an analyst. When an opening comes, this is a great time to assess what your team needs. Realign the position to the group or rewrite the job description. If you get a pool of respondents that don’t match your needs, is it really their fault? Or have you not really thought out what you want? They don’t know your team. You do. It’s on you.
    Get back to every respondent to your job posting. Give them something. Yes, we know, in this day and age the internet has exponentially increased your respondent pool. That does not excuse poor form. An email, a snail mail, even an auto response that the submission has been received is better than going dark. What does that say about your corporate culture if you don’t at least acknowledge a job submission? Make the effort. It’s not that hard.
    Plan ahead. Post in your response how long the process will take and live by the plan you made when you posted the job. It is utterly unacceptable to post a mid-level attractive position and then go on a sabbatical for three weeks when the posting closes. Plan your work and work your plan is no different for a hiring process than it is for a system implementation. Know in advance what your process will be, who will be responsible for which tasks, and how long until you want to make an offer. If you haven’t got that very clearly defined; you are not ready to post that job.
    Organize a team process for reviewing candidates. Meet ahead of time to discuss the review process. The day and age of the manager picking the puppy and everyone working around it is pretty much over. In the IT field now the emphasis is much more on personal involvement, empowerment and collaboration. I’m old enough to remember the “big blue” days where every process you followed came from the big blue binder that IBM provided for you; right down to your department org chart. Culture fit wasn’t a problem. Either you wore the grey suit and blue tie, or vice versa. Problem solved. That doesn’t work in today’s world. Fit is a team concept. Make it a team process.

    And lastly; feedback. When you are sifting the respondents, notify those candidates that you won’t be considering right up front. It’s a decency. Letting them swing while you consider someone else, well, it just feels improper to me. I think we should be better managers than that; better people than that. I think some managers let B or C level respondents dangle because they feel that they might need to drop to the group if their A list fails or bails out. The fear is that they may have to repost; and since many managers look at hiring like a root canal process they would rather keep the backup in the wings. Now I ask you, 3 months down the road, are you going to be satisfied that you hired the only one left instead of the right person for the job? And if that employee leaves because of dissatisfaction, is it their fault? Or yours for lacking leadership?
    A few years back, I found a company that I really liked (on paper). I tried very hard to get a high level position that had exciting responsibilities. The job offered a raise, travel, bonuses; I was ecstatic to get the job. I started on a Monday. On Thursday I sent my wife the following email:
    “I have made the biggest mistake of my entire career coming here.”
    The job was nothing like the posting. The manager I worked for was never clear about what he wanted out of that position. Neither was the manager over him. The best way to describe the work culture was dysfunctional. And if you looked up the definition of “hostile work environment” it would have a picture of this place displayed.
    Now I accept 100% of the responsibility for my mistake. I made the best of it, and got out. But that company (I find out now) has a long history of churning through people. None of the people who reported to me are still at the company today, and the manager I reported to is long gone. So is the manager he reported to. So hey, I swung and missed. But I was faked out by a bad pitch. A company that was not only out of touch with the values it espoused on it’s website, but one with a lack of senior leadership, ethics and values.
    I printed that email I sent to my wife out. And I have it framed on the wall in my office. It’s a reminder to me personally to take greater care in my own career. Because it’s not just me who relies on what I do. But most importantly to me, it stands as an example of how NOT to be a manager. I owe my best A game to my company in the hiring process. But I owe it to myself to do it authentically because that’s what a leader does.

  4. John, I’m glad you pay attention to these details. My last serious job search was about six or seven years ago (2009-2010), and other than an automated “thank you for applying” email, I never received any reply from any of the companies that I applied to. Crickets. The only response I received was from the company that hired me. And even then, I had applied to other positions within the company, and received no response.
    I would not quickly leave a new job unless I was blatantly lied to about something significant, or unless the company was involved in illegal or grossly unethical behavior.