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How To Give Notice

Giving notice and leaving a job can be one of the most difficult and emotional parts of a job search, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you are miserable in your job and can’t wait to resign, or leaving is bittersweet, there are some things you can do to make the resignation process smooth. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Clean things up – while it’s a good idea to keep your business and personal life separated, most of us have sent personal emails from a work account, logged into personal websites, etc., from work. Before you give notice, it’s a good idea to delete personal files, stored passwords for personal online accounts, and make sure you have any personal information that you’ll need after you are gone.
  2. Write a resignation letter and tell your boss first – avoid the temptation of telling friends or colleagues in the office first. Write a short professional letter and have a few copies available (for your boss, HR, etc.). The letter should simply state that you are resigning and offering 2 weeks notice, and your last date will be on a specific day. You are under no obligation to tell your employer anything about where you are going, why you are leaving, or the offer amount you received. In fact, you are much better off not telling this information to anybody during your resignation process. I advise candidates to take this approach because it makes the transition period out a lot easier. If you tell your current employer anything about the reasons for your departure, you are giving them all the ammunition they need to make you feel guilty, make you susceptible to a counteroffer, and manipulate you! This is a bad scenario and should be avoided at all costs! Counteroffers almost NEVER work out. Industry research shows that over 80% of people who take counter offers leave within six months of taking them. I’ll talk more about counteroffers in a later post and link to it here.
  3. Offer to be helpful but be mindful of your soon-to-be employer’s needs – it’s a good idea to tell the company you are leaving that you will do what you can in order to make the transition period out as smooth as possible. Offering to put in some extra hours during the notice period, to be available after you leave to answer brief questions, etc., is a professional and thoughtful gesture. However, in very few instances is it acceptable to give more than two weeks notice. I often see job changers get hung up on a sense of loyalty to the employer they are leaving, or a belief that things will come crashing down if they aren’t there to help. The reality is that life will go on for the employer you are leaving. It is important to start the new job on the best terms possible. The new employer will probably want you there ASAP, so don’t forget that they are waiting for you!
  4. Don’t go off the rails in an exit interview – if your company asks you to do an exit interview, don’t turn it into an airing of grievances session. Be mindful about what questions you answer, and politely decline to answer any questions you aren’t comfortable with. Keep in mind that the employer may not be done making a run at a counteroffer yet. Anything you tell them about your motivations for leaving, new offer, etc., can easily be turned around and used to make you second guess your decision. Second, any criticism of coworkers, bosses, and culture can create animosity and negative opinions of you.

Giving notice is hard, but you have a lot of control over how easy the process will be by following these guidelines. In general, I advise candidates to follow the “less is more” approach. Remember, you are moving on to something you are excited about!

By |April 15th, 2019|Job Offers, job search, professional development|0 Comments

How To Evaluate a Job Offer

The good news – the job market is great and the demand for talented people is on the rise. The bad news – more job options don’t necessarily mean that people make good decisions.

I see a lot of candidates juggling multiple offers right now. Having competing job offers does sound like a great problem to have, but more options don’t always lead to great decisions. In this market, I feel it’s very important to have a game plan on how you will evaluate opportunities. I recommend job seekers consider three things:

  1. Determine what you want and why are looking BEFORE you start — when I interview a potential job seeker, I have a detailed conversation about what they like, and don’t like about their current role. I want to uncover the “what’s missing” aspects of their current job, as well what they really enjoy. Second, I have an equally detailed conversation about what they want in their next job. I figure this out before I ever tell them about a potential job opportunity. If you are looking for a job on your own, write down on paper the pros and cons of your current job, as well as what you’d like to do in your next job. This is a great list to refer back to when you start meeting with potential employers.
  2. Evaluate potential growth — when considering a job offer, it’s important to look at the growth potential you will have over the next 3+ years. Obviously, it’s impossible to predict the future, but during the interview process you should try to uncover the potential career path and learning/development opportunities you will get. Ask yourself how much you believe in the potential of the company. Compare competing job offers to your current job and make your best guesses as to where you might be in a few years with each opportunity.
  3. Don’t get hung up on money –money is important, but it should rarely, if ever, be a primary motivating factor when looking for a job. If the job offer is going to provide you with a growth and development path that is solid, and it addresses the reasons you were looking for a new job in the first place, you should take the job. A few thousand dollars is not going to change your lifestyle drastically in the near term, but a better opportunity and career path can add up to big future potential earnings. For more about the financial realities of job offers, click here.
By |January 18th, 2016|Job Offers|0 Comments

Counter Offer

Counter OfferI spoke with a contact yesterday who accepted a counter offer. Luckily for me, it was not a deal I was involved in. Unlucky for the candidate, he had no idea about the potential consequences and hazards of accepting a counter offer. Put bluntly, accepting a counter offer is a bad idea.

A counter offer is the equivalent of a band-aid on a gaping wound. At best, it is a short-term fix for the employer which buys them some time before the inevitable happens… that the person accepting the counter offer will leave. That’s right, the VAST majority of employees who accept a counter offer leave within six months. Employers know this, but a counter offer is often cheaper and easier than quickly replacing a good employee.

A counter offer generally consists of two things. First, a counter offer will include promises. The employee might be offered a promotion in six months, a bigger office, or told about “exciting changes” that are coming. Second, they might be offered money. Sometimes, it may seem like a lot more money. The candidate I referenced above was given a 20% base salary increase to stay! Big promises and more money sound good… right? If you get a counter offer, it’s important to remember that talk is cheap. The promises made are almost always empty ones. It’s easy to tell an employee things that they want to hear and never deliver. Especially since employers know that the employee is likely to leave anyway. As for money, while a 20% raise may sound great, it’s only done because it is far cheaper for the employer to offer short-term cash to avoid long-term headaches associated with replacing the employee. Moreover, since the employer knows that person will likely leave within six months, the employer never has to pay out in full. They may give you a 20% salary raise today, but only pay a small amount of that to you before you end up leaving, or get fired! The cost of replacing a good employee is high. A recruiter like myself charges anywhere from 25-33% of a new hire’s first year pay. The cost in time and effort training a new hire is also expensive. When you add up all these costs, what seems like a generous counter offer is actually chump change!

A counter offer can almost never remedy the reasons the employee was looking for a job in the first place. Most job seekers who leave an employer do so because of limited opportunity, a desire for more growth, to work in a new field or industry. A counter offer can do little or nothing to address any of these causes. Thus, most people who take them come to realize this within weeks or months of accepting a counter offer and end up leaving.

The potential fallout from a counter offer is similar to that of a personal relationship. When you accept a counter offer, your loyalty is obviously questioned. You’ll never be considered part of the “inner circle” again. Companies have long memories for this sort of thing, and when it is time for a raise, a promotion, etc., you will be looked at differently. If the company needs to reduce the workforce, it’s very likely your name will be on that list after accepting counter offer. The minute after you take a counter offer, it’s safe to assume the employer is already planning on how to replace you. They know from experience that you won’t stay, but if you accept the counter offer it affords them time to find a replacement in a more cost effective way.

You should rule out a counter offer before you ever look externally. If you get to the point at your current employer where you want to leave, try to address the reasons internally first. If you ask for a promotion, more responsibility, a change in duties, salary, etc., in a constructive way and are told “no”, then you can be pretty confident in your decision to leave. That way, when you give notice you’ll see the counter offer for what it is… a band-aid on a gaping wound.

By |January 18th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments