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Things to Avoid When Resigning From Your Job

It’s a great feeling to finally receive a new job offer. All of your hard work has come to fruition. However, you could be mistaken thinking this is the easy part of the process. The final stage (the offer negotiation) is one of the most critical stages. This stage needs to be handled very carefully to ensure it all goes smoothly for all parties – the candidate and the employer.

There are three parts to this stage of the recruitment

1. Checking and accepting the offer
2. Resigning from your current job (gracefully)
3. Completing the background checks and references.


It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and want to hand in your notice as soon as you can. I know some of you will have probably dreamed of this moment and you cannot wait to tell your current boss the good news (or tell them to stick the job may be!!).

It’s essential you slow down and take some time to carefully consider all the information. Ideally you’ve already thought long and hard about leaving your current job and what you are giving up. However, I know candidates that have moved so quickly from being a passive candidate to job offer that they really haven’t had the chance to think about what moving jobs really means and the reality of leaving their career and colleagues behind.

Related: How to Write a Resignation Letter

Don’t resigning before you have a firm offer

Don’t resign without a firm offer. I’ve heard stories from recruitment agents about jobs being pulled after the verbal offer was made and the candidate had already resigned. I’ve never had to do this in my 13 years of recruiting and most of the time I only started the recruiting when all the internal approvals were in place. However, businesses are continuously changing and some change very quickly.

If you’ve been searching for a new job for sometime it’s natural to get really excited about receiving that new job offer and equally about handing your notice in. However, be careful this is a critical stage in the job searching process and one that needs very careful consideration and management.

Keep in mind that it’s perfectly legal to withdraw a verbal offer if it’s not yet been accepted – it may not be best practice or an ethical decision but hey that’s business for you.

Don’t quit before reading the contract

Ask for the written contract and read through the information thoroughly. Check you are happy with all the items and the terms of employment. I’ve been involved in hundreds of offer negotiations and I’ve noticed how some terms are more important than others to different people. Some get very emotive about job titles, probation periods, bonuses, hours of work etc. Read the fine details as it’s likely the recruiter or recruitment agency have only outlined the basic items.

Meet again with your new manager (if appropriate) – it’s likely you’ve only had the formal interviews and it’s always nice to revisit to chat informally about any questions you may now have about the offer, the job and the things that are important to you and your career.

Have you accurately worked out your total compensation package? If not then you need to make sure you are not actually losing cash by moving to another role. It’s not enough to match our current salary to the new salary. Review the pension contributions, health benefits, holiday entitlement and potential bonuses etc (note that not all companies will share the bonus potential otherwise it builds an expectation and most bonuses these days are purely discretionary).

Related: Re-Entering the Workforce: Are you Ready to Dive Back In?

Don’t play up during your notice period

You may be forgiven for thinking I’m being a little dramatic (it’s been known!). Did you know you can still be fired for gross misconduct even if you resigned first? You are still an employee and if you think you can start misbehaving or sending confidential data or customer information to your home email – then think again.

Your conduct during this stage is just as important as when you were an engaged employee and another thing to keep in mind – you need a reference from this place! Think twice before you play up – unless you’ve won the lottery!!

Don’t announce offer on Social Media

When I started my HR career this wasn’t an issue as social media wasn’t really an everyday communication tool. However, today if we get fed up we tweet or update our status on Facebook or write an article about our experiences. It’s too easy, far too quick and can go viral in a blink of an iphone!!

Just take some time to think about the consequences of any negative social media rants – it can spread worldwide and once something is shared or tagged it’s almost impossible to delete, stop or call it back.

Don’t rant in an Exit interviews

You don’t have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you don’t mention something you later rely on....

Still one of the main reasons for leaving a job is the quality of your relationship with your manager. I know how tempting it is to give your current (grumpy, moody, disorganised) boss the full barrel. You are finally free to say exactly how you’ve felt in the last few months, years may be. Again this is the time to step back from the emotion and give the exit interview some careful consideration. What benefits will you get from being really negative? How are you going to fair from leaving the organisation under a cloud? You may wish to leave the door open to return at a later date. I’ve never felt the desire or need to keep that door open in any of my previous jobs – if there were enough reasons to leave the door open I wouldn’t have left in the first place. Even so it’s still not a great idea to leave a negative impression on the people you’ve built up credibility and respect with over the time you’ve been at the organisation. Leave a positive impression and legacy as you never know when you are going to bump into your ex-colleagues again.

Don’t be clouded by counter offers

If you are considered a high potential in the business it’s likely they will tempt you to stay with additional money. However, in my opinion if you were considered a high potential you’d be paid accordingly and wouldn’t have to wait until you received another offer to be paid what your skills are worth. Think very carefully about your original reasons for wanting to leave the job and move on. The reasons are still there and likely to be even more obvious than they were before because you are ultra aware of them.

Also be careful of playing one company against another for more money. This situation can quickly back fire and result in both withdrawing their offers. As mentioned above it’s perfectly legal to withdraw an offer if it’s not yet been accepted – so think careful before making any decision or taking action.

We’d love to hear your resignation stories and tell us the main reason for changing jobs.

Image by: Carey Ciuro

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