Buyer’s Remorse – The Dark Side of the Great Resignation

By: Matt Gainsford


The grass is greener on the other side. They don’t see me. I can’t grow any further. I can make an extra $20k elsewhere. Company X are offering a fully remote role. I’m not appreciated here. I don’t trust the leadership. I’m not happy here. I must move; I must get out. My inbox is littered with messages from recruiters who want me. A couple of hyperbolic conversations with a recruiter, two interviews with a new company, a little look at Glassdoor pre-offer. The offer goes out and the dollar signs on the offer blur the lines of the 3-star Glassdoor review that highlight the high pace, high stress atmosphere of the now accepted position.  

Fast forward three months and all that glitters turns out not to be gold.  

Unfortunately, this has become the story of thousands of employees who, for whatever reason, have jettisoned roles only to find themselves no better, or in some cases, worse off than they were in their previous role. 

The Great Resignation that began in 2020 saw a record 4.5 million Americans leave their jobs by March 2021. Of those candidates – Bloomberg. 

Out of those candidates who moved into new roles the number who had been in their previous position for less than 12 months rose by 6.5%, the highest number since records began in 2016 

According to Business Insider
“It stands to reason that it’s much more likely that people are faced by better opportunities,” Berger said. “There aren’t that many layoffs out there. It’s a really hot labor market.” 

LinkedIn’s study backs up data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicating that a growing number of people who left their jobs to pursue better pay and opportunities are continuing to leave. Even among those who stay put in their new role, one in five polled in a March Harris Poll survey by USA Today said they regretted quitting in the first place. 

The pandemic and the push (temporarily for some, permanently for others) towards remote work as well as the opportunity for many to consider their life priorities has been a contributing factor to the destabilization in the job market. The values upheld by the different generations have also come to the surface in a more effervescent manner. It’s not just more money that people are after. 

“At the end of the day, you spend most of your life working,” Laurel Camirand, who quit her job for a better one only to leave the new position, told Bloomberg. “It sucks to be miserable.” 

It is this quest for happiness which is partly responsible for driving the exodus. One of the outcomes, besides realizing the grass is not greener is that morale for candidates is being diminished as unfathomable change is taking place, not to mention the pressure on companies to refill vacant roles while also competing with other companies to full new positions. It can feel like a revolving door. 

Candidates are looking for something meaningful, and depending on the generation, what they value at a core level is also driving the change (see the image below from SHRM). 

Generational comparison

This is all useful information, but what can we do about it?  

As a Talent Optimization consultancy, we like to ask questions. It is no good rushing a process to but someone in a role who isn’t going to be a good fit. Firstly, they may move on in 3-6 months and the money, time, effort spent on recruiting that candidate will be a vapor, not to mention the impact on the team. Secondly, if you put someone in the wrong seat they are not going to perform, they will not find value in their role, and they will become disillusioned with what they are doing. That could result in the candidate leaving or causing your team leaders to put considerable time and effort into addressing issues. Again, your team is affected, your bottom line is affected and your ability to attract A-Players is affected. 

One of the ways we ensure that we are connecting with the right candidate, even during the Great Resignation, is to look at the Whole Person. Could you imagine your strategic Hiring partner consulting a candidate to remain where they are or giving you a transparent assessment of a candidate and recommending moving forward with an elevated level of caution even if that candidate ticks all the experience and achievement boxes?  

At Titus Talent, we look at the whole person, The Head, The Heart and The Briefcase for hiring success. We know that looking at all three components gives our Partners the absolute confidence that they’re getting the right fit for their organization every time. Our Hiring Process 

One of the greatest guards against buyer’s remorse is by making an informed decision. Ask the right questions, engage in courageous candor, don’t sacrifice speed for haste and transparently communicate what you are offering. A-Players are driven by challenge, impact, and growth. The ability to offer a dedicated career path and being able to communicate your mission will be the great differentiator within navigating the Great Resignation and preventing the Great Remorse. This approach offers a more connected partnership for our Partners (that’s why we call them Partners). Candidates have a much more enjoyable and open experience, which again is reflected in the Partner/candidate experience. 

There’s a reason we call our people consultants and not recruiters. More than recruiters, Titus Talent Strategies are a team of Talent Optimizers who genuinely care about the work we do. We empower companies to put the right people in the right seats through informed, connected strategies that combine data with an empathetic understanding of what makes people tick. We recognize that our partners are investing in us and that results mean more than just people placed in a role. It’s about impact and connection. 


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