what to do about new hires who quit after their first week

A reader writes:

Twice recently, we’ve had new graduates accept a job at our company then quit after their first week with no notice. Should I say something about how unprofessional this is, or let them learn the hard lesson on their own? Or can we do something during the hiring profess to make it clear this isn’t acceptable?

It’s frustrating for us, but also damaging to them as this is a very small industry where employees move between companies frequently. Burning a bridge that early in their career is going to hurt them badly in a few years either when they try to come back here, or when someone from here is now working at their next company. And yes, it’s absolutely going to happen — our entire industry is set up for this constant shift and flow between companies depending on who has active projects.

I wrote back and asked if the letter-writer has a sense of why it’s happening:

The industry is one where each company is working on a distinct project. Some of these projects are flashier than others. My guess is they say yes to our company and sign on, then get offered a job at a company that is working on a flashier project.

Where this gets even more unfortunate is that most of the people in this industry aren’t full-time staff, but per-project contractors. (And yes, we’re following the law there.) That said, everyone is treated with full benefits like retirement and health insurance. It’s just an industry where you get hired for a fixed duration instead of as ongoing. That leads to the huge company mobility (since many people, particularly juniors, swap companies between projects), but also means that it’s very, very frowned upon to break a contract instead of completing the project. I’m frustrated for what these abrupt departures mean for my teams when they’re suddenly short-staffed, but I’m also concerned that these new graduates don’t understand how quickly they’re going to get a reputation for being too flakey to hire at all. They aren’t facing any explicit repercussions for bailing to another company after just one week, but they’re trashing their reputations. That they might not even realize it (and may never realize it with the opaqueness of so many hiring processes) is why we’re trying to figure out if and how we should say something to them.

You know, normally if someone wrote in asking about what, if anything, to say to new hires who quit after a week, I’d say that it’s not your job to teach people who no longer work for you any lessons about their careers — and that if you framed it that way, it would be likely to come across as just reaching for a way to penalize them or to make them feel the consequences of their actions.

But given the specific set of facts here — that your whole industry works this way, that these are new grads who might not yet understand the norms and expectations of your field, and that they may in fact misunderstand because they do see people moving from one company to another a lot — there’s a stronger case for speaking up.

In a situation without those factors, you could say something like, “I’m surprised and disappointed to hear that, since you’d signed on with us, we’d rejected our other candidates, and we were counting on you to keep your commitment.” But in this specific case, I think you could broaden it to, “I know you’re new to the field, so I want to mention that doing this can really harm your reputation. It’s a small industry and breaking a contract is the kind of thing that can make it hard for you to get hired in the future.”

Also, if you’re doing contracts with these new hires (unusual in the U.S. if they were employees, but normal for contractors), the whole point of the contract is to lay out the terms both sides are agreeing to. Are you making it clear they’re making a binding commitment that they’re contractually obligated to keep? If not, I’d take a look at whether you can change something in your contracts to deter this.

{ 299 comments… read them below }

  1. Eillah

    I’d honestly take a hard look at employee satisfaction – does your company treat employees well?

    1. ThatGirl

      It’s hard to imagine this is a factor so quickly. The suspicion that they’re trading up for a “flashier” project rings true – I know a lot of college grads think they will be working on hot, exciting things fresh out of school, when reality is you often start on the boring stuff.

      1. Mary Richards

        Exactly. Not every gig is glamorous, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the company’s fault.

      2. Lance

        Even besides that, unless something really bad is going on, one single week wouldn’t normally be enough to bail (and to bail on a contract, no less). Though I am curious, for the OP: is this an aberration with these two particular hires, and several others have stayed on, or has this been the past two that you’ve brought on?

        1. AnnaBananna

          Actually the timing is perfect if you’re actually just waiting on a written offer/contract to show up.

          That said, I would be crystal clear in the interviewing stage, not waiting until after they left (!), to explain how the industry works. Further, if the whole industry is project based explaining that bailing means that they’re no longer eligible to be hired on future projects…..ever…. is a real concrete consequence, unlike something ephemeral like ‘damaged reputation’. Perhaps this info, if it can’t be added to interviewing questions/answers, could be rolled into first day onboarding by their assigned trainer/mentors?

      3. Fortitude Jones

        This. As stated above me, one week on the job usually isn’t enough time for a new hire to assess whether they’ve just walked into a dumpster fire unless something really extreme happens, which I would hope the OP would have mentioned if it did. Otherwise, my first thought was, “They accepted the job knowing they really wanted to work at Company B, B hadn’t made a decision yet, and once B came around with a better offer (probably financially as well), they jumped ship.” Alison gets so many questions here that asks if this is a terrible thing to do, so this is more likely the case.

        1. Token Archaeologist

          I would disagree that one week isn’t enough to asses whether you’ve walked into something bad, unless something extreme is going on. I 100% knew after the first week that the job I am currently in 1) totally did not match the job description 2) that the organization was not going to be a goof fit for me long term and 3) that there were potentially some things wrong with the organization as a whole. Nothing totally untoward happened that first week. But a bunch of little things were adding up to make me have a distinct bad feeling about the job. (My response to “how was your first day? was actually. “I don’t know. I have a bad feeling about this.”) I couldn’t pin point exactly what the problems were in that first week. But I was 100% sure there were problems.

          I am not a recent grad, and I know not to job hop if I can help it… but if someone had offered me a job that I thought would be a better fit in that first week, I would have jumped on it! And I honestly don’t think that would have been wrong. I wouldn’t have been doing myself, or the company, any good by staying longer.

          My point being, that if people are repeatedly leaving after a week, especially if its people filling the same position, its probably a good idea to do some reflection on the job and see if there is a problem. There may not be… maybe they are just clueless recent graduates. But there could also be a fixable issue that isn’t being addressed.

          In week two I found out that I am person number 9 in my position in the last 10 years… and that my manager knew the job description didn’t match the job, but used it anyway. I’ve been here 5 months now, and I really wish I had left that first week when I had the gut feeling something was wrong.

          1. Observer

            These are fixed term projects – unless the place is a true dumpster fire or abusive, it just doesn’t make sense to jump so quickly.

            1. Fortitude Jones

              Exactly. Stick it out for six months or whatever and then roll out with your reputation still intact.

              1. Person

                I did that at a company I should have left from immediately after realizing how bad it was & ended up in therapy, so maybe that’s not the greatest advice in every situation.

                1. DerJungerLudendorff

                  True, but we’re also talking about new grads here.
                  If they had that level of foresight, then they may not have bailed so quickly in the first place considering their industry

            2. Jules the 3rd

              And it’s mostly new graduates – their meters aren’t likely to be tuned enough to pick up problems in the first week.

              ‘Flashier projects’ makes sense, and I would mention it as part of the interviewing.
              “The industry is heavily project based, with short-term contracts being the norm. This means that if you don’t like a contract or company, you can easily change when the project ends. The flip side of this is that walking out on a contract before it ends is likely to limit your future employment options.”

            3. Working Mom Having It All

              This is all the more reason to question whether something might be really, really wrong. People are leaving fixed term contract positions, in quick succession, and apparently just at this particular company/in this particular role.

            4. Impy

              But why are so many people assuming the workplace is *not* abusive? Even as a new grad, I knew it was unprofessional to leave after a week. I wouldn’t have done it unless something truly terrible had happened. I think OP should at least check that nothing egregious is going on rather than just assuming their employees are unprofessional magpies.

              1. Jen2

                Because it’s not a likely assumption from the letter. If OP had come off as unreasonably angry in the letter, commenters might be more likely to jump to that conclusion. Or if OP mentioned more experienced employees leaving suddenly as well. But since it was just two entry level employees, the most likely explanation is the one OP suggested.

                1. Chris S

                  I don’t know. Maybe the OP has settled for the status quo in the “industry” and has not questioned its practices. Maybe it is a problem with the industry itself. Think about how badly the college professorship industry has devolved in the past two decades. People get chewed up being “associated professors” with no benefits while tenured positions have almost disappeared. This is a problem with colleges, not with those they hire.

              2. Victoria

                Agreed. If it was a one off, I can understand assuming it was one unprofessional magpie, but twice recently? I’d be seeing if there is something going on that is making new grads think they have walked into a dumpster fire and thinking they need out RIGHT NOW.

          2. Flash Bristow

            Yeah I’ve known after a week that things are screwed. For example, a boss who I adored working with moved to a new company, then actively sought me out to join him, offered more than I asked, and the interview went “hey Flash. So you’ve got the job; what shall we talk about?” Teammate who was present looked rather flabbergasted but handled it well!

            I was delighted to move for many reasons: it was a step up career wise and financially; it was in central London so an easier commute and an area that makes me feel alive; and my partner was still at old job, and now I was doing something entirely in my own right (not that this had been an issue but I felt I should move on independently).

            Day 1. I arrive at New job. I am all excited! I hear that Wonderful boss has decided to retire at the end of the week. Replacement boss is awful. (I could detail why but trust me?)

            If I could have returned to Old Job that week, or found a new one, I would’ve. Or at least the week after, when I’d experienced working for New Boss.

            I stuck it out for 18 months til the opportunity for a favourable voluntary redundancy package came up, but damn I wish I’d been able to go back to Old Job (no chance; I’d trained up a replacement) or looked elsewhere at once.

            I should add, I was in the ISP industry and many of us knew each other from various forums and meetups, and everywhere I worked I met someone I’d been with before – so if I’d screwed up it *would* have got around. But also in a way the vibe was like family. Many people left the company I was at (the awesome one) and came back within 6 months… wish Id’ve done similar.

            Now, I know that’s somewhat different to the situation OP describes. But to answer the comment above, I can totally understand people wanting to leave within a week. If the new work is not what you expected – and having awesome boss replaced by [Boss who is pals with his team, knows nothing of my team or our skills but bosses us anyway] is a good reason why it wasn’t right – I can understand moving on. If youre sure it won’t work, why give it longer to be Really sure? Isnt it easier to cut losses pronto, and leave it off your CV too?

            Ok they have burnt bridges doing so. And it’s kind to explain that to them. But they’ve gone now and I guess they will find their own way for better or worse.

            Right now I’d be focusing on why they left and how to address this in the hiring process so future applicants aren’t likely to do the same, whatever the cause may be.

            1. Observer

              I agree that there are times when leaving after a week can make sense. And I agree that the OP should look at their hiring process and the environment to make sure that it’s not something internally that’s driving a problem. On the other hand, in most cases even with a job that is obviously not what you want, sticking it out for a defined period of time should be doable.

          3. Mama Bear

            Even if you found a new gig, wouldn’t you at least send an email that “effective immediately” you were leaving?

            1. Who Plays Backgammon?

              I once replaced someone who left a voice mail after one week that they wouldn’t be back. I thought probably another place she’d applied at had made her a better offer. But she might have been just smart. I was told so many lies about that job. My first two weeks I only got part-time hours because the person who was supposed to train me only worked part time (go figure). Trainer had worked there before twice and wanted her old job back, but the dept. wouldn’t hire her a third time. Her “training” was worthless. She deliberately held back information and months later a coworker told me Trainer had gone to Boss after my first week and said I wasn’t capable of the job. It was NOT a nice place. No one had lasted a full year in that dept. for years.

        2. Venus

          I wonder if both quit within a few days of each other? If so, then it makes it even more likely that they quit after getting an offer from Company B (presuming that hiring of new-grads is done at about the same time).

            1. JSPA

              that’s true–and actually, they could have been plants from the get-go. (Though if it wasn’t a sexy project, that probability drops markedly.) Every time I see “no photos or recordings” signs in my local supermarkets, I’m reminded that this sort of espionage is a thing.

            2. Flash Bristow

              True. Or just save on any training / recruitment costs. Not quite the same, but I worked in the pub industry. A new pub was opening and a huge recruitment drive took place. I was hired (along with the other dozen youngest / cutest, rather than the 50 others who had experience…)

              Anyway we had a month of training, then a week of dry and wet runs before the grand opening. At this point we are all skilled and keen…

              On opening night and during busy evenings that week, owner from pub down the road said “come work for me. You’re getting £x; I’ll pay 1 and a half times that”. He didn’t ask everyone but watched and asked a good few of us.

              I didn’t take it, being loyal (wish I had, long story) – but he would have saved on a big recruitment event and a month of solid training, to get young, keen skilled workers.

              So yeah I can believe other companies easily do this. Moral, no! Practical – kinda?

        3. Amethystmoon

          Right. Years ago, I had a dumpster fire job and I gave it a month before quitting, just in case it was a bad week for them or something. It was the only job I’ve ever quit. Every once in a while, I look at the job ads, and I still see repeatedly the ad for the job I left. They can’t keep a permanent person there and it’s totally the way employees are treated.

