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Zero week’s notice: how to make a quick hire after an abrupt resignation


It’s the scenario no manager wants to face but it happens all too often: an employee quits on the spot and the position left vacant needs to be filled ASAP. Usual recruitment cycles can take up to two months with job ads to create, interviewing, hiring and offering and all the recruitment admin that’s part of the process, so condensing that into a week or two can seem next to impossible.

To avoid the mad rush, here are some strategies to ensure the next time you have to hire quickly, you’re prepared.

1. Collect applications year-round

You should always be on the lookout for qualified talent. Make it clear on your company’s website, LinkedIn, and any other platforms you use, that you’re always accepting applications and be sure to tell your employees about this too. That way, when you suddenly have an opening, you also have a stack of resumes you can begin going over, or a database filled with potential applications.

Do not be afraid to look back at old applicants and resumes either, as there may be some on-hand who are ready for the role and have already taken interest in your company.

2. Pre pay your recruitment costs in advance for discounts

No matter when or how you recruit there are going to be costs involved. Paying for some of these costs in advance can help so that you’re ready to hire at a moment’s notice. Whether it’s engaging a recruitment company and having your business on their books, or doing DYI advertising if you pre-purchase services or advertising products you can often get a discount. At the beginning of the calendar year, or financial year, review how many roles you had to fill in the last 12-months and plan accordingly.

3. Have an action-plan prepared

You’ll feel a lot better about emergency recruitment if you have a plan in place of how to handle it. This means having an action plan that you can enact the moment an employee resigns.

The plan should include:

  • Job descriptions: Keep your job/position descriptions constantly updated so you can immediately use them when you need to recruit. There is nothing worse than needing to sit down and write a Position Description before recruiting – it should always be ready and updated.
  • Resources for your hiring managers: You should have a list for whoever you want to recruit the role, whether it’s your admin team, a HR team or a hiring manager – there should be a central document with a list of your preferred advertising websites, temp agencies to use, recruitment budget and job boards. Have these ready so you can give someone the task of recruiting straight away.
  • Information for your new employee: You should have your business processes, login details and passwords all ready in a central document so you don’t have to scramble when your new employee starts. Have their training documents ready so they can hit the ground running.

While no business owner ever wants to be in the situation where they have a staff member resign without notice, a good plan will help you navigate the recruitment process a lot easier and ensure your open position is filled as soon as possible.

About the author 

Saxon-Marsden-HugginsSaxon Marsden-Huggins is the managing director of Recruit Shop, which offers recruitment services to small businesses in Australia and New Zealand.