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Advice to Candidates Handing in Their Notice

Getting a new job is exciting, you have a new, probably amazing, opportunity however there’s always a drawback.  It’s a stressful time as you may feel like you are letting your ex employer down and you want to maintain good relationships. The best plan is to be organised, prepared and know the facts – know what you are due in salary/bonus and be very clear on why you are resigning.

Employers often have a strategy for employees who resign and are well trained/prepared. Employees on the other hand are not so well prepared and mostly out of their comfort zone. This can lead to challenges.

Keep it simple with your employer, the more you talk, the more they make it difficult for you, you DON’T want war and peace. Read your contract carefully and stick to your obligations and remember your employer needs to stick to theirs too. Sometimes contracts are very much in the favour of employers and the terms can be negotiated so you should seek professional advice via a good recruiter or HR consultant.

What are the signs your employer will make a counter offer?

  • They ‘rubbish’ your new career move attempting to make you think twice about joining your new employer
  • They listen carefully to all your reasons for leaving and address them
  • They take note of your new salary and why you are joining so they can find a better solution for you to stay
  • They guilt trip you about the difficult position you have left them in
  • They unveil some exciting company plans meaning you get a great new salary or career progression
  • They don’t make it public and keep it a secret from your team/colleagues
  • They announce a series of calls/meetings with senior management. This is a common strategy that results in many candidates deciding to stay

What to do about it?

If you are sure that this is the right step for you and not looking for a counter offer then the above is very awkward and lengthens your leaving process.  All these are rules we recommend to follow until they have made your exit public and accepted your decision in writing:

  • Don’t tell them who you are joining, unless by telling them you will secure a swifter exit (for example by being put on immediate garden leave)
  • Keep your reasons for leaving secret
  • Your new salary package should be withheld too
  • You can give them more information after they have accepted your decision and made it public/informed your colleagues
  • Be adamant you are leaving and explain assertively it’s better for everyone if they accept your decision quickly
  • Don’t attend lots of meetings to discuss your plans as you are not under any obligation to do so
  • Be very helpful with your handover and getting work done/helping colleagues while on your notice
  • Ask if your resignation has been accepted by the business, has been passed to HR and made public knowledge

The vast majority of candidates who are genuinely not interested in a counter offer wish to exit quickly, whilst still maintaining good relationships. They understand that dragging out counter offer negotiations prolongs the current employer accepting your decision, hence the employer invests more time in attempting to keep the employee that would be spent in finding your replacement.

This way the candidate discourages counter offer conversations and nips them in the bud before everyone invests lengthy time in them. After all, a candidate who is definitely leaving does not want to have to weigh up all their options again about should I stay/go after they have already done so and their conclusion was leaving.

Paul Thomson founded ESP over a decade ago.  As an experienced recruitment consultant for senior level technology sales roles, and a hiring manager himself, Paul works with people handing in their notice regularly.  Paul works with both clients and candidates to manage the ‘Handing in Notice’ process to create the best possible results for all parties.