Notice period
By Chris Bongard
6th April 2016

As recruitment specialists in the Information Management and Analytics industry we often come across the 3 month notice period. We tend to speak to candidates at the very early stages of their job search, and from our experience many of the candidates we speak to don’t know what their notice period is. We advise our candidates to read their contracts and find out their notice periods as early as possible.

Having a 3 month notice period can leave you with plenty of questions; what impact will the notice period have on my job prospects? Will it hinder my chances at the final stage? Is it possible to cut the notice period short if I find my dream job?

Be honest throughout the process

If you are on a 3 month notice period don’t worry about it hindering your chances – the simple answer is no, it won’t. As Information Management and Data skills are in demand the 3 month notice period is common, therefore we manage the expectations of clients so they understand it may take a little bit longer to find the right person. The chances are they have been struggling to find candidates and know how difficult the market is and therefore if you have the right skills and fit in with the company culture they will wait for you.

Just remember to be honest throughout the process and don’t set false expectations. Although you might want to leave early, if you are not 100% certain you can don’t tell your future employer that it might happen. The best advice is to deal with the notice period when you hand in your resignation letter.

Understand your current employer

When handing in your resignation letter it might be expected by your current employer but it may also come as a surprise. You need to understand the position this puts them in and align yourself with their goals.

Once you have handed your letter of resignation in your current employer will have to take certain steps, this may be recruiting to fill your position or restructuring the team in order to meet demand and cover you once you leave in order to maintain productivity.

While still working in the business make sure you don’t lose any productivity and keep working to your best ability – don’t make a habit of calling in sick, missing deadlines or skipping out on meetings. The likelihood is your current employer won’t want someone who doesn’t want to be there hanging around but if you can make this easier on them it may work in your favour and you might be able to negotiate leaving sooner.

How to negotiate the early exit

There are several steps you can take to negotiating an early exit:

  • Like your resignation letter do this in writing and include your ideal end date
  • As part of this, outline thoroughly how you will handover in time. In this include who you will handover to, what you will be handing over (your day-to-day workload and any projects you are currently working on for example) and how long you expect this handover to take. Doing this will show you have thought this process through and you can make it happen.
  • Add up any remaining holidays you have left and use these to shorten the notice period.
  • Leave on a positive note – do not badmouth your employer whatever the circumstances for your leaving, whether this is to a co-worker or on social media. If you are professional and gracious you are more likely to get what you have requested, and in the long run, if you leave negatively it may affect your career.

What to do if you have to work your full notice period

So you’ve asked to leave early but they’ve said no – what do you do? The best piece of advice we can give is don’t give up hope! There is still a chance your notice period will be shortened if the handover is completed or a replacement is hired quicker than first expected. If you keep your manager updated on your progress with the handover there may be another opportunity to request early leave.

You should bear in mind that some employers or employees may use this time to try and convince you to stay. The longer you are there, the more time they have to come up with a counter offer, this can come in the form of a promotion or more money. Accepting a counter offer is usually a bad idea as they can be counter-productive.

If you do have to work your full 3 month notice period remember to stay productive at work. Eventually you will find it easy to turn down meeting requests as you won’t see the end of a project and your workload will probably drop. Use this time to complete your handover and prepare yourself for your next role.

Before you leave you may be asked to complete an exit interview, you should use this time to offer constructive feedback on your reasons for leaving – remember to stay professional and gracious.

Garden Leave – what is it and what can you do?

Very few of the candidates we deal with in this industry are put on garden leave, however if you do find yourself given this option it can be beneficial. Essentially garden leave means you can leave your current company early but you cannot start at your new company until your notice period is legally complete.

The positives of being put on garden leave is that it allows you to prepare for your new role so you can use this time to do some research and update your skills, it might be worth attending a few courses to really update your analytics and IT skills. 

Have you ever negotiated a 3 month notice period? Were you successful and what were your biggest challenges?

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