      4. Falling Diphthong

        I could also see recent grads picking up that the industry norm is to move around frequently between companies, and not catching the detail that that timing is between projects.

        It seems like an industry that has unusual norms, and new grads taking a bit to pick up all the nuances of that is to be expected. (Whereas for most regular jobs, I’d go with asking if the application process is misleading about the type of work done, like a ‘content developer’ whose work is mostly cold-call sales.)

        1. TechWorker

          I could see that if it were a couple of months but surely no-one thinks taking a job for a week is normal…?

          1. Flash Bristow

            It isn’t normal, but it really can be enough to know – and if you move fast you won’t have a gap on your CV either.

            Not saying it is right to do that, but certainly a week can be enough, depending on the situation (I outlined one above in iSP industry and others have given examples too).

      5. Kate H

        As someone who works for a company where people quitting without notice their first week, or even their first day, is a normal occurrence because of a toxic environment, this was my first thought as well. In that case, I should think that would be obvious to LW.

        1. KAW

          Agreed, unless LW is part of the toxicity. I hate saying that because I don’t know LW or anything about them, but it’s IME when a boss is part of the driving force behind workplace dysfunction, they usually have no idea.

          1. Impy

            Or is just several levels above and hasn’t clocked it. OP doesn’t sound malicious but if she’s several layers above she might just not be aware.

    2. Taryn

      I think it’s pretty clear from this letter writer that this situation is very different- that was my initial thought after seeing the title, but I don’t think that has anything to do with it after reading the actual letter

    3. Rusty Shackelford

      It seems unlikely that someone could start a job, realize they’re not being treated well, and find another job, all within one week. The LW’s theory makes a lot more sense.

      1. Quake Johnson

        I don’t see anywhere in the letter that they 100% have new jobs, it seems that’s just the LW’s own speculation for why they’re leaving.

      2. MusicWithRocksInIt

        More likely they started a job, realized they didn’t love it and got an offer for another position that they were trying to get before they were offered this job and decided to go with that one instead.

    4. mark132

      I definitely think this is a question worth asking, it’s hard to establish a trend with just 2 people. But some introspection would be valuable.

    5. Cranky Neighbot

      Strongly agreed. I would also probably not use the “you’ll hurt your reputation” argument – it comes off as pretty manipulative. Instead of trying that tactic, think of what you can do to make your workplace more attractive.

    6. JSPA

      Or, with a nod to Doonesbury and the Mr. Butts recurring thread: whether there’s some aspect of the project or the public perception of the company that they find even slightly ethically awkward or compromising or “not in line with their personal brand.”

      That holds whether it’s a character or storyline in a video game, an ad for a candidate, policy or product that they realize they have issues with, a highly visible person at the company who’s being pilloried for some past infraction.

      I’d actually reach out and check in with them both because if there’s a problem with the assignment beyond “not flashy,” you’d want to be made aware of it, and because there’s a worse possibility–that someone, somewhere in the power structure was legit creepy to them, and it was less awkward to quit than to bring it up.

      Maybe frame it as, “As you know our industry runs on short term contracts. People count on being re-hirable at a later date, and make great efforts not to leave before finishing their project or reaching the end of their contract period. We’re worried whether there’s something specific about your project or your experience here that was problematic enough that it drove you to quit, rather than bringing the issue up for discussion. We’re committed to fixing problems of that magnitude ASAP, and your honest feedback would be deeply valued.” Maybe even add, “and held in confidence.”

      If they essentially say, “I didn’t feel I could be effective and valued in the role,” fine, you have your answer. If they say, “I could not write copy for a candidate who supports X / I could not work for a company that also works on the BDF account / I could not animate a character in a way that’s untrue to her race as described in the book, and the supposed hero’s behavior in the story line is rapey,” that’s also legit. In the unlikely event there’s something really substantive– “Jack in the mailroom followed me home and stared at my window, and my friend told me that his grandfather owns the company” or “I saw one of my coworkers xeroxing her ass on the copier”–you’ll be super glad you asked.

    7. Working Mom Having It All

      Thissssss.

      I, too, have a background in a field where people tend to work on a per-project or vaguely contract-adjacent basis (TV and film production), though I’m now on the corporate side. While, yes, to an extent people want to work on the sexiest projects, at the end of the day, a gig’s a gig. And there’s always going to be another gig in the future. It seems highly unlikely to me that people are hopping back into the job market because they want to work on Stranger Things and not Young Sheldon, based purely on cool factor. Now, yeah, to an extent prestige projects come with perks you can’t get elsewhere (bigger budgets mean higher pay, projects that perform well translate to more work down the road without having to hustle as hard for it, big names on your resume can help make it clear that you’re legit, etc), but for the most part most people fresh out of school can’t afford to be that picky, and people who have a little experience know that a job is a job. I’m wondering what is creating the conditions in your industry where new grads are both attracted to the idea of jumping ship quickly but also heavily penalized for doing that later. (If the issue is that the sexier projects are truly understood to be better, then it sounds like it’s not going to be viewed negatively to leave lesser gigs.)

      1. Avasarala

        TV and film is exactly what I thought of. As you say it’s tough when people are encouraged to jump ship for big roles but heavily penalized for doing it mid-contract. Sounds like a lot of people have to make tough decisions if the timing isn’t perfect, that’s pretty hard on the individual.

        1. Working Mom Having It All

          At least in my experience, it isn’t hard, really. All other things being equal (you weren’t hired under false pretenses, it’s not a complete shitshow of a project, the checks aren’t bouncing, you’re not being harassed), a gig’s a gig. While there are some circumstances where people would be wooed or poached away, it’s usually circumstances that are pretty clear and don’t create this type of bad blood. For example I had to take a quick gig as an office PA while looking for work as a producer/director’s assistant. A month in, I got a call about a director’s assistant job which of course I took, and they replaced me with one of the MANY other people out there who want to be PAs, no harm no foul. No bridges burnt.

          If the problem is that there isn’t a pool of other new grads to easily bring in when this happens, or if this is happening in numbers that are affecting anything, it sounds like they may want to consider either how they are hiring (is the job description accurate? are they hiring people who are overqualified?), or what inducement they are giving people to stay. If literally any other job is seen as “something better came along”, people will leave. Or, yeah… are you sure there isn’t a handsy producer poisoning your whole operation?

          1. Chris S

            If this was really a talent based industry, I don’t think people leaving would be such a problem. It sounds like it maybe is a talent-adjacent industry where they try to emulate emulate the hiring and firing practices of a talent based industry but aren’t able to offer the same kind of inducements. I have friends who started as PAs and ended up as head-writers on shows. They were all really f’ing smart and would not have jumped ship on a contract before completion without reason. Then again, if they had the talent to be hired by better shows, they would move unless they had a strong tie to a mentor or somebody similar on the same project. In one case, somebody I know had finished writing the last season of an Emmy winning show and started on another before the prequel became realized. Obviously, being on of the main writers on the first show, they left the secondary one to work on the prequel. But they were far from a recent graduate.

      2. Bees Knees

        I also work in tv production and that was my first thought as to what industry it could be. But if new, entry level hires are ditching out after the first week in my experience it’s for one of two reasons.
        1) they are getting offered a job more in line with their goals that they absolutely should take, like taking an office PA job and then getting offered a job as a writers PA.
        2) you’ve got a higher up who’s an asshole or handsy.

        In both cases they are totally right to leave and if I was someone advising them I would encourage them to do so. Truly one of the best moments of my life was getting to turn down a job offer from a surprise massage loving producer because I finally had enough savings that I could just say no to work.

    8. Melissa

      I am on the opposite side of this. I was let go, but I cannot say I was blindsided by it after she fired my team lead a week after I started, then two more ladies all in the month of December! Then finally the new team lead was hired and I was let go in March. The interesting thing is that my job has already been opened again in May and the Team Lead position opened up in June. I never took down the job notifications from LinkedIn so that is how I know. YET, it is on me to explain to a new employer why that job did not work out. SMH!

    9. Chris S

      It sounds to me like whatever industry this is… They are doing it wrong at an industry level. If you have this issue, it cannot be purely explained by “flashier” projects. It seems like the incentive and risk/reward ratio is not set up correctly and the “industry” operates more like a cartel than a free-market enterprise.

  2. Mary Richards

    This sounds like my industry. And as someone who makes hiring decisions and talks to others who make hiring decisions, I absolutely would take this into consideration. Especially because I’ve worked on plenty of the less flashy projects. So yeah, since they’re new, I think they should understand what this means for their careers.

    1. Koko

      Plus — it’s a contract! Breaking a contract is almost universally frowned on, regardless of industry, and absolutely jeopardize the person’s ability to get contract work again if another employer gets even a whiff of this behaviorz

  3. Buttons

    I would also mention that due to the nature of the industry and how frequently people move between companies and projects this could prevent them from being hired back for any future project at your company.

    1. Rainbow Roses

      This is what I was thinking. If people usually have to loop back to the same companies over and over, those new grads just burned a bridge with the OP’s company. What if they need a new job later?

      1. Chris S

        I think there has to be more going on than just the OP’s position here. It doesn’t pass the smell test. If the “industry” in question was at least named… Maybe… But it seems like even the response was overly opaque. What is so “special” about this industry that it can’t follow normal rules of the marketplace? Is it actually a free market or only quasi-free?

    2. OhNo

      It would be ideal if the company mentioned this before the contract was signed, just so everyone knows the deal going in.

      I can see new employees, fresh out of school, thinking of it like some casual jobs, where they’re always so desperate for warm bodies that they’ll hire you back regardless. It might come across that way to folks who aren’t familiar with the inner workings of the profession.

      1. Not So NewReader

        I am concerned that this is not being mentioned as part of the interview/hiring process. “We have had a few people jump ship after a week. We think it is important for you to really think about the offer before accepting because it can damage your professional reputation to leave abruptly like that.”

        Here, OP, you don’t need to know why they are leaving and you just inform new comers not to do this.

        1. JSPA

          That might be…self defeating, though. “People leave us like rats leave a sinking ship” is one potential interpretation, and if a potential hire has two offers, they’re going to go with the one that’s not giving any sign of taking on water and disembarking rodents.

          1. marmalade

            Yeah, my thoughts exactly. As a candidate, I’d wonder why multiple people were apparently bailing so fast. That would be a huge red flag with me.

          2. Sarah N

            I don’t think you need to discuss the prior candidates in detail to do this though. It could be something like “I just want to be clear on the hiring dynamics of the industry—you may already be aware of this, but I want to be very transparent since not all new graduates know this. [Explain what OP outlined.] Does committing to this project for the next 6 months make sense for you?”

      2. Sarah N

        I thought this too. Especially with new grads who may not fully understand the industry dynamics, it makes sense to discuss this during the interview process in some detail. At least then if they still decide to jump ship, they’re doing it with full info.

  4. Pete

    I’m a little concerned about the red flag on the writer’s side, which was passed over: maybe this place is a horrible place to work? Maybe they sell one version of the work culture during recruitment, but the reality is very different.
    I work at a company that owns a handful of smaller brands, and one of those brands had a similar issue of bringing people on and shedding them very quickly. HR was asleep at the wheel until recently and realized it’s because the management was terrible.
    It’s strange that the writer isn’t doing exit interviews (or at least a conversation, even after one week) and only guessing at why people are leaving. I suspect that they don’t want to know because they’re not without fault themselves – if they did want to know, they would ask.
    If the writer wants people to stop leaving, they should ask these folks why they’re leaving instead of guessing at reasons and admonishing them.

    1. AngryAngryAlice

      Yeah I agree with this. I feel like if the industry is as small as LW says, it would be very easy to ask around and confirm if these people left for a flashier contract. If they didn’t, that could really indicate a huge problem in LW’s company that they are unaware of.

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      I mean, it’s two people, both new grads. It’s always good to reflect on your culture but I don’t think two new grads leaving quickly because they were offered more exciting projects (assuming they really moved right to those projects) is a strong indicator that the culture is horrible.

      1. Trying a New Name

        I’m disinclined to think it’s an issue with OP’s company culture, mostly because new grads are too new to the workplace to know if a company is toxic or not. See: all the letters on this site from new grads working in offices full of bees because they assume it’s normal. Leaving for a more attractive project sounds much more likely, imo

        1. Antilles

          Yeah, that struck me too. The inexperience factor actually plays in twice here:
          (1) New grads usually tend to lean more towards the side of “this is fine, everything’s fine, right?” even if it’s not, because they don’t have a background of ‘normal’ to compare against.
          (2) New grads are probably less cognizant of the potential hazards of breaking a contract and jumping ship within a week, since they don’t have the understanding of industry norms to realize there’s a perception gap between leaving on good terms at the end of a contract and jumping ship within a week.

