Articles From the Team

Pitfalls of lengthy notice periods

Joanne Lack, a senior consultant based at the Birmingham office of BCL Legal, who has over 12 years legal recruitment experience, comments on the pitfalls of lengthy notice periods.

Too often firms make an offer and that is the last contact with the candidate until they walk in the door which can be as much as three or even six months later. This time lag can be a major issue from both the job seeker’s and employer’s perspective.

Job Seeker Your new role can seem like a life time away. Whilst serving your notice period, the energy, excitement, enthusiasm, and rapport that built up during the interview process can begin to flag. It also gives your current employer a great opportunity to express their appreciation for your hard work, how much you’ll be missed and for them to place seeds of doubt about your pending move. Don’t lose sight of why you were looking to leave in the first place. It’s very easy to be flattered by post resignation compliments, suggestions of promotion/change/increase in salary that were previously not forthcoming, but be wary of counter offers as they rarely ever work.

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 and 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 fly by as opposed to drag.

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 their 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 move to your firm so be wary of a counter offer coming their way.

We strongly recommend that you view the notice period as your opportunity to begin the candidate’s transition to your firm. You should regularly email them with news, meet with them, arrange a team social event (or two) 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. If you would like to know more then please contact Joanne Lack or visit our website BCL Legal.

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