Congratulations! You've got a new job offer (in writing) and it matches your career objectives. Some advice before you sign on the dotted line...
Your New Contract of Employment
Every contract is different – you might want to get legal advice.
Did you know that this is actually a legal requirement? Make sure it's there and that it matches your expectations. Beware very loose and flexible job descriptions. Phrases like "and other duties as required by the company" give your employer the option to change your job as they wish, regardless of what you want from it or how well you are doing.
Your annual leave should be quoted exclusive of public holidays, or else your 25-day quota might really equal 17 days.
General wisdom is to negotiate as much notice as you can get. If you are worried that a long notice period will harm your chances when the time comes to move on again, ask for asymmetric terms - they have to give you six months' notice but you have to give them only three months, perhaps.
These place restrictions on you for a certain period (six to twelve months, typically) after you leave a job. There are four basic kinds:
- Non-solicitation: You may not approach past clients for business in your own right or that of your new employer.
- Non-dealing: As above, except that you must also refuse past clients if they approach you.
- Non-poaching: You may not offer staff from your old employer jobs with your new one.
- Non-competition: You are not allowed to work for a competitive firm for the specified period. Be wary of a company that tries to impose a non-competition covenant - it may not be enforceable, but you don't want any legal costs trying to avoid it.
Resignation Letter and Meeting
If you are still working, check your old contract to see how long your notice period is with your current employer (you should have done this already) and how much holiday entitlement you have left. Keep your letter of resignation as short and sweet as possible. Don't get personal or burn your bridges when discussing it – be as professional as possible. Not least because you need a good reference. If you had "issues" to get off your chest you should have dealt with these before making the decision to move on.
Hopefully your company won't want to lose you, not least because you are expensive and time-consuming to replace, and they may make you a counter-offer. However, the relationship between you and your employer will have been damaged. Research shows that many employees who accept a counter offer choose to leave within a year of the original resignation, because they are still unhappy. Get all the facts and consider your options carefully – if you have a crystal-clear career objective then decision-making is more straight-forward. In all cases, remain courteous.
If you are joining a competitor, you may be asked to leave immediately so be prepared for this. Be very aware of what company records/information you can take with you – you don't want to be accused of stealing. If you are working your notice, remain professional. Help as much as possible with the handover process and don't unsettle the team you are leaving behind. You might consider getting some peer references on Linked-in before you leave.
The Exit Interview
Enlightened organizations use these to gather constructive feedback. (Sometimes they use external consultants like us). Again, be professionally honest but positive – who knows when your paths might cross again.