    3. Mary Richards

      If this is anything like my industry, exit interviews are just not a thing. That’s not how working in my field works, and I think it would be really weird to ask for one.

      I can see exactly where OP is coming from because yes, there are lousy places to work (plenty of them!), but there are also places where the work is just not as cool. Company X has a much more fun, hotter project that sounds like it’d be a better place to be, but the person already committed to Company Y, which is doing the exact same type of job—it just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

      1. Granger

        “Company X has a much more fun, hotter project”
        I agree and isn’t it possible (likely) that the employees are connected in the real world / social media, and they have friends at Company X? And/or that ex-employee 1 let ex-employee 2 that the grass seems to be greener at X?

        1. Mary Richards

          Sure, but it doesn’t even have to be that secret. Company X could be making the most anticipated movie of next summer, while Company Y is making a perfectly good film, but not as exciting a film.

    4. Jerk Store

      The LW said they quit without notice – you can’t really make a grown up stay and sit down for an exit review when they are essentially walking out.

    5. The New Wanderer

      There are plenty of stories here of how people don’t tell the (whole) truth during exit interviews so it’s really unlikely they would say “Oh it’s because Manager X is awful.” And to be fair, after only a week of employment? Without specifics like “Manager X used the N-word 6 times my first day” I’d be far more inclined to see the person leaving as the potential problem. Even if asked, these people could just say something generic. Even saying they are leaving for a better opportunity doesn’t help anything.

      1. MusicWithRocksInIt

        Having once quit a job with almost no notice (I wanted to give a week, but my manager disappeared and I had no way to contact him and no idea who else to talk to – so there were plenty of reasons to leave) was I honest in my exit interview? Nope, my manager was too busy being sexist and insulting. But if someone had called me from HR (not my manager) once I was out and said they were concerned about why I left so soon and if I could be honest with them they wouldn’t hold it against me, then I would have opened up and told them the job was nothing like what they sold me in the interview, that I hated working packed in so close to other people and that my manager was non-existent.

    6. Daisy

      Yeah, the other thing I could think of that would make someone quit so quickly and decisively is if there’s some sort of blatant harassment going on. Often younger, less experienced, more poweless people tend to get targeted for that sort of thing, and the OP might not be aware of it.

        1. Who Plays Backgammon?

          And applicants should know they’re talking to an employer whose newbies are leaving after a week, at a stage where presumably at least some of them would hang onto that paycheck with both hands if they had rent to pay, student loans to pay, etc. If I’d known the turnover in a couple of my previous jobs, I would have run like hell and not kidded myself that I was going to be Different, the one who could fix it all.

    7. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)

      I’d check if someone pulled a bait and switch with the new grads. My first job was supposed to be in .Net and turned out to be legacy PHP systems maintenance, which are two (very) different technologies. There were a couple of people who resigned in their first week, while the rest were benched for eternity and then let go for stupid reasons (like checking Twitter while on the clock).

    8. Observer

      If I’m understanding “without notice” correctly, there really is not time for exit interviews anyway, since they are basically just leaving.

    9. Denise

      I tend to agree with Pete. The LW is emphasizing that they are new grads, but who is to say that that has anything to do with their decision to leave? And who is to say that they have not had jobs before and don’t understand workplace norms? (many college and graduate students have been employed before leaving school). The LW is assuming they are doing this out of inexperience but hasn’t actually spoken to them about it. It seems at least just as likely that the company/management is the common denominator here as much as the two individuals’ ages.

      I would first actually ask them if they would be willing to discuss their reasons for leaving and *then* if they say something that confirms the LW’s suspicions, only then proceed to lecture them about burning bridges. Also, is it possible that this company is significantly underpaying or has other conditions that are below average in this industry which would incentivize new employees to take a better offer elsewhere? Ultimately, you cannot guilt people into acting against their own best interest because that is what is beneficial to your company. While this may have been a short-term inconvenience for your organization, the decision they made may have had much more significance to these two people longterm. Maybe they are flakes, but again, you should at least ask them about their reasons before assuming that.

      I also get the impression that these employees are not offered actual employment contracts with a specified duration as much as they are engaged as contractors to work on specific projects (could be wrong). Employers have become very accustomed to having the privilege of expecting loyalty without offering any guarantee to employees of continued employment. Perhaps if the company were bound to the contractors just as strongly as the company wants the contractors to be bound to them, this would be less of an issue.

    10. Koko

      I’m going to say NAH. I’ve worked on contract. I have friends who depend on contract work. I assure you, if you are a writer working on contract and want to get future contract work you never even think about breaking it — you decide you’ll never work with that employer again, maybe, but you break a contract and you risk destroying your ability to have an independent career. And one week in? On contract? Nah. These are just inexperienced people.

      1. Mongrel

        “And one week in? On contract? Nah. These are just inexperienced people.”

        Yeah, I think a lot of people are hearing zebras.
        What’s more likely, two people who are new to the workforce being naive or having such a toxic workplace that it makes two new starters quit within a week without a word while being hidden from everyone else?
        Since OP said the industry was that interwoven, then either the entire industry is that toxic OR they’d probably heard back through the grapevine about that thing that X did that made the new hires walk out.

        Also, is it feasible to talk to the people they went to so they can get a talk from their current bosses? “We realise you wanted to work on this shiny project but you ditched other company to do it. Do you understand that they may have the next big, shiny project but won’t want to hire you as you’ve already breached contract with them?”

        1. Denise

          The LW has apparently had no conversation about this with either person, which in itself is odd and suggests a pretty significant breakdown of communication. (When either one of them said they were quitting–even if effective immediately and even if by email–it would have been completely natural to ask their reasons at that time, which didn’t happen.) So it really can’t be assumed that the LW is or would be aware of what it is they are experiencing, their motives or the legitimacy of them, including certain elements of her workplace that she may either not be subject to or could herself be the source of–again, even though it would have been very natural and easy to find out. The great majority of college students (about 8 out of 10) actually have had jobs before graduating, so the assumption that their actions are due to inexperience are just assumptions.

          The LW didn’t bother to actually talk to them, made a negative assumption about their characters even though it’s not really normal for even young grads to quit so soon, and then instead of asking advice for how to clarify what went wrong, wanted wording on how to essentially make them feel bad for the inconvenience their quitting caused her (with the implication that she will hold this against them in the future).

          I didn’t want to criticize LW directly, but I think a lot was missed on LW’s part and jumping to conclusions about age is pretty superficial and just a bit too easy.

        2. Observer

          Reaching out to their new employer, assuming that the OP knows who it is, is just a garbage thing to do. I’m not saying that the employees behaved well. But making this much effort to torch their new positions is just …ewww

        3. Who Plays Backgammon?

          Some workplaces have the jerk who targets the new, green employees from the get-go, figuring they won’t have the courage to take action about harassment or bullying. Hitting the door instead of going to HR or fighting back may seem like the best/only solution.

  5. wondHRland

    If they’re coming straight out of school, it might also be worth reaching out to the career services departments of their particular colleges, so that the students get this information BEFORE they accept a job somewhere, from someone other than the company. Sometimes, a 3rd party can provide information and have it taken more seriously than someone directly involved.

    1. Mama Bear

      I was thinking the same, especially if there is a commonality like where they went to school. Try to head it off at the pre-grad level or in internships, etc. Our company likes to do internships and then hire from that pool. It’s easier to bring on a known quantity. Ghosting has become such a “thing” lately, but it’s really terrible to ghost your new job. The OP might even put it to the schools that way – “please impress upon your graduates that ghosting is not an appropriate way to leave a job.”

      I’ve had two experiences with people abandoning their jobs. One truly ghosted – she up and left and there was no way to contact her (no phone). Many weeks later they tracked her down to another state. Seems she’d just decided to no longer stay in the state and moved. The other time someone was working for us for about 3 weeks and then suddenly didn’t report to work. No one ever verified for the worker bees, but I strongly suspect he was arrested and jailed, and rightly figured after a few days he was fired by HR. Several of us found him online so we knew he was “ok”.

      That said, my former boss also had the experience of finding out that an employee has died. I’m guessing from what OP wrote that this is not the case, but all the more reason to at least send a text.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        To be fair, they’re not ghosting (disappearing without saying anything). They’re just quitting after a week.

        I don’t think it’s a huge deal that they’re not giving notice, because if you’re leaving after a week, it’s not usually helpful to keep them on longer than that anyway. It’s not like they have tons of work to be transitioned; they’re still getting set up.

        The issue is that they’re breaking the commitment.

        1. Consulting Consultant

          I commented on this below, and I know I’m super late in this reply, but I actually do work in an industry where the notice period would make a difference even after only a week. Usually our projects are of a nature where we jump right in once people are staffed to a client, so having no one in the position for several weeks while we find a replacement causes serious delays in our project timelines. There’s also a risk that if we don’t have an available replacement, our client will go with one of our competitors to fill the role.

        2. Missing Managing

          “I don’t think it’s a huge deal that they’re not giving notice” – Does this depend on what their contracts said? Or would you think differently if they had specific notice lengths in their contracts?

          I had an experience the other year where I was line-managing a 3-month summer placement student (a pretty well paid one) and eight days into her employment I received an email at 7.30 am that it “just wasn’t working out and to please consider yesterday [her] final day”. However, as her signed contract stated she needed to give two weeks notice we had her come back and work out her final two weeks.

          I wonder how you’d see this approach? I can see how it would be interpreted as a bit of an asshole move but as a small business of 20ish people, we had spent a fair bit of time planning training and tasks for her that if she just bailed overnight would have to be picked up junior members of the team immediately and with no notice. We also felt it was an important lesson in honouring what you commit to.

          We also assume she was expecting a PR Agency to be a much more glamorous and fun work environment than the actual “brass tacks” admin grind it often is in reality. She handed in her notice with no conversation about any concerns (I actually had a coffee meeting in the diary with her for that morning to chat about her first week and any questions/comments/concerns) and with no other placement lined up (we discussed with her and her university). The OP’s industry sounds like it might be in a similar field that has a reputation for being one thing but the reality is a bit different.

    2. Falling Diphthong

      Yeah, a third party with no skin in the project du jour can spell out norms in a way that seems suspect coming from the person whose life will be much easier if they convince a wavering employee that X really is a norm. (Plus of course the warning arriving before the quitting.)

      Kind of like people who want to defend their sibling from scurrilous work rumors–they just don’t have the dispassion and remove to be considered a reliable source of what really went down. Even if they’re correct.

    3. Elitist Semicolon

      Depending on the institution, career services may find this information useful as well, particularly if they work closely with recruiters/employers to place their graduates and need to keep the relationship strong. It doesn’t look any better for the school to be the source of New Hires Who Quit Immediately any more than it looks for the company to be The One Everyone Leaves After A Week.

      (One of the career offices at my institution will restrict access to their services for students and new grads who bail on a commitment to one company in favor of working with another. Their logic is that they provide those resources to be used in good faith and are unwilling to provide them for those using them in bad faith.)

    4. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister

      I also wonder if they’re getting the message during their schooling – from their advisors, alumni, and the media –
      that “this is a top career field and you’re going to be so in demand, you can have your pick of jobs!” and misinterpreting that to mean they can do whatever they want with no consequences.

      1. Flash Bristow

        Ooh, that’s a very good point. Not sure it’s something OP can pursue / investigate? but worth considering, somewhere, somewhen.

    5. Emilitron

      Or to convey the information to them during the hiring process. It’s part of the information about the company that I’d want to convey to them during their interview. “The job we’re hiring for is A, it’s associated with project B. Under circumstances X we could extend at the end of project B, or this could be an offshoot to our later C, or under unlikely circumstances Y, the contract could get cut short before date D. (Most/some) employees are enthusiastic about staying with us after their project finishes, and we can (usually/sometimes) find a new project for them. We also frequently rehire employees who took on project contracts with other companies in the industry. One thing that’s worth noting though: of course we understand that contractors’ employment needs change over time, we don’t require you to sign your life away – but early in your career you might not be aware of how long the repercussions of breaking a contract can follow you. It’s not just about returning here if you broke our Project B contract early, it’s about maintaining your reputation across the industry.”

      1. LeighTX

        This is what I came on to say: I would make this information explicit during the hiring process, maybe even the first time you meet with candidates. “We have found that many new graduates in this field are unaware of a quirk in our industry. It is very common to jump from company to company throughout your career, but accepting and then breaking a contract can bar you from being hired later by that company and can really damage your reputation.” It would be a kindness to them, really.

