Talent Acquisition Workplace

Why A Quitter is Not Necessarily a Failure

I am writing this blog having just returned from my kids’ school sports day where I got roped in…oops I mean I “volunteered” to enter the Mum’s sprint race.

I agreed knowing that at least half a dozen mums are proper runners, as opposed to me trying to run twice a week for a couple of miles (for peace and quiet rather than to become a Paula Radcliffe), and realising that wearing a denim skirt and slip on shoes would possibly render me in the lower league of the finish line. The whistle blew, I ran really fast (really fast!) and actually came about 5th (out of 20) – woop!

However, my intention was not to win, but to do my best. I knew I wasn’t going to beat Sporty Mum who runs daily but I wasn’t going to give in, I was going to make sure I didn’t embarrass my daughters too much!

What does this symbolise?

By: GerryLand

And as always, after the event, I reflected and symbolised it as a parody to work. When do you know when to just participate in recruitment, and how do you know when to give up?

As a R2R, I meet recruiters who have failed in some desks or businesses not due to their lack of ability, but down to poor training, support, marketing and so on. They come to me because they are choosing a moment to hold their hands up and say “I quit!”.

What now?

In R2R, I have faced many a period where I have thought “Where are the next placements coming from?”.

It was certainly like that in 2009 and we still get the odd month especially after a holiday (you know how it is on a perm desk!). However, I have never ever thought about making the choice to quit R2R and move to another sector, for example. I just love what I do too much and know that I am pretty good at it (if I say so myself…)!

When should you give up?

Knowing when to persevere and stick with something is a subject many people profess about and as recruiters, how candid do we need to be with our candidates at saying, you know what, it IS time to move on?

As a career, recruitment can be THE most rewarding one to choose, both financially and also altruistically (and it takes a pretty mercenary recruiter to say they don’t actually care about what they do – well I certainly don’t network with any recruiters that shallow). It would be naive for any recruiter to think it is always going to be amazing and rosy. It isn’t, life isn’t like that.

But once your heart falls out of it and you get that Sunday night dread feeling (if you are getting it on a Sunday morning that is the warning sign!) – then you have to be brave and face the fact it IS time to quit and move to a role/career that you will find rewarding and that will make YOU happy.

There is a Chinese proverb which says “Of all the strategies, knowing when to quit may be the best” and Richard Branson writes for the Entrepreneur website that you have to be brave and bold to know what will make you happy.


So a quitter doesn’t make you a failure necessarily – it could be the best decision you ever make!

What do you think? Have you quit something and gone on to excel? Have you quit and then regretted that decision? Hiring managers – how do you feel when a potential candidate tells you about a time they have quit? Are you biased against them? I would love to hear what you think as ever.

By Lysha Holmes

Lysha Holmes is founding director of Qui Recruitment established in 2005 to completely challenge the traditionally poorly perceived service offered by other Rec 2 Rec providers. Lysha as Qui Recruitment is dedicated to representing the best talent to the best suited roles, focussing on placing recruiters of all levels in a candidate led service across the NW.