Research Driven Recruitment

How to Resign: Some Tips for a Smooth Transition

By Alex Betteridge | Oxford Knight

Resigning is a huge career decision, whether it’s from your first job out of university or your final move as an executive at the top of your game. There is a huge amount to consider, and, if you’re serious about it, there are certain dos and don’ts you should bear in mind to make the process as smooth as possible. Resigning from your job doesn’t have to mean the only positive is moving into a shiny new job – but if you’re not careful, it can be an ugly and often awkward process. Here are some tips and hoops you should jump through when going through the resignation process that should help omit that all-too-common occurrence of a sour departure!

If you’re looking to move, prepare to leave!

From my experience as a tech recruiter, it’s very easy for techies to peruse the market, check they aren’t missing out on superior opportunities and, of course, clarify that they aren’t being underpaid/undervalued in their current role.

However, it’s another ball game altogether when it comes to actually leaving. If you have started interviewing elsewhere then you should synonymously begin to prepare and understand the logistics of leaving your current employment.

Make sure you:

  • Check your notice period and whether it’s negotiable.
  • Check if you have fulfilled your probation period.
  • Check if there is a handing-over clause which states an amount of time you must remain at the company to ensure the repossession of your role.
  • Check you have pursued all avenues of advancement in your company – providing, of course, that you aren’t completely dissatisfied with your company altogether!
  • Think about the implications of you leaving not just in terms of career and compensation but also relating to location, family and relationships built up in your current role.

Still going to resign? Don’t be disruptive; and respect your boss.

If your boss isn’t the first to know about your resignation, it probably won’t go well. Telling your boss before anyone else matters because:

  • They will value the fact you haven’t disrupted others in the workplace with your uncertainty. A decision to move on might plant an infectious seed that could lead to others considering resignation.
  • You may begin the process of resignation and switching companies but your offer elsewhere may fall through. This is why it’s important to break the news to fellow colleagues only once your move is set in stone.
  • Keeping your boss out of the loop will irrefutably affect your reference if you do leave and potentially tarnish all those years of hard work built up on your CV.
  • Initially breaking the news that you have decided to leave will vary according to the relationship you have with your boss. Ideally it’s a conversation that can be had amicably as well as professionally. Be polite, to the point and don’t let your boss’s reaction affect your decision at the last minute.

Prepare your resignation in written form AND orally

Handing in your written notice is one thing but prepare some words in your head too. Your boss will react (unless he’s about to fire you anyway!) so it’s important to stick to what you’ve planned to say, make it clear you are submitting an oral resignation and be confident in your decision. If you’ve thought it through thoroughly, you shouldn’t have any hesitations. After resigning orally, be sure to leave the meeting on a positive note and make clear that you’ve valued your time there very highly (even if you haven’t).

The Counter-Offer

This is a common spanner in the ‘job-switching’ works, especially from a recruiter’s point of view! The fact that you are ready to leave your company probably already rules out considering a counter-offer but until it’s in front of you – and make sure it’s written and signed by the powers that be – you never quite know how you might react. Make sure you don’t give away any inclination of interest in a counter but ALWAYS go away after receiving one and think it through pragmatically:

  • What are you ACTUALLY being offered? Make sure it’s not just a new title.
  • Don’t just look at what precedes the £000s. Is the ‘new’ role a constructive career move/better than what else is on the table?
  • Will the fact you have voiced wanting to leave the company mean fulfilling any future role there is unrealistic?
  • Your boss may now be doubtful of your 100% commitment to the firm. In this way, maybe it would be better to move on.
  • Google it! There are plenty of stories shared and studies exhibited on the net about counter-offers and how they played out in varying circumstances. You’ll find there is compelling evidence to steer well clear of them on the whole!
  • A counter is more often than not a reactive tactic. Replacing an employee costs time and money so be sure to see through the sudden ‘loving’ of you like they’ve never ‘loved’ you before drivel.
  • If you at any point say, “I will listen to what you may have to offer”, then you risk burning your bridges on both sides. To elaborate on that, if your boss invests time and effort in building a counter-offer and then you reject it, this will add insult to injury. Similarly, by contemplating a counter which can take some time to be drawn up, you risk aggravating your future employer by keeping him in the dark.
  • Always be appreciative of a counter: if you receive one then you know you are valued by them and it bodes well for receiving a good reference and a compassionate departure.

In my opinion if you are thinking about resignation it is generally a positive thing. By exercising your right to leave and bite the hand that holds your lead you will leave whatever it is that you feel is stagnating your career progression. Conversely by remaining where you are (accepting a counter) you live with the anxiety of ‘what could have been’ and will invariably lose focus and deteriorate in performance. Moreover, extensive research in counter-offer acceptance has been carried out, showing just 6% of counter-takers still at their company after 12 months.

Resignation isn’t a negative word!

I think a good place to conclude is with a reflection of my own experiences as a recruiter.  That may predispose the value of this blog to many but I’m a big believer in decisions based on hard evidence. My recruitment days are not extensive (I’m still in my first year) but that’s not to say I haven’t already seen and learnt a huge amount. From my placements thus far I’ve witnessed the importance of jumping through the hoops detailed above. If you’re respectful in the way you handle switching jobs you can’t go far wrong. Resignation is not a negative thing; there’s a little-known thing called the circle of life – someone will replace you and you will replace others. Just be professional, know what you want and stick to your guns!

Oxford Knight is a technical recruitment agency. None of our consultants have written a line of code... yet. We apologise if this article doesn’t keep some purist happy, but we’re trying to build a new generation of technical recruitment agencies…. We listen, participate, and deliver.