    6. Emelle

      I would say that maybe a “So you have a job with a contract” seminar for the graduates of these particular programs might not be a bad plan. I have never had a contract, don’t know anyone who has worked on a contract, so something like that would be needed to explain the differences to me.

    7. Who Plays Backgammon?

      Wonder if this is a field in which the professors have working industry connections, if the students are likely to have been interns, if they have career orientation events at the school. The employees might not necessarily have come to the job from an ivory tower mentality. Also, the new grads may have been clueless kids, but not all new grads are kids either.

  6. hmmm

    There has gotta be more to the story here. It’s rare for one person to leave after a week with no notice, let alone two. Is the job entirely different than you advertised? Is there some other discrepancy there? Something is absolutely going on, aside from these new hires leaving after one week with NO notice for a “flashier project.”

    Sure, perhaps they don’t know the consequences of doing this and are being flippant about their job situations, especially being right out of school. But that could work the other way too – I know I was overly cautious about my first job post-grad and stayed for longer than I should have because I didn’t want to get a bad reputation.

    I truly find it hard to believe that there isn’t something else going on there. I’d suggest thinking longer/harder about it and asking around with their direct supervisors and coworkers to get more of the story.

    1. Mary Richards

      I see your point, but coming from an industry that is extremely similar to OP’s (to the point that I basically assume OP and I are in the same industry), this sounds like typical but obnoxious behavior—and a big part of why my (our) industry is so reputation-based and so many of the same people turn up from project to project.

      1. ANAmolly

        Do you feel comfortable sharing or explaining what the industry is? I’m so curious and really cant even conceive of an industry where this is the norm

          1. ANAmolly

            Oh thank you! Allison provided some other examples too and then I thought of several others in my own field that I often forget about bc they are short term and project specific and I’m not usually involved in their hiring

          2. kittymommy

            I was thinking this my be entertainment or entertainment-adjacent. Having a few friends in that arena and hearing conversations they have had, yeah, this would be normal and bailing after only a week could wreck a reputation (I’m actually thinking specifically of one story a friend told me that was similar to this).

        1. curly sue

          This is either my partner’s industry (animated television, hired for a season at a time) or very, very similar in setup.

      2. Sunflower

        It sounds like the abrupt quitting is a recent thing. If it was standard of the industry, I’d imagine this pattern would have been happening for a while?

      3. CanuckCat

        Agreed. I don’t work there any longer but I used to work in film locations/location scouting and it was all contract based but also very reputation based. In fact the only person I knew who had a terrible reputation who still got work did so because he was so insanely good at his job that people were willing to overlook his personality (nothing egregiously offensive like racism or sexism, mind you, just that he was abrasive and more than a bit of a know-it-all).

    2. Fortitude Jones

      Or, they could be leaving for better paid jobs. Regardless of the reason, these new hires are leaving with no notice and breaking contracts in the process, which is not advisable unless something egregious has taken place. It might be worth it to reach out to let these new hires no that what they’re doing could get them in serious legal trouble down the line as well as get them blackballed in the industry, but I don’t know – I’m kind of a fan of letting people hang themselves.

      1. Commenter

        This! I’m surprised I haven’t seen anyone wonder if this might have been a compensation issue – do OP’s competitors pay significantly more, perhaps?

        1. Flash Bristow

          Yup. Like I said above, after a month of training for New Job (in posh pub), and a week of dry/wet runs, on opening night the owner of Pub Down The Road offered many of us a job, starting now, paying 1.5 times the hourly rate of this one.

          Many of us were poor students, or young single mums, in social housing, etc etc. And although I (and I think most/all?) were loyal, if it was just about the money I’d have had to take it, no matter how I felt.

          I can understand if these new employees were just desparate for the money – but I guess only OP will know their social situations and whether this might apply.

          [Actually in my case yes, it was loyalty but it also kinda WAS about the money. My partner worked in the kitchen. Unfortunately the pub down the road only wanted barstaff and in this rough area with late night finishes, we came as a pair when possible, for safety. But you get my point.]

    3. Matt

      This sounds like the video game industry: young grads joining a video game company fresh off their CS degree, jump ship the second they can work on the next Halo instead of Barbie Princess Adventures. Everyone gets laid off the second the video game ships.

      Sure, it’s a small industry and it makes them look flaky, but honestly, the burnout in that industry is so high I don’t see it biting the leavers in the ass unless they actually want their entire career to be about video games.

      1. Avasarala

        God, you couldn’t pay me enough to work in the video game industry. I feel for those poor, overworked souls.

    4. MusicWithRocksInIt

      When you interview, I would recommend going into serious detail on what a day in the life of this job will look like. I always ask that question in interviews and I find most places will give very generalized answers, but if people are leaving like this try to make sure they really understand what they will be doing everyday.

  7. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss

    I still wouldn’t say anything to those who are quitting so quickly. If they’re not willing to honor their commitment by staying at the job for more than a week without a valid reason for leaving, it’s not your job to help them make better career decisions.

    1. Artemesia

      I might not say anything if they quit with no notice, but I would put them on the do not hire list. If they actually talked to me about leaving as opposed to no show, then I would tell them that ‘you do realize by breaking our contract without notice you are on our do not hire list and will not be able to work here in the future?’

  8. UBS

    As usual, dying to know the industry. Can think of at least one tech-related workplace that kept losing new hires, without a heads up. Turns out there was a ‘missing stair’ in the office, a creep everyone had learned to deal with but who went after new employees. They knew this guy had been there for ages and decided to flee rather than get branded a complainer/liar/victim as they’d seen happen to women who’d come before them in the industry. It took literally years for someone (a new senior hire whose wife was also in the industry and had heard rumors) to connect the dots.

    1. Madam Secretary

      My complete and utter guess was they are in the private defense firm industry doing government work. They do project based work. But, like I said, total guess.

    2. Joielle

      Anything project-based would probably have the same issue. I used to date a guy who was a 3D animator for video games and it was like this at smaller companies – as soon as the game was done, a lot of staff would be laid off and would be looking for a different project. I can totally see someone jumping ship if a cooler/more prestigious project opened up. Like, you’re working on some small indie game and you get a job offer to work on Assassin’s Creed or something.

      1. Devil Fish

        You’ve got it backwards: the very small indie companies keep their staff because they realize 25% of the people can’t do 100% of the necessary work after the game drops if their staff is only like 20 people to start with; it’s the big companies that lay off everyone except the C-suite immediately after the game is done.

    3. JSPA

      The person who looks like a wobbly stair to the old hands (norms are a bit off, but generally respectful) but is full-on missing stair with the newer people isn’t a plain old missing stair, they are a predator (and yes, you can have one for ages without knowing it).

  9. no clever username

    Dying to know the industry. Something to do with TV/movie production maybe?

    1. Goliath Corp.

      Sounds a lot like animation, but I imagine it could be similar production industries too.

    2. Someone Else

      Yeah, I was thinking something like theater where people come together quickly, execute a project, and then disperse to the next one.

    3. Alli525

      I thought it might be entertainment until OP said that it was a “small” industry.

      1. Oryx

        Even entertainment can be small. I have a friend who works on Broadway, behind the scenes. Despite how many shows are live on any given evening it’s still pretty small in the sense that everyone knows everyone else.

      2. Marvel

        Theatre is definitely a small industry that is part of the broader entertainment industry. Most subsets of entertainment are pretty small, honestly.

      3. Patty Mayonnaise

        Depending on the type of entertainment and location, the field can be very small. I work in entertainment, but a very specific subset, and it’s a very small world (even when you include both coasts!).

    4. Namelesscommentator

      I was thinking electoral field work. But they basically assume 50% of staff won’t make it out of training and hire with that in mind, so I don’t think anybody would be surprised enough at the high turnover to write the letter.

    5. Atlantian

      It could be archaeology/CRM work. Definitely fits with the “flashier projects” theory for why they are jumping ship. It’s project based, there are tons of small companies, everyone knows everyone (nationally, not just locally) and there is an overabundance of new grads who have a glorified view of what the work will actually be like (think Discovery Channel) vs what it actually is (think Dirty Jobs) and are horrified when they find out that they won’t be discovering the lost city of Atlantis.

  10. GreenDoor

    Might the OP’s company consider adding a clause in the contract for “liquidated damanges”? I work for a public school system so we depend on teachers honoring their commitment to be here for the entire school year. Their contracts have a clause where they understand they have to pay a few thousand dollars in liquidated damages for leaving the school year early. Maybe the prospect of losing a nice chunk of money would make those flashier projects a bit less flashy?

    1. Fortitude Jones

      Yeah, it’s surprising to me that OP didn’t mention this because every contract I’ve ever seen has had a liquidated damages clause. I would certainly bring it up with HR and legal if I were the OP and our contracts didn’t already have the language in it.

      1. Justme, The OG

        Language is usually in the contract on how to enforce it, but withholding a paycheck comes to mind.

        1. Jessie the First (or second)

          Yeah, withholding a paycheck would not be the way you could (legally) go about doing this in the US, and could end up getting an employer in trouble. Enforcing usually means suing for damages. And courts do not always enforce liquidated damages clauses in employment contracts – they cannot be designed as punishment/deterrent, but need to be an estimated measure of reasonable damages, which means the expense of getting a solidly constructed contract (would have to go through lawyers to be sure it would actually pass muster) and then *suing* over it is, for the sake of a short term contract job, likely much higher than the liquidated damages would be.

          1. Devil Fish

            I agree they shouldn’t do this because it’s a bad idea but most employment laws doen’t apply to contract workers and most states allow employers to deduct expenses from paychecks if employees have agreed to the deductions in advance.

      1. Antilles

        1.) These clauses are usually very normal within industries that use contracts. So refusing to sign that clause very well might mean opting out of said industry entirely.
        2.) Would your opinion change if it went both ways? Because they often do – you may be committing to work for the entire year, but the protection of a contract means that you’re unlikely to get fired mid-year (barring obvious exceptions like criminal activity or whatever).

        1. Fortitude Jones

          Exactly. Many teachers, like teachers, sign contracts like this or have language similar to this in it – it’s not unusual.

          1. Devil Fish

            Go deeper that that: Why is pointing out that it’s normal in other industries a good justification for LW to advocate for adding it to their employer’s contracts if it’s not typical in their industry? Adding nonstandard penalties to the contracts seems like a good way to lose a lot of employees who are aware of industry standards.

    2. Patty Mayonnaise

      I’ve worked as a teacher and in the entertainment industry, and I’ve worked under both kinds of contracts. You make a good point and I can see why your mind would go to putting liquidated damages in a contract, but penalizing people in the entertainment industry for leaving a project early is pretty unfair to those workers, and it is much less unfair to teachers. One reason is the school year – schools hire teachers at the same time each year, and teachers can expect that when one contract is up, there will be positions open for them to apply to. The entertainment industry isn’t like that, so forcing someone to work through their entire contract can really hurt their job search. And while schools have a hiring challenge when a teacher quits mid-year because most of the workforce is locked into a school and contract, that’s not the case in the entertainment industry. Related to this: in some cases, there is very little work left to be done on a production at the end of a season/at the end of a show’s run, and it’s common for people to leave before their contract is technically over when they get another job, especially lower-level employees. It would be super unfair to keep those people on when there’s little work even happening; plus if the person leaves early, the company saves on paying them to the end of the contract. The TL:DR here is that this kind of contract makes a lot less sense in the entertainment field and would be really unpopular there.

  11. Troutwaxer

    There’s a lot to unpack here, and I think the OP should be looking across the spectrum for solutions to this problem. On one hand, why did these people quit? Did they both work for the same supervisor/manager? Does the OP know where they moved to? On the other hand, is there some kind of orientation which addresses the cultural norms, either by OP’s company or the company OP contracts with the get these contractors? (If that’s how it works. If the company is doing the recruiting/contracting themselves, is the problem with the company’s recruiter or someplace on that axis?) On the gripping hand, is the problem possibly at the contracting company? Has the OP made inquiries there?

    This could simply be a coincidence, but if it’s not then it’s very important to dig into it quickly.

    1. Augusta Sugarbean

      Agreed. And unless I missed it in the letter, it’s two people. That’s hardly a trend. If it is really is such an unusual incident the industry, it’s worth investigating. I mean, the OP can obviously make an educated guess but it’s still just a guess. I’m not sure it’s necessarily fair to jump straight to “young and inexperienced and unprofessional”. Is it really so unlikely that a couple of people quit for legitimate reasons?

  12. Alton Brown's Evil Twin

    I’m going to go devil’s advocate here with my suggestion.

    If they’re being poached by a competing company with a flashier project, why aren’t there repercussions for the poachers as well as the poachees? Seems like somebody who is stealing talent like this ought to be ostracized in this industry.

