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Pitfalls of lengthy notice periods

Notice periods can be a minefield, particularly if they are lengthy! Joanne Lack, manager at BCL Legal, discusses the pitfalls of a lengthy notice period from both a job seeker’s and employer’s perspective.

Job Seeker
It is often acknowledged that when serving a lengthy notice period, the energy, excitement, enthusiasm, and rapport that built up during the interview process can begin to flag. It gives your current employer a great opportunity to woo you, to make you feel special and irreplaceable which can often call into question the decision to leave. Don’t lose sight of the reasons behind the move. It’s very easy to be flattered by post resignation compliments, suggestions of promotion or an increase in salary that was never previously forthcoming. Be wary of counter offers as they rarely ever work (http://www.bcllegal.com/the-brief/category/counter-offer-2).

Once you have resigned (regardless of how amicable it is), there will be a noticeable difference in colleagues’ attitudes towards you. Decisions will be made without your involvement; team events will take place without you and meetings will be held behind closed doors to which you are no longer invited. Some colleagues will be pleased for you, there will be those that are jealous and others will no doubt question your loyalty and commitment. Be prepared for this. Don’t take it personally!

A graceful exit is always recommended. Don’t take your foot off the gas, however easy it is to do. The legal profession is a small world and you should leave on the best terms possible. The best way to do this is to maintain your professional integrity. By continuing to work hard, your notice period should pass quicker rather than drag. Always try to negotiate your notice period especially anything over a month. You may well get an initial no, but continue to ask the question.

Employer
Any notice period is a threat to the new employer, with longer notice periods being particularly hazardous. Don’t be reassured by the return of the signed contract. It is essential you remain in contact throughout the resignation process and notice period – ask how the resignation went and how they feel now notice has been given? What was the reaction of their employer? Has it been announced internally?? The notice period will give their current employer the opportunity to plant seeds of doubt over the forthcoming months. In such a candidate short market, counter offers are rife! By offering a competitive salary/benefits package that surpasses their current one, you are in a better position to beat the counter offer. Whilst it may not have been a monetary move, a like for like salary is far riskier in today’s market and leaves you wide open to a counter offer being accepted.

We strongly recommend that you view the notice period as your opportunity to begin the candidate’s transition to your firm. You should keep in regular contact with them, involve them in social events and latterly arrange a networking event to meet key clients with the aim being they already feel like an integral part of the team by their first day.

By instructing an experienced recruitment consultant, the pains of lengthy notice periods, counter offers etc can be effectively managed for both the job seeker and the employer as we deal with this on a daily basis.

For a confidential and in-depth discussion on your job search, please contact Joanne Lack at BCL Legal. Whilst Joanne specialises in residential property across the Midlands and Northern Home Counties, BCL Legal’s team of consultants cover all legal disciplines nationwide.

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