So here's the scenario. You've been offered a new job and they want you to start as soon as possible. As in, in two weeks time, as soon as possible, but you have a one month or three month notice period. Now I'm guessing if you are reading this article then you've googled 'How to negotiate your notice period' and are in this position yourself.
It's important to remember that as tempting as it may be to leave without working your notice, this is not something we would recommend both for your future career and in legal terms. Legally speaking, leaving without giving due notice will put you in breach of contract. It is also important that you maintain your relationship with your existing employer. Whilst discussing an early resignation will be a difficult conversation to have with your employer, you never know when you might need your old boss, colleagues or company again. After all, it's not what you know, it's who you know right?!
So is it actually possible to get out of working your notice period without burning any bridges? The answer is YES, however it's definitely not guaranteed and your employer is perfectly within their rights to make you work your full notice period. Here's how you can help the process.
Know your contract
During the interview stage, the question of the length of your notice period will come up so it's very important to be honest about your notice period and not to make false promises that you may not be able to keep. You may think that the length of your notice period will impact the hiring managers decision on whether or not to offer you the job over someone else who may have a shorter notice period however if you are unable to reduce your notice period after the job offer, this will not look good on you. Honesty is always the best policy. It's also best to check that the length of your notice period is not a deciding factor in case your request is turned down.
Consider the viewpoint of your employer and what might be going through their mind when they receive your resignation.
It may be that it is a complete surprise to them that you are handing in your notice so it's not recommended that you jump straight in to ask if you are able to negotiate your notice period. Not only may your employer be upset that you are leaving, it's likely that they will be thinking about the time and cost implications of having to hire your replacement. Even from a more personal point of view, they could be wondering about how this will look on them and how they are perceived as a manager depending on your reason for leaving.
Whilst it is important that you are upfront and honest about wanting to work a shorter notice period, try and put yourself in your boss's shoes for a moment. The most important word here is NEGOTIATE. Jumping in all guns blazing insisting on a shorter notice period isn't going to get you anywhere. However, a more gentle and considerate approach whilst suggesting ways you can help is likely to be met with a more open-minded response.
Help your employer to find your replacement
Besides not wanting to lose a valued employee, it's likely that the thing causing your current employer the most stress is the prospecting of finding a replacement. Time and cost are key factors here so anything you can do to help will be sure to increase your cause. Offer to assist in finding a suitable replacement and utilise your network and any recruitment agencies you may have worked with previously to assist with this.
So in short, here's how you can negotiate an early exit from your notice period:
- Do it in person and be considerate of your current employer.
- Follow it up in writing including a planned leaving date.
- Check the number of holidays you have left and see if you can use this to reduce the length of your notice period.
- Offer to help your employer to find your replacement
- Provide detailed handover notes including work done so far and timescales needed to complete any projects.
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What to do if your request is turned down?
Do not give up hope. If your request for a reduced notice period is turned down, you may still be able to secure a sooner exit. Keep your manager updated on your progress for any outstanding tasks and if you are on track to complete these sooner than expected, it is the perfect time to raise the subject again.
FGS Recruitment is a boutique recruitment agency specialising in recruiting sales and marketing jobs in our core markets of Digital Media, Learning & Development and Market Research. Keep up to date with our latest career advice articles and jobs by signing up to our newsletter and be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.