    Unless, of course, the new hires aren’t letting prospective employers B & C know that they’ve committed to employer A, which is a problem in more places than just OP’s industry.

    1. IrisEyes

      That would make sense if it was a few months but the likest story is that they applied to both, were in the interview process with both but got and accepted one offer sooner. That isn’t poaching per say. More akin to talking with multiple people on dating apps, getting something started with one but then ultimately going with the other because they offered something better.

      1. Falling Diphthong

        And in this case, not grasping that the world of work is often analogous to the world of dating, but not perfectly so.

      2. Flash Bristow

        *small voice*
        It’s “per se”.
        (sorry… just don’t want to see it misused so often that the original spelling and route becomes lost… no offence intended)

    2. Snowglobe

      I’d find it hard to believe competitors are ‘poaching’ interns after one week on the job. More likely is a scenario where the intern had interviewed at multiple companies, accepted the first job offer, but kept talking to the other companies. They couldn’t give two weeks notice because the other companies didn’t know they’d started another job and therefore expected them to be immediately available.

    3. Psyche

      To be fair, it doesn’t sound like the other company knew that they were employed. It sounds like they applied to both companies/projects, the OP’s company got back to them first so they accepted the job, then the other company got back to them so they quit.

    4. The OG OOF

      Employees are adults who get to make our own choices. The term “poacher” would indicate that employees are being encroached up and that encroachment is unwanted. I loathe the paternalistic idea that employers must decide what’s right for the employee by considering whether hiring them would seem like poaching, and would advocate for us all supporting employees’ rights to make these decisions themselves without thinking they’ve been “poached.”

      1. Devil Fish

        The only time I’ve seen this and actually called it “poaching” was when a new restaurant opened in the college town where I lived and to find waitstaff, the owner went around to the other restaurants in town and complimented the servers and offered them new jobs at his place. Sometimes in front of management. At their jobs. Where they couldn’t outright refuse him because he was a customer and they were heavily
        dependent on tips.

        1. Rob aka Mediancat

          I would think “this guy’s trying to steal our employees right under our noses” would be one of the few times when management would give their employees permission to speak freely.

    5. Steve Jobs' ghost

      Not too long ago, the FTC issued guidance stating that most non-solicitation/non-poaching clauses constitute an illegal restraint of trade. They also generate extremely negative publicity for companies (viz., the scandals in Silicon Valley a few years ago when Google and Apple (IIRC) tried to set up a no-poaching arrangement).

  13. Violette

    Your company offers no security and chucks employees out the door on a regular basis. What gives your firm the right to expect any loyalty?

    The new hires are responding to the incentives before them, incentives your firm has chosen to offer.

    Your industry wanted a gig economy and you got it. Now deal with the consequences.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      The commitment that both sides make in a contract is what gives them that right.

      They pay retirement and health insurance; this isn’t the kind of gig economy I think you’re thinking of. Some work is project based work. Some examples stolen from my correspondence with the OP when I asked for more context to make sure I was understanding (these aren’t her field, just similar examples): field hands for research expeditions, developers hired for a video game, and crew on a movie.

      1. Arctic

        I’ve seen many of these “contracts” and it always gives the employer the right to terminate early. That’s no genuine commitment, at all. It’s a temporary job, the employer can get rid of them even sooner, and they should expect zero loyalty because of that.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          What exactly are you proposing? That, say, a field research crew commit to people for longer than the duration of the field research?

          1. Arctic

            I would propose that if someone on a short-term gig finds longer term work you don’t ruin their reputation for the rest of their career for doing the only smart, responsible thing and taking it.

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              If you’re someone who hires field researchers for short-term field research trips, it absolutely makes sense that you wouldn’t hire someone again who bailed a few days into the first trip.

              1. Falling Diphthong

                This. This is what a professional reputation IS.

                (And I take short-term project-based contracts where the team disperses when the job is finished… but often come back together again, at this employer or other ones.)

              2. Elitist Semicolon

                Especially since hiring for field research is not always simple and could involve anything from a standard interview to arranging international travel and submitting paperwork for visas. Securing the funding that allows someone to hire a researcher is a long-term process as well. Any lead researcher/PI who had written the grants, organized with the field site, and made all the arrangements would of course express any concerns about a hire who bailed on them. It would be a professional courtesy to their colleagues.

            2. Jessie the First (or second)

              That’s not what is happening here. The new hires are leaving not for a long-term job, but for the exact same type of job, just flashier specific (short term) project. Still a short term project.

              1. Token Archaeologist

                I think we’re getting caught up assuming that they have in fact left for a flashier job that offers equivalent “security” in terms of contract and time. But we don’t actually know that. Arctic does have a point here. I’ve seen companies over hire for a project, and then have to let go of staff a few months in. I’ve seen companies hire for a project, and then have the project fall through and have to let go of all the project specific staff. I took a lot of contract/project based work when I was just out of college. Making a career out of hoping from contract to contract was not my end goal… I desperately wanted some stability. But entry level positions were all contract based… with no guarantee that the work, and therefore the pay check, would last until the end of the contract. Would I have left those jobs before the project was over for another contract position? Maybe… if the new position was for three years, instead of one, for example. Would I have left for a permanent position? Absolutely. Would I have felt bad about it? Yes. But there is truth to Arctic’s point that they also have to look out for themselves because the company isn’t necessarily going to, whether its standard for work to be contract based in the industry or not. And for that matter, we don’t even know if they left for a job within that same industry.

                1. Jessie the First (or second)

                  Except we really need to take the LW at her word that short term contract-based employment is absolutely the norm in her industry. So sure, we can speculate that maybe the new hires left the industry entirely and went to work in a completely different field and took a permanent job. In which case, nothing the LW says to them would matter because they’ll never need to work for LW again. And in which case, LW can not benefit from our advice.

                  But if they *didn’t* leave the industry, then Alison’s advice will matter to the LW and could help LW – and could help the new hires, or future new hires. Because it sounds like the way LW’s company staffs its projects is the norm in that industry, and that quitting a project will have actual consequences for the contractors, and it would be a kindness to let them know.

                  But telling the LW “you should single-handedly change the way the entire industry functions and employs people even if it doesn’t make sense for your industry” is not actionable advice for the LW.

                2. Denise

                  I have done tons of temp work and that is what the LW’s industry basically sounds like even if it’s not characterized as such. You are hired for a particular purpose that may have a clear endpoint in mind, or may not, or may turn into something permanent; but there’s actually no guarantee that the employment will last any particular amount of time or that you will be paid for a specific amount of time. And there is still all of the open-endedness of at-will employment, meaning they could decide at any point in time that you aren’t meeting their needs, for whatever reason that is not explicitly illegal. So I don’t see this as any different than if any other at-will employee quit within the first week.

                  The LW is certainly inconvenienced, and perhaps she couldn’t be blamed for choosing not to hire these individuals in the future. But she might do better thinking of the incentive to jump ship simply as a cost of doing business in a project-based industry.

            3. EventPlannerGal

              If you know that you are working in an industry where people move frequently between contracts and you will very likely be working with a company many times, you need to be *more* committed to upholding your end of the contract, not less. Each contract is like the interview for the next one. Quitting a week in with no notice is the opposite of smart and responsible.

          2. Occasional

            I’d suggest that if they can’t keep hold of your employees, they either offer better working conditions/benefits or work on projects that are more interesting/attractive to the employees. OP talks about people leaving to work on “flashier” projects – it might be worth them considering why their company is seen as so dispensable?

        2. Colette

          If the employer got rid of you half way through a contract, would you work for them again? Probably not – and the employer can do the same thing.

          1. Delphine

            But then, it seems the employer can also blackball you and ensure it’s difficult for you to work in the industry…even word-of-mouth between people searching for jobs isn’t that powerful. How many bad companies have a difficult time hiring? I’m not sure it amounts to the same thing.

            1. Trying a New Name

              There is definitely a power difference, but what I think Colette is saying that ending a contract early (on either) side has the natural consequence of burning a bridge. Which is why it would be a kindness for OP to let these people know that, since they may not even be aware they’re burning a bridge and damaging their reputations

              1. Colette

                Yeah. I don’t see any indication that the employer wants to blackball these people in the industry as general – but the natural consequence of not keeping your commitment to this employer is that people who work there will believe you don’t keep your commitments, and they will act accordingly the next time you want them to hire you.

      2. Richard Posner's ghost

        “The commitment that both sides make in a contract is what gives them that right.”

        Except that law-and-economics types have long recognized the idea of an “efficient breach,” namely, that if breaching a contract makes you better off (after paying whatever contractual damages are due), a rational actor will breach the contract.

        Here, the damages are likely to be relatively small, and transaction costs high; so there is little point to litigating the contract. So if you’re going by contract law, or at least by the principle of the efficient breach, Violette has a point.

        I’m not so sure that the reputational damages of leaving early are so high, in any event. Violette is correct to point out that the gig economy has become A Thing: it’s accepted as an institutionalized norm. And I define “gig economy” as just that, not as “an arrangement that doesn’t pay health insurance.” Compensation can be great in a gig economy (plenty of Wall Street placement agents are effectively independent contractors) and poor in a conventional economy. I also think the industry in question matters, a lot. Video game developers would likely not bat an eyelash at moving so quickly.

    2. Mary Richards

      Because they signed contracts? And they’re limited-time gigs, anyway?

      This isn’t a new thing in certain industries at all. This is what people in certain industries have signed up for since long before the gig economy existed.

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego

        Something very similar happens in archaeology. Most of us are on short term contracts, which often get extended if new work comes in but we are usually hired for a specific project. People do sometimes leave for other jobs because of pay, location, etc but it often leaves a bad impression. Most of the time you expect to finish the project you were hired for.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood

        People might be surprised how many university archive jobs are fixed-term contracts, too. If you get a grant to process the papers of Joe Alumnus, you hire someone for the X months it takes. LW”s analogy would be that your processing archivist bails after a week to work on the Celebrity Donor papers at a neighboring institution.

    3. pleaset

      “Your company offers no security and chucks employees out the door on a regular basis. What gives your firm the right to expect any loyalty?”

      This is way off base unless the company is also chucking people out after a week. The company is not expecting long-term loyalty. It’s expecting “loyalty” roughly equal in both direction – the life of the project. As in the contract which goes in both directions.

      As I read it, the OP is not that upset about those quick quitters but is actually trying to help them understand the nature of the business. That’s a service to them.

  14. Granny K

    I left a temporary job after 2 weeks once. The reason? Not the job or the people. The Building. Was. Horrible. Please note I’m not into Feng Shui at all but walking in that building was physically unpleasant: the lighting was bad; the walls were dirty; it smelled sort of weird. But mostly, it just felt WRONG to be there. I swear if I heard that the building (which has since been torn down) had been built on a cursed burial ground or something, I wouldn’t be at all surprised. It was everything I could do to walk in first thing or after my lunch (which I ate in my car).
    So, sure, the hiring manager could be mis-representing the job, or the culture could be toxic, but I hope they take a good look at the environment with fresh eyes.

    1. Fiddlesticks

      Wow… With nothing more to go on than that, I’d say you at least owed them two week’s notice as a minimum professional courtesy.

      1. OysterMan

        I worked in a place with horrible fumes. It wasn’t all that uncommon for people to quit without notice because the fumes were just so bad, many people couldn’t handle the place due to headaches caused by the fumes.

        I never understood how that place met safety standards, but it did. I never really blamed people for leaving without notice, especially if they were already prone to migraines.

      2. Not So NewReader

        Granny only worked there two weeks, though.

        I stayed for a couple years in a building that was Not Good, to the point everyone talked about how the lousy building contributed to the toxic workplace. I stayed way too long. You were right in getting out, Granny. How often does it happen that a building gets to us on that level? Not very often, if at all.

  15. CBH

    OP I’m just curious…. do you have amicable relationships with your competitors? I don’t mean so much to blacklist an employee who left but to where employee names would come up at say a networking event Would a competitor “understand” if no reference was given or if they see short term job hoppers like this?

    I get what you are saying about an employee ruining their reputation before they even start their career, but if your industry is as specific as you say then this scenario should be common sense to them regardless of how new they are to the industry.

    1. Troutwaxer

      I’m not sure I agree with that. Kids come out of college (or high-school or graduate school) knowing what they know. If you know that you’re their first employer and don’t give them a map you’re probably doing the employee a disservice.

      1. CBH

        I agree with what you are saying. I was looking at it more from the angle of teachers mentioning common industry things in class. For instance a friend of mine teaches tax accounting. She always jokes with her students that they won’t have a life January – April. Or most teachers are aware that they will have part of the summer off. Or a chef will be busy during meal time. These things shouldn’t be a surprise to an accountant, teacher or chef from early on in their training. I’m not so much saying it is the employer’s or employee’s fault but I feel like if you are going into a certain field will learn/ research some common sense things indirectly prior to starting.

        1. CupcakeCounter

          I had a prof in my tax accounting say essentially the same thing. One guy raised his hand and said something along the lines of “well if they want me they will have to grant me X week of February every year so I can go skiing at the family time share”.
          Teacher’s reply was “good luck with that”
          He wasn’t wrong – guy got fired from his internship. No call no show for a last minute vacation he didn’t bother to inform the company of. Assumed that since he was an intern no one really cared if he showed up or not. His badge didn’t work when he came back since he hadn’t bothered to check his university email or phone’s voicemail -one of the other interns happened to know someone on the trip and saw the guy on one of the Facebook pics and let the company know he wasn’t sick or injured and they proceeded to fire him via both mediums. The internship was for credit and very well paid and it caused him to have to delay graduation for a semester so he didn’t graduate in the “normal” cycle when most of the big firms made offers. I think Daddy hired him at the family company for a ridiculous salary so he learned no lessons.

        2. Avasarala

          Agreed, if short-term project-based contracts are the norm in the industry, it makes sense that it would be a big deal to leave before the project is done (I say this as an industry outsider, not knowing what industry it is–that just makes sense). And while a random 18-21 year old might not know that, I can’t imagine it wouldn’t come up at all in training or internships or other career-related conversations for young people.

    2. Agent J

      Along that same line, perhaps OP can reach out to their contacts at other companies and see if they are dealing with the same issue. If they are, OP can get some ideas about how to deal with these situations. If not, OP can make a plan moving forward for how to let these employees know what the industry standard / expectation is (e.g., interview stage, first day, etc.)

  16. Aunt Vixen

    It sounds like the new hires are treating their new jobs like classes in the first week of a semester – where when I was in college there was a week-or-two-long add/drop or “shopping” period. If jobs in this industry are always shortish and reorganization or reshuffle among teams and even among companies is that common, I can see where they’d make that assumption. Might it be reasonable to dispel this misconception in the interview stage?

  17. just trying to help

    It sounds like some effort could be placed to managing expectations during the interview and hiring process so these new hires know what they are getting into. I have also seen much more senior people in different industries quit after a week or two. Mostly, because a better job came through which they applied for in parallel with this one.

  18. Arctic

    Yeah. If you want people to stay then make them, you know, employees. This is 100% the product of your terrible business model.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      They have retirement plans and health insurance. The projects are short-term (see examples above, like movie crew or field research). This is not a terrible model when the work actually is short-term.

      1. Arctic

        It’s still short-term work and if people can get a longer gig they should absolutely take that. There is no way they wouldn’t lay off these two people early if they had to.
        And I don’t think doing the absolute most basic for people you are employing full-time (and they do seem to be full-time while employed) should be applauded. They aren’t being treated like independent contractors only because that would be illegal in this context (if you have total control over someone’s work they can’t be classified as such.) And, thus, are legally required to provide insurance.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Actually, they’re legally contractors, according to the OP. (The first thing I did after reading the email was to email back and say are you sure they’re legally able to be contractors? Based on her response, they are.) So, no, they’re going above and beyond the legal requirements — and general practice — by providing those things.

        2. Bee

          I mean, if it IS something like film production (which one of my friends works in), that’s just…not a thing? Unless they’re leaving the industry, the nature of the beast is short term. Maybe a TV show will run for ten years; maybe it’ll be canceled halfway through the first season. Is a movie with a set schedule a better bet? Who knows! Maybe the star will get unexpectedly pregnant and they’ll have to delay filming by nine months (which just happened to my friend). It’s just all in flux by its nature.

        3. Falling Diphthong

          Why are you convinced that they are leaving for long-term jobs as permanent employees, when that’s not in evidence?

          Let’s say it’s archaeology. You start a 3 month contract one spot, then another spot offers you a dig at a cool temple, also for 3 months–okay, you take it, but people in the first job might burn you next season, when a possible employer asks if they’ve ever worked with you.

        4. Colette

          Would it be better to hire them permanently and then lay them off when the project ends? They’d think it was permanent, but it would be just as temporary.

          If I hire someone to cut my lawn all summer, they’re out of a job in October, no matter what I tell them in April.

        5. Trying a New Name

          Sure, the company could lay them off early. But as someone upthread commented, do you really think they’d want to work there again? Likely not. Same thing goes for the company (or in this cases, the hiring managers, since companies seem to be fairly interchangeable). They have no obligation to hire them back, and in such a small, close-knit industry where employees change companies frequently, it wouldn’t be surprising that the people on OP’s team wouldn’t want to hire them back. The new hires are certainly allowed to quit one week in, but damaging their reputations and possible future job opportunities in this industry is a natural consequence of that.

      2. Phil

        Sounds like the movie and TV business. We had industry wide health and retirement plans which didn’t depend on a single employer since you would have worked for multiple employers not just in your career but in all the time.

    2. EventPlannerGal

      Look, in some industries the fundamental nature of the work is that it’s short-term. I don’t know the OPs industry and I don’t think it’s the same as mine, but it sounds similar (event planning).

      I once worked on an event that occurs yearly, during the summer festival season. They have a small, year-round staff of let’s say 30 people, whose full-time jobs are planning and delivering the event. During the event they hire on around 300 additional staff, from security to techies to souvenir sellers, who are contracted to work for the duration of the event. Those people cannot be offered permanent employment with that event company because for 90% of the year there is no event for them to work on, because it’s not happening. That’s not a business model, it’s just the nature of, like, time?

      Many of those people were freelancers who return yearly and were hired because they proved themselves to be good techies (or whatever) the previous year. However, because many other similar events are happening then we did have people quit with no notice because they got an offer to do lighting at Latitude or stage crew at an Edinburgh Festival show or whatever. It happens! But they would probably not get hired the next year on our event because we knew that if they got a cooler offer they would leave us in the lurch, short a techie in the middle of the show, because that’s what they did.

      Even though the work is short-term, it’s basically the same principle as any kind of employment – if you prove yourself to be unreliable to one company, that company will most likely not hire you again. I don’t really see what alternative you’re proposing here.

    3. MissDisplaced

      I know it seems weird, but some industries are and always will be 100% project based this way.
      Think of:
      Film, TV production
      Game development
      Construction / Engineering
      Aerospace

  19. Phony Genius

    Is it clear to the candidates during the interview process what projects they will be working on? Is it possible that the project you are working on seemed more exciting than it turned out to be?

    1. Clay on my apron

      I once left a job after 3 days. Not exactly the same, but it also came down to This Isn’t What I Was Expecting.

      I felt awful about it and apologised profusely. But after 2 days I could see that there was a giant gap between my expectation and reality. It’s… possible that they thought these things were obvious, and didn’t need to be stated. More likely in hindsight that it was a toxic place and I dodged a bullet. It was my second job and I was very naive.

      For example:
      – I assumed it was office based, but I was expected to work from client offices – no mention of that
      – I needed my own transport – which I didn’t have – no mention of that
      – it was a really, really competitive environment – when I walked in on the first day, one of the first things I saw a leaderboard type of thing listing the staff names and how many hours they had billed, from most to least – maybe not something you’d specifically mention in an interview (although as a hiring manager, I would, because it’s such a strong indicator of culture) – but I felt so freaked out by the thought of competing so directly with my colleagues and the humiliation of being at the bottom, that it was probably the one thing that contributed most to me leaving.

  20. The New Wanderer

    If OP goes the route of explaining the probable consequences of quitting a contract so early on, it should be in a very matter of fact and neutral tone. In this industry, the projects and hiring are cyclical, people often rotate around to the different companies to work on different projects, maintaining good relationships with all your potential contacts is crucial to your career, and burning one bridge has more consequences than you might expect. Definitely want to avoid any perception of “I’ll make sure you never work in this industry again!”

  21. Psyche

    If they are going to be blacklisted from the company if they quit early, I think you should tell them that. “I’m sorry to hear that. Just know that at our company, if you break your contract you will not be considered for any future projects. Are you sure that is what you want to do?”

      1. SusanIvanova

        Right. If this happens because they interviewed at two places and are jumping ship to the second one, then by the time they tell you they’re quitting they’ve already accepted the other job. So no matter what they do they’re going to be burning some bridges.

        Tell them up front. They’re new, they don’t know the norms.

  22. PMeIL

    I’ve walked out of similar contracts like this. It has NOT affected my reputation at all. You could have chastised me. I would have shrugged my shoulders and that would have only confirmed that I made the right choice. I don’t know the “why” of these new hires bailing but yes a flashier projects came up and I built my reputation off those. Plus no one remembered that I quit after a week. But they remembered me for the flashier project.

    1. Important Moi

      I must ask, since you have experience, when you left was there anyone who told you “you’d never work in this town again”? Did people counsel you that you failed and you should ask for your job back, etc.?

      Right off hand, I know 2 people were fired in short order and both were admonished they’d have difficulty finding work due to being terminated, presumably the “weight” of a bad reference. Both are at better (more pay, better hours) jobs now.

      I have no reason to doubt the LW, but this seems melodramatic to me.

      1. Michael Valentine

        I was wondering the same thing. I’ve rarely seen someone really suffer professionally for impulsive or selfish behavior–in fact, many of the selfish ones are in much better circumstances than I am!

      2. PMeIL

        Yes I was admonished by fearful/anxious types who had an outdated idea of how the industry worked and a misplaced sense of loyalty.

        The new projects had people who where higher up in the food chain so to speak. So a word of recommendation from them and a bad word from someone (less known) whose reason for disliking me was because I walked out on them after a week or two? The risk was completely worth it.

    2. MoopySwarpet

      I think there’s probably a lot of truth to that . . . the reputation for being part of a flashier project more than offsets the ding to your reputation for reliability. I would still think this is something that a limited number of “free passes” and should be reserved for significantly better projects.

      As an example, I could see bailing on an independent film after a week if you got offered a contract with a high profile director or actor, but jumping from one small time production to another just because it has a plot you like better doesn’t seem like it would be enough to offset the fact you left one in the lurch.

      The bigger problem for the new hire (it seems like from the letter) is that you are damaging your reputation with that particular company/team/boss and they might win the bid on the next flashy project, which you are now at a disadvantage for being part of because they will probably remember you.

      (Collective “you,” not PMeIL “you.”)

      1. Autumnheart

        I guess I’d chalk it up to an unfortunate coincidence, mark those people down as “do-not-hire” if you think that will be of benefit to the company, and move on.

        I don’t feel a ton of sympathy. A contract was signed, so what? I’ve been a contractor with a signed contract, and halfway through it, the company decided to terminate all their contractors one day because the previous quarter’s financials hadn’t been up to expectations. At least it wasn’t as bad for me as it was for the three people they’d deliberately headhunted to leave their FTE jobs to come work for that place, only to be arbitrarily canned after 3 months in favor of a temporary cost-saving measure.

        I went on to have a decent career. So will these people who quit. No, I wouldn’t work for that company again, but they haven’t exactly come to me, hat in hand, either. Your company will be fine, I’m sure. It’s just business, so treat it like business.

      2. Falling Diphthong

        Yes, I could see this varying by industry–sometimes the fact that you quit follows you no matter how much you try to wave it off as totes not something you would do to THIS prospective employer, sometimes no one remembers you.

        And that’s the sort of nuance that new grads probably aren’t good at picking up on. Like, it might be clear looking back years later that you made pretty good stay/bail decisions. But starting from scratch as a newcomer, when to bail and when to stick it out is harder to see.

    3. BuildMeUp

      I mean, I guess it depends on the industry you’re in. I’m in the film industry in Chicago, and sure, if you’ve built up a strong reputation here, one or two miss-fires aren’t going to destroy you. But the network here is tight knit, and everyone talks. A recent grad pulling something like this would definitely affect their future.

    4. Important Moi

      Indeed, it may not matter that LW can blacklist.

      In this instance it is possible the industry will have to to change to account for people who aren’t worried about being blacklisted. Eventually even the older (loyal with good reputations) workers will become to old.

      (I posted something similar below.)

    5. Mary Richards

      I feel like we need to differentiate between bigger/more career-worthy and “cooler.” Because there is a difference between (for example) leaving a local news show for a national network gig and leaving a local news show for an equal gig at another local news show because the anchors at Show B have more Instagram followers than the ones at Show A.

      And I don’t know if this is the case (although it sounds like it!), but there is rarely a good reason to leave your very first job for another job after just one week.

