When the Abel recruiter arrived at her desk that spring morning, she saw there was one unheard message on her office phone handset. Years of experience suggested that anyone leaving a voicemail before 8:00 AM usually was sharing bad news that they’d prefer not to deliver directly. The recruiter decided bad news could wait while she booted up her computer and secured some coffee. Among the new unread messages in the recruiter’s inbox was this one from Tracy, validating the recruiter’s intuition:
“I was not sure if you received my phone message that I left this morning; next Friday will be my last day. The cost of gas is just making this commute not viable. I appreciate this opportunity; it is just not working out for me.”
When the recruiter first met Tracy over Zoom several months previously, she was working just under full time at a department store near her home. Tracy shared at length the indignity of working retail, a sentiment that the recruiter strongly advised she not share in an employment interview. As the rest of her life story unfolded, the recruiter felt moved by Tracy’s tale of earning a degree in accounting, then marriage and a baby within two years of graduation, and single motherhood and the need to find a job that would work with daycare. Tracy did not feel ready to resume her accounting career when she started her retail position. Now, she felt more confident in the working world as her son was entering kindergarten.
The recruiter saw a spark in Tracy, and after suggesting some tweaks to her resume, was immediately able to line up a few interviews. Tracy received two offers, the best for her being a temp-to-hire position a half-hour commute from her home. Offer accepted, great first day at work, and a very pleased hiring manager. Now this, four months later.
When Tracy failed to show up for work, the hiring manager was immediately informed. Having had struggles hiring and retaining employees over the COVID pandemic, the manager asked the recruiter to find out more information before giving up on Tracy. Had she accepted a position elsewhere? Possibly Tracy had found a work-from-home job on the internet? A conversation with Tracy later that morning revealed that she had taken another position. She returned to the job she had left at the department store, one she swore she’d never do again. Tracy had calculated that her fuel expenses had risen to 25% of her take-home pay. What remained after commuting cost was not much more than she earned at the department store, and without the stress of the commute. The new job also did not start until August, when her son started school.
This last fact gave the recruiter an idea. After updating the hiring manager with this background, the recruiter asked whether the hiring manager would consider extending Tracy’s notice into August if Tracy was willing. Factoring in Tracy’s great performance and the staffing shortages due to summer vacations, the hiring manager agreed. He even offered to honor his acceptance of Tracy’s past request for a vacation week the last week of July. When conveying the hiring manager’s response to Tracy, the recruiter reminded Tracy that she would now have several weeks without pay until the new job started in August. Tracy agreed to the extension. The hiring manager’s response:
“KUDOS for having such an effective conversation to have her extend her time with us. We truly appreciate this type of effort and result.”
The hiring manager and the recruiter agreed that much could happen in those weeks until Tracy’s new scheduled departure date. Gas prices could fall, the economy could contract in a way that affected retail jobs, and the accounting position may start to click for Tracy. The hiring manager was also somewhat concerned that Tracy may become less dependable as a “short timer,” but they both agreed that her prior performance made that unlikely. If Tracy did slack off, the hiring manager had the right to terminate her temporary employment early.
The Abel recruiter was praised by her supervisor for doing right for Tracy and the hiring manager. The recruiter would still try to find an unpressured approach to have Tracy reverse her resignation. The hiring manager agreed to retain and hire her once the temporary period was over. Meanwhile, the recruiter had more time to find a replacement for Tracy if necessary.