Handing in your notice? How can you prepare.

You have accepted a job offer, now all you have to do is hand in your notice!

Handing in your notice can be a daunting task. This is especially true if you have been with your employer for a long time and/or feel loyalty towards your managers and colleagues. This can make the act of letting your employer know you are leaving stressful, but like any situation, stress can be lessened by being prepared. Knowing what to expect, and having a plan of what to do if it doesn’t go quite the way you thought it would is essential.

When to give notice?

The first thing to say is that you should not hand in your notice at your current place of work until you have written confirmation of your offer. This should include a ‘contract of employment’, a ‘job description’, and an ‘offer letter’ so that you know exactly what job you are taking.

How to give notice?

If possible, you want to leave on good terms. This can be best achieved by delivering your notice in person. It is likely that your contract of employment will stipulate that your notice needs to be given in writing, so you will want to have a letter on hand to leave with your line manager when you have spoken to them.

What should you say / your letter say?

It is best, when delivering what may be seen as bad news to keep it short and to the point. As a minimum your letter should include:

  1. That you are giving notice that you are resigning from x position with x company
  2. What you believe your last working day will be

(You may want to include that you have enjoyed working with them, or to thank your employer for being supportive, or to wish them and the team all the best in the future.)

You can visit out candidate support page for a free download of a template resignation letter.

What should you expect when handing in your notice?

Depending on why you are leaving, what situation this will leave the company in, and your position with the company, the response you get from your employer could be very different.

Good Managers should deal with the situation without making an issue of it. In the vast majority of cases, you will work your agreed notice period, and your colleagues will wish you all the best for the future. This unfortunately however is not always the case.

If you are leaving to go and work for a competitor, do not be surprised if you are put onto ‘gardening leave’. If leaving is going to put the company under some pressure, perhaps because your job role is vital, or the company is already understaffed, then do not be surprised if your employer puts some of that pressure back onto you by trying to convince you to extend your notice period, and persuade you to stay by making a counteroffer.

Should you consider a counteroffer?

Counteroffers are increasing, as companies fear losing (and not being able to replace) good workers, so it should not be a surprise if you are counteroffered. Counteroffers are of course not necessarily a bad thing; if you truly believe all of your career aspirations can be achieved by staying in the same company, and that proposed changes will be made, then you should take some time to consider it. But you should also consider why you wanted to leave in the first place and if these issues will be resolved if you stay?

Numerous surveys, as well as a mountain of anecdotal evidence within the recruitment industry suggest that the majority of counteroffers that are accepted do not resolve employee’s issues and that the vast majority of employees will leave (or be looking to leave) their employer within 6-12 months of accepting the offer.