    6. Occasional

      Truth. Here’s a scenario:

      Say I’m a game developer, and I’m looking for a new contract (this is apparently analagous to the OP’s industry). I’ve got an offer to work on Sparkle Ponies 7: Revenge of the Hoof for the next 8 months. I’ve also interviewed with Rockstar to work on Grand Theft Auto 6, but I’ve not heard anything so don’t think I’m doing to get it. I accept the contract for SP7:RotH, but after a week Rockstar come back to me and say “Hey, want to work on GTA6 instead?”.

      Now in theory, I’d be breaking a contract, and in the world of game dev contracting that would be considered poor etiquette and maybe damage my career prospects. But the fact is that, if I DO break that contract and go work on GTA6, that’s a name on my CV that will guarantee me an interview for any job I want in the future. Anyone interviewing me will completely understand why I’d quit a contract to take that kind of opportunity. If I’d stayed on SP7:RotH, that would have done nothing for my career or reputation.

      Maybe this isn’t the case for OP’s situation, there’s not enough information to be sure. But she does say that she wonders whether the new grads left for “flashier” projects, and if this is indeed the case then maybe they’ve actually made the right decision for their careers.

      1. MissDisplaced

        Yup! It seems kinda mercenary, but in those types of industries where there isn’t much inherent job security it’s normal.

        I left 2 jobs quickly. Once midway through a 3 month contract for a full time job w/benefits. The other I three weeks or so into a job when another offer came in that paid almost double the salary.

        I felt sorta bad, but hey, it is business not personal. Companies will lay you off in a heartbeat, so you have to look out for your own interests first.

        1. Occasional

          Exactly. I do wonder if the OP is maybe focusing on the wrong thing, and might benefit from asking herself “If contractors are leaving us to join projects that they perceive are better for their careers, what can we do to make our own projects more appealing?”. Especially in a world where skilled labour is in high demand, I don’t think she can rely on ‘industry norms’ to scare people into not leaving for better opportunities.

          1. Mary Richards

            I mean, someone’s gonna make Sparkle Ponies. If that’s your company, then it just is what it is.

            1. Occasional

              I love Sparkle Ponies as much as the next person, but if I find that people are breaking contracts to work on other projects that’ll be better for their careers, I’m not sure focusing on their perceived lack of professionalism is going to get me very far!

              Instead, I’d probably be better off thinking “Ok, this isn’t the most glamorous project, so I need to accept the risk that my most ambitious workers might leave at short notice and factor that in to my planning. In the meantime, what can I do to make this environment as appealing as possible?”.

              1. Trying a New Name

                It’s not perceived lack of professionalism though – breaking a contract with clearly laid out guidelines IS unprofessional (from either side). It also doesn’t reflect well on the contract-breaker’s integrity or reliability.

                1. Occasional

                  I guess? Maybe? That’s a value judgement I don’t feel qualified to make: a working life is a series of decisions, compromises, and trade-offs, and everyone has to make the call that best serves their own interests. Sometimes that will mean sticking out a contract when you’d rather leave, sometimes that will mean jumping ship because a great opportunity has come along. A professional has to decide which of these moves will help their career and which will hinder it, and the scenario I outlined above is an example of breaking a contract being absolutely the right move for that person’s career.

                  Is breaking a contract always the right thing to do? Of course not. But if I say to a prospective employer “I was one week into a contract for the new Sparkle Ponies game, but then Rockstar got in touch and asked me to join the team for Grand Theft Auto 6. I wouldn’t normally break a contract, but I couldn’t miss that opportunity – I then delivered x, y, and z for one of the best selling games of all time”, I sincerely doubt they’d hold it against me.

                  The OP may feel disappointed and let down by people leaving, and those are justified feelings, but dwelling on that isn’t going to help them. I’m simply suggesting that there may be things they CAN do to improve their situation.

                2. Trying a New Name

                  Sure, but from the sound of OP’s letter, it’s VERY likely these new grads will cross paths with OP and her team again. So OP and her team could very well end up being the new prospective employers.

  23. Semprini!

    It would be interesting to know if other companies in the industry are also experiencing the same thing, or if there’s some factor that driving new grads away from OP’s company.

    Although now that I reread the letter, OP says “twice recently”, so I don’t think we can tell if it’s a pattern yet.

    But since this is an industry where people change companies frequently, maybe you have contacts you can ask when the opportunity arises, to see if anyone else has noticed anything

  24. February Goshawk

    I know it’s factual and intended to be helpful, but I have to say, “It’s a small industry and breaking a contract is the kind of thing that can make it hard for you to get hired in the future” sounds more like a threat than a piece of real-world advice.

    I’d do what you can so that you don’t sound like you’re going to be vindictive, which I know is not the intent.

    1. Colette

      It might be better to say “Like many companies in our industry, we have a policy against hiring people who have left before their contract was up, so you will be ineligible for future jobs here.”

      1. Aurion

        Yeah, I think this is about the most OP can say. The unasked-for advice, even if appropriate for the industry, sounds like a threat…and that threat for most industries is a pretty empty one. And who knows, maybe the employee had weighed the hit to their reputation and thinks the flashier project is worth that hit.

        This message is best delivered by a school or training program where the instructor has no skin in the game beyond giving the students information about the industry. From an employer the employee had just burned…the only thing the employer can really do is speak for their own hiring practices, and even then the employee might just think it was sour grapes.

    2. Jenny Hamilton

      I strongly, strongly agree — if I heard an employer say this, it would sound to me like they were promising retaliation. I am so sympathetic to the OP’s situation, and I get wanting to help out junior employees, but honestly, I think this is a case where saying less is better. The OP just isn’t situated well to teach them this lesson, imo.

  25. Delphine

    I wonder if the negative impact of leaving (“trashing their reputations”) is outweighed by the positive impact (“working on a flashier project”). If experience gets you bigger and better projects, I’m guessing people are doing a cost-benefit analysis and deciding that leaving is worth it. LW and her company can only harm the grad’s’ reputations by going out of their way to blackball the grads, and even then it only becomes a reputation-damaging issue if the grads do it over and over again…otherwise all they have to say is that it was a one-time thing and that their track records proves they are dependable.

      1. Not So NewReader

        I tend to agree.
        If someone told me “If you do x then it will ruin your chances”, I would just throw that on the heap of times people said that either to me as an individual or in class room setting. The Gloom and Doom People were exhausting. (There is a cumulative effect. If a person hears these types of statements often, then the person tends to start to use their own filters.)

        I think telling them before they take the job that quitting before the project is over is Not Good, is the best you can do OP.

        While you are saying to them “this is what it is”, in a way this also applies to you. Your field is so not highly tolerant where they can include everyone regardless of that person’s choices. It sucks to think about this but part of the job you have includes watching people fall flat on their face before they even launch their career. Honestly, you will find that in almost any job. I have stories of stuff I have seen/heard about….. It is what it is.

        One place I worked people came in thinking they had a career thing going on. NO, they had a J-O-B. Probably little to no advancement, even though some of the benefits were great. You had to be well-liked to get anywhere, getting to be well-liked was based on wearing the correct color shirt every day or some obscure thing similar to that. The place was a people mill, it churned through people for various reasons. In the last 20 years I have never seen them NOT have employment ads. They are constantly hiring. When I worked there part of settling in was to realize that I was just going to see a parade of people passing through the workplace. I met an awful lot of people. There was a lot of running jokes about people who went to lunch and did not come back. That is what the place was.

        Tell the applicants up front before they are hired. And you will see that some quit anyway. Some jobs are just such a bad fit for some people that the fallout from quitting is much smaller than the damage would be if they stayed. Sometimes saving people means letting them leave.

  26. Hiring Mgr

    If people are always moving around all the time anyway, I don’t see the big outrage here. Yes I do get that they left you in the lurch, but given that they’re recent grads in a weird industry with odd practices, personally I wouldn’t hold it against them (this one time..)

    Also, we don’t know that they took other jobs in this field–maybe they were also applying to more traditional industries with stability? Either way it sounds like the two employees doing this was such an anomaly I would wonder if it was something specific about this company/role/project..

    1. Consulting Consultant

      If it’s similar to my industry, staffing a project can take a significant amount of pre-work, and replacing someone with short notice causes project delays because of the strict and short timelines we operate under. We try to account for it in project planning, but it often doesn’t make sense to delay every group’s deadlines because of one team, so that team just ends up behind on deadlines. Jumping ship to go to a permanent position isn’t really frowned upon, but I get the sense from the letter that they just “traded up” to another project, which would definitely have repercussions for their reputation in my industry.

      1. Denise

        I posted this above, but this should definitely be factored into business planning and costs. There are certain industries that keep rosters of candidates, pre-cleared and everything, just to make sure they have a pipeline. It makes more sense to structure this eventuality into business practices than to hold grudges against individuals operating within an industry that has practices that are unfavorable to them.

        1. Consulting Consultant

          But this doesn’t apply to every industry – not mine and, it sounds like, not OP’s. There’s often a shortage of qualified candidates (these roles are very specialized), so maintaining a pipeline is difficult, and even the week or two delay of on-boarding a new resource can cause impacts to our project timelines (in our industry, every extra week a project takes equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars for our client). We’re usually able to mitigate the impact with enough notice (and notice periods are always written into contracts), but someone leaving with no notice would cause serious issues.

          All of the roles in this industry are short-term, contracted positions, so people know what they’re getting into – the practices are the same across the whole industry, so if they view them as “unfavorable,” they’re in the wrong industry. It sounds like this is the case in OP’s industry too.

          Being wary of hiring someone again after they leave WITH NO NOTICE for another short-term project is good business in our industry, not “holding a grudge.” Having unreliable staff on our teams causes project delays and can cost clients a significant amount of money.

  27. Lobsterman

    The main issue I have here is OP’s started interest in the careers of those involved.

    Having someone quit a week in is disruptive, I get that. And I get that there’s a sort of detente / MAD with employees’ reputations vs employers’ willingness to pay.

    But you can’t make someone take a deal they don’t like. If employees call the bluff, then that’s what happens. It’s time for the employer to offer a package that employees will stick with – including explicitly asking if prospective hires agree to being blackballed if they bail early, if it comes to that. Or only hiring older employees with good reps and paying for that.

    Change comes for us all. Sounds like the next generation isn’t interested in the deal being offered. That’s on them, and they’re allowed to make those choices.

    1. Important Moi

      Who is to say that the next generation will be damaged at all? I’m not so sure they will be.

      My experience has been that the consider the “bad thing” that will happen and I’ve seen varied reactions including:
      – they have no plan besides quitting
      – they weren’t that invested in the deal being offered
      – they don’t care about the “consequence”

      1. Lobsterman

        yeah, the big thing I wanted to do was challenge OP on the stated concern. OP’s interest is in her org’s well-being, which is completely fine. But the org’s interests are served by offering deals the workers will take, not deals they won’t take, combined with frustration that they are not being taken.

    2. florence flatulentingale

      The job market has changed drastically, at least in many fields. Right now, except at the highest, most exalted levels of work, there seem to usually be more businesses looking for decent workers than people available, hence the market has turned in favor of the employees/applicants–businesses just don’t seem to realize it yet. For many years, it seems to have been the regular state of affairs to go through interviews and then never hear again what decision was made. I am a nurse practitioner, and when newly out of school, after about 6 months experience and one contract clinic job, was interviewing, first by hospital human resources, then with higher level management staff (usual steps, and all positive, cordial, and encouraging interactions), and then finally, at the walk-in clinic where the actual job was located. At this last step, the workload presented to me was a bit more than I had ever managed on my own (think 8-9 patients in an hour and “What would you do?” kind of questions), and the senior provider probably did not feel my skills were strong enough (plus, I suspect there was someone they had already decided on for the slot, though that is not actually relevant, except the waste of time involved). Fair enough, no problem. But, no one ever attempted to get in touch with me about their decision. Ghosted. Guess who will NEVER, never work for that health system, even though it happened many years ago. I think businesses generally have not in the past, and still do not have, any reservations about quickly getting rid of someone who is not working out, and at any time, for any of many reasons; but, when the tables are turned, they want to shift the responsibility away from themselves and their employment practices. How long it takes for “HR professionals” to catch on to this fact remains to be seen. But it sure seems to need some catching up in terms of the current employment market. If TWO people left in the same week, the focus possibly should not be on how “unprofessional” the employees were, but on a more in-depth consideration into what occurred, and why. I just can’t imagine that people graduating from college do not understand the implications of quitting an accepted position within the first week, but I’m old and cranky. This could well be a dumpster fire of a job and field, though not necessarily. Employers need to understand the implications of their attitudes since it is a two way street, and the tide has shifted (to mix my metaphors).

      1. Not So NewReader

        I have to agree that now more than ever before, employers have reputations that are very well-known in the community and surrounding area. An employer here denied an employee a lunch break, additionally the employer was nasty about the request to go have lunch. That story went right around the community like wildfire.
        I am sure that story cost the employer a few applicants. And how many other times has this happened? No way to measure that one.

