The Biggest Problem For Employers From The Great Resignation

The Biggest Problem For Employers From The Great Resignation

It is a surprise to me, actually.

The Biggest Problem For Employers From The Great Resignation
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

The media and social media have hogged our attention to issues created by geo-political tensions, climate crisis, upcoming recession, and The Great Resignation.

In particular, The Great Resignation grabbed our eyeballs for the longest time. Many were told to work from home during the pandemic years. That same many realized working from home, works.

Some of that many realized there is no longer a need to be back in the office. Now, that is good, by the way. Loathsome colleagues and clueless managers cease to become time mosquitoes in our world.

We can be more efficient, productive, effective, and timely.

But the bed of roses is filled with thorns.

And the time has come for us to confront the ripples caused by The Great Resignation in the context of talent recruitment.

I kid you not.

I am aggressively hiring for my startup-like regional office. We have the budget approved for a Senior Sales Executive and an experienced Customer Service Manager.

These are not junior roles, just to be clear. We need people who have been there and done that to take our regional operations to the next level.

The Great Resignation did not bother me when filling those roles. Inflation registered at 8.6% will push people out of their comfort zones to seek employment.

Now, hang on a second. I am not mocking The Great Resignation proponents. I have great respect for people who are crushing it without a job.

But the continuously rising cost of living compels us to make unpleasant, unavoidable, but necessary choices. We start looking for a job.

I think I am on point. I screened through the statistics Human Resources passed me for open position interviewing. These are the high-level numbers.

For Senior Sales Executive:

  • Total applicants: 634
  • Applicants passed by Human Resources: 30
  • Pass-through rate: 4.7%

For Customer Success Manager:

  • Total applicants: 698
  • Applicants passed by Human Resources: 35
  • Pass-through rate: 5.01%

I salute all Human Resource professionals for doing what they do. Recruiting, screening, rejecting, and endorsing candidates for the next round without sacrificing their personal safety is a fine line to walk.

That said… I do find that we have lost our ability to prepare for interviews. My experience conducting interviews with 30 sales professionals and 35 customer success managers demonstrated this point.

I will start with quotes edged deep in my head.

These are extracted, distilled responses from multiple interviewees.

“We are experienced people. There is no need to keep harassing customers. If our products are good enough, customers will knock on our doors and leave money on the table.”

“Oh, I have provided my best resume version to you because I really want to get this job. This 16-page (long) document summarizes my 16 years of experience as a qualified sales professional.”

“I don’t believe in attending to and overcoming client objections. If they do not see the value of what I sell, I will just walk out of the door.”

I have worked with enough sales professionals to know such responses are genuine. I am a Pre-Sales Senior Manager, so I know how my peers think.

However, I am surprised by the message delivery. Personally and professionally, I don’t think the best to win a deal comprises of the following.


Content overkill.

Above all else, arrogance.

Remember the quote on the 16-page long resume? This candidate placed his education credentials on Page 1 and the most recent employment details on Page 16.

It shocked me. Really.

I gave him my advice to improve his most valuable asset for employment. I did push him to the next round.

But. The inevitable happened. My Group CEO dropped him.

The reason? He is not prepared.

I will spare you the pain I went through with 35 candidates.

One candidate caused my jaws to crash to the ocean bed. No kidding. This is an extract of our conversation.

Me: Thanks for coming. For a start, tell me what you know about our company.

Candidate: Oh, you sell services.

Me: Interesting. Where did you get the information from?

Candidate: From your website.

Me: Thanks for doing your research. Do you know what products we sell?

Candidate: Services.

Me: No, we are in the software business. We sell digital visual management software products.


My eyes rolled to the back. I got it back into position as fast as I could.

And I thought I was harsh from the get-go. So, I dropped this topic and started another one.

Me: I can see that you are an experienced Customer Success Manager for 5 years.

Candidate: Yes, I am (smiling brightly).

Me: Share with me. What do you do if existing customers are unhappy with your services?

Candidate: I will email them and ask them why.

Me: What if your emails are ignored?

Candidate: I will send a follow-up email.

Me: Why aren’t you considering visiting them at their office?

Candidate: It takes too much effort

I almost fell from my chair. I cannot believe my ears. I respect the person for who he is. But I do think getting our work done and maintaining an arm’s length with our existing customers is the top mandate of a Customer Success Manager.

I couldn’t bring myself to continue the interview. And so, I ended it in 20 minutes.

And then one funny thing happened. The candidate asked me this question as I hurried him to the lift lobby.

“Thank you for your time. Let’s start work next month.”

I suppressed my annoyance into a weird smile. I muttered a cold response under my breath.

“Human Resources will inform you of the next step.”

He returned me a bright smile. He is obviously pleased with his performance. And I wonder why.

I enjoy working with mavericks, out-of-box thinkers, and creative wingnuts. I do.

They carry themselves in their own unique ways. But make no mistake. They derive their insights from working on the job and becoming better at it.

These folks are always in the game with or without The Great Resignation. However, I am witnessing the flip side of it.

  • We forget how to carry ourselves professionally.
  • We forget how to handle social events.
  • We forget the need for preparation.

Don’t. No matter what happens, strive to be ready. Research the company you are interviewing for. Study the interviewer’s profile. Make good small talk.

Adopt one principle. Always show that you care.

Because when you do, we do. And suddenly, that time-lapse in employment caused by The Great Resignation no longer matters.

Because we know how to identify star players. Trust me. We do.

Go to Publisher:

Entrepreneur's Handbook – Medium

Author: Aldric Chen