  28. Res Admin

    Call me old fashioned, but quitting mid-contract (and I grew up surrounded by an industry much like that described by the OP)–esp. with no notice and no explanation–is extremely unprofessional and shows a lack of personal responsibility. I wouldn’t hire them back. If they had a good reason and discussed it like an adult, then that might be a very different story. But no notice and no reason? Never again.

    And that type of behavior has a way of getting known, esp. in close knit industries where everyone knows everyone. I vented something about someone leaving with no notice to my husband one day. It happened to tie in with something discussed in one of his classes. Turns out one of his classmates worked where this person left to go. No names mentioned–the circumstances alone outed that person. Husband and I don’t even work in the same industry!

    1. Oh So Anon

      Yeah, I’m a millennial and even given my youth I find quitting mid-contract unprofessional under these kinds of circumstances. The industry I worked in right after university had a lot of short-term contract positions like this, often filled by recent grads, and noping out of a position after a week was the sort of thing that led to bad references. I can’t imagine that much has changed in that industry in the intervening decade.

      That said, we did have people leave earlier than expected if they got offered a permanent job (less common), got into grad school or needed more time to finish their dissertation (very common). When they were open about those reasons, everyone was cool with the situation and moved on.

  29. Amy RR

    It seems you are hiring for short-term contracts. Is it possible that these new hires are leaving for more permanent positions?

    1. Aurion

      Given the OP describing the contract model as industry-wide, it seems unlikely that these hires are getting permanent positions unless they leave the industry entirely. If they do, I suppose they wouldn’t care about these references.

    2. Zillah

      Yeah, even if not permanent, they might be longer term – I can understand making that calculation.

  30. Clementine

    I really don’t think it’s a good plan to think of ways to blacklist people.
    This looks more like an opportunity to figure out how you can make your workplace more inviting. If the only way you can keep people is by threat, something is amiss.

    1. Victoria

      Completely agree.

      Instead of sabotaging people (which is even more negative energy for your company), look at what you can do to make your company somewhere people WANT to work and won’t be looking for an immediate out.

  31. Been there, done that

    Two in a short period of time? I would be on the lookout for an office creep/predator. I’m just out of college and I know of no one who would think it’s just OK to find a new job a week in unless there was something very seriously wrong.

    I DID leave a job after about a week because there was an employee who liked to prey on young, female recent college grads. About half the recent college grads stayed and put up with it, the other half left. It sounds like leaving for new, exciting projects is speculation on OP’s part. It’s also entirely what I would say if I was leaving for another reason, so even if they did explicitly say that I’d take it with a grain of salt.

    In my situation, it was incredibly clear that management wasn’t going to do anything about it, so I left without doing an exit interview and just hoped they forgot about me instead of making a fuss and being *that girl* who raised a fuss. Is it possible these two left without doing there being a very serious problem? Sure. But…it just doesn’t seem likely.

    It could be useful to monitor these two in the future. Are they staying at their next positions for the entire contract term? Are they finding long-term positions? Are they being penalized for leaving your company?

  32. Anna

    This used to happen with a former employer every so often. We were hiring sales people who were always looking for whoever would give them the highest base salary and commission plan and often times they would be interviewing many places, which is smart, but they would accept our job and then another “better” offer would come in a week or so later and they would leave. It was especially painful for us because the first week was all training which we did at our corporate office in another state and we had paid not only for their training but their hotel and per diem all week.

  33. Mina, The Company Prom Queen

    While it certainly could be that they left for a flashier project, is it possible that there is a certain person who is driving them away? Maybe someone who treats new people or junior people badly without OP’s knowledge?

  34. anon4this

    Sounds like you’re picking the best of the best for a job that doesn’t really require the best and is boring.
    I would start with your second choices or a “safe hire” for this particular role and think maybe reconsider the Ivy League Grad with a Masters or other candidates that are clearly overqualified.

    1. Important Moi

      But do companies really want to do that?

      In this instance it is possible the industry will have to to change to account for people who aren’t worried about being blacklisted. Eventually even the older workers will become to old?

  35. Observer

    My first thought it to look at your hiring process. Unless you are doing a LOT of hiring, 2 misfires is high. However, I agree that you should take a very careful look at what’s going on in the office. Look out for a “missing stair” – one who targets new / inexperienced people. That’s going to be something that is totally not obvious at first look, so you may need to do some digging.

    1. Cranky Neighbot

      I agree with you. The missing stair could be a more generalized issue, as well.

  36. Cranky Neighbot

    I want to focus on this:

    “Or can we do something during the hiring profess to make it clear this isn’t acceptable?”

    I mean. What are you going to do when you don’t accept their quitting? Fire them?

    OP, please think about this. Your new employees (and applicants) have the power to go elsewhere if they have a more attractive choice available. What could you do that would make your workplace the most attractive option?

  37. That Girl From Quinn's House

    When my husband was applying for professor jobs, he was warned- and experienced- that less desirable schools used aggressively expiring job offers to “trap” more desirable candidates into coming there. Basically, they’d extend an offer right after the interview with a short response deadline, to pressure candidates into committing before they’ve seen any offers from other places they’ve interviewed. The candidate would have to weigh turning them down and risking having no job in a tight market, or accepting and then getting a bad reputation for backing out of a contract to accept a better offer.

    Could that be something that’s going on at your company, you’re using high-pressure sales tactics to get them to commit before they’ve seen all their options?

    1. MissDisplaced

      Wow! That would suck. I’ve heard academia is generally slow in the hiring process, so I guess yhat a huge red flag if they pressure.

    2. Shelly574

      On behalf of all the many academic hiring committees I have been on, I would like to say that I have never seen any one try to trap anyone in to a job. Turn down the job if you don’t want it, but our hiring timelines are based on an amount of bureaucratic hoop jumping that is truly astonishing. Smaller schools (and I guess undesirable ones?) often have less hoop jumping (in my experience) than larger ones (more desirable ones? maybe?) and therefore can hire faster. That’s just how higher education is, but there’s no grand conspiracy here.

  38. Hey Karma, Over here.

    “our entire industry is set up for this constant shift and flow between companies depending on who has active projects.”

    Please ask some young people what they think is typical job shifting in the industry.
    Can you ask during hiring or after they resigned (kind of exit interview) something like:
    Do they think, or have been told, that you take the best job that is offered to you when it is offered, everyone understands and you will be able to come back later?
    Do they understand that they are not eligible for rehire with your company?

  39. vampire physicist

    Honestly…if it happens again that’s when I’d change my strategy but my guess is it was just an unfortunate fluke to have two people do this back to back. When I worked for a large company this occasionally happened and I think it’s just, as a lot of other people upthread have said, lack of awareness of professional norms. Provided they only do it once and very early on, it undeniably is difficult for you but unless that really limits them in your industry, it’s probably not even going to have long-term effects – they won’t list you as a position, for example, and a week long employment gap isn’t even noticeable. I guess I’m not sure telling them anything will help them so it’s more of a case of ensuring it doesn’t happen in the future. There doesn’t seem to be a point in saying anything to the people who quit on you, just to future candidates

  40. Emilitron

    I’m wondering what the timeline is here, is there a “new hires” cycle where you’re looking at a lot of new grads all in a batch at graduation? Compared to others in your industry, does your company have an especially brisk hiring process or an exceptionally short decision period? I can easily imagine a young employee sending out resumes for a month, getting an interview with you, signing on to their first option (hooray I have a job offer and they said I had to let them know by Friday, and I start next week!) and then they start getting other responses to their job search cycle and something that would be a better fit for them comes along. So without blaming the OP at all, I wonder whether having a longer time between application and start date might weed some of that out.

    1. MissDisplaced

      That could well be the case if pay and other factors are fairly similar in this field.

  41. PharmaCar

    That sort of collusion is specifically illegal isn’t it? There was a huge high-tech antitrust litigation action a few years ago with employers working together to control employment opportunities and salaries.

    1. MissDisplaced

      Sometimes I don’t think anything is illegal in the corporate world of hiring and firing.

  42. Kim, No Longer Esq.

    Honestly, I’m wondering if, given that this is a high turnover field anyway, if part of the solution is to anticipate that this is A Thing that happens now, that hasn’t happened in the past, and should figure out a way to roll with it?

    Like, yeah, it’s always disruptive when someone leaves, especially when you’re talking about deep, complicated projects. But honestly, leaving a week into something like that might be a better-case scenario than the alternative for your company, which could be having unengaged staff half-assing things for the whole project. If people who aren’t really interested in your big, complicated, semi-long term project bail in the first week, you’ve at least not invested that much into them.

    In a tighter labor market, you’re going to have higher turnover almost naturally, because people have more options. And at the entry level, some of those options might be entirely outside your field (so the reputation impact just won’t matter). There’s a level where you might be better of anticipating and having contingency plans over hoping it’s a one (or two) time thing.

  43. Travel_mug

    I think we have to trust the OP that there is nothing else going on, but I will say, in my long career, the only time I left a job very quickly with no notice was when I was asked to do something unethical (in my case, to deny service to someone based on race) and I knew I didn’t think it was ethical to do it, but also didn’t know that early in my career how to respond to it- how to report my boss or how to push it up the ladder or what else to do.. so I just noped out and didn’t really say why (just quit without notice). Obviously I would handle this differently today. But I would just be 100% sure that there is no factor, such as inappropriate behaviour from a boss, that would lead them to leave like this.

  44. MissDisplaced

    I can see this happening occasionally as they’re fresh out of college. But it sounds like they’re signing with you, then getting the BBD elsewhere.

    If this is a fairly recent phenomenon, I’d take a good hard look but primarily at these things:
    > Money
    > Managers
    > Flexibility

    My guess is it may be the money, because new grads need the dough more than benefits. Are they all going to a particular competitor that’s paying more? You might be flagging behind in salaries.
    Have you been able to ask any of them why?

  45. L.S. Cooper

    The fact that two people have done it really seems odd. Were they for the same position? Is there something more going on?
    I know it’s tempting and easy to say “har har, youths these days don’t know basic professionalism!”, and yes, people have issues, but it’s an issue across generations, and the fact that it’s happened twice seems like it’s worth at least a little bit of digging.

  46. Not So NewReader

    It’s too bad we don’t know 2 out of how many people.
    If it’s 2 out of 5, then I’d say look at how well you are explaining the job on interviews. Point blank as if they are prepared to commit for the next x amount of time.
    If it’s 2 out of 20, then I’d say “fluke!”.
    One place I worked, we would hire 20 people at a clip. It was fairly normal to lose at least 5 in the first couple months. (Yes, the job sucked. We compensated by hiring more people because of the attrition.)

  47. Squeakrad

    While a lot of my experience is from the 90s and early 2000’s, I’m in touch with many other recruiters who currently recruit for technical positions here in the bay area. I can tell you this was the norm rather than the exception for contract jobs when I was recruiting. Especially for highly sought after folks like network graduates with some Unix experience or C++ programmers – even junior folks would literally walk across the street and quit a contract because they were getting 15 or $20 an hour more somewhere else. It sometimes had to do with the project, sometimes with hourly rate but often it was the “name brand” of the company they went to. And from what I understand from my friends in the business it’s still very common. If Google or Facebook or even Twitter calls, you’ll drop the contract you have somewhere else.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    The confirmation bias in these comments are amazing. It sounds like a coincidence in this case (but, I’d be watching to make sure it didn’t develop into a pattern).
    But then the comments split into assuming the worst of the company or worst of the graduates, not based on the text provided, but by our own individual experiences as staff or management.
    Interesting to think how much baggage we bring to each simple new interaction at work.

  49. Cows go moo

    Prevention is better than cure.

    I work in a high turnover industry. When I am interviewing I detail the negative aspects of the job and even our company in addition to presenting the positives. I like to think of it as “informed consent.” I’ve had people thank me and withdraw from the process, and that’s great! It means I’ve done my job of ensuring we don’t hire people who aren’t a good fit and waste their time and ours.

  50. Nope is my name

    I worked at a company that was so bad that people left after a week. The person who was talked about was the one who left for lunch and never came back on the first day.

  51. Meg

    Re: #5 – if your recent graduate/new hires come from the same school or a few specific schools and a specialized field of study, I’d be inclined to reach out to someone in the department and let them know what has happened without naming anyone. I think that colleges and universities have some responsibility in informing their graduates of certain industry norms, etc. to reduce the likelihood of this continuing to happen with future new hires.

    1. Meg

      Argh – this is what happens when I catch up on multiple posts in the morning! Disregard the reference to 5. My bad!

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