Recruitment: don’t burn your bridges

If government pundits can be believed, we are, at last, beginning to see some
light at the end of the tunnel. And, while finance roles have always been
business critical, the road to recovery will undoubtedly lead to a renewed war
for talent.

Couple that with recent research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel
and Development (CIPD), which says that employee engagement has hit an all time
low and that job satisfaction has plummeted, and it is not hard to see why staff
may jump ship once the recovery is underway.

If you are one of those people, your thoughts may turn to the thorny issue of
resignation. It’s a tough call, particularly if you get on well with your boss
and your team . But, whatever your motives for leaving a job, you should always
try to resign professionally. Whether you have been offered your perfect role
and are sad to leave your current company or whether you’ve hated every minute,
you never know when you might meet colleagues again – or when you may need a

It’s really important to choose the right time, so try to avoid accosting
your boss on the eve of an important presentation. Ask for a private meeting and
talk through your reasons for leaving. Highlight the positive aspects of your
time with them and be appreciative of the skills and experience you have gained.

Try not to leave any unfinished projects, and set some time aside to handover
to your successor. You might also offer to be available by phone for a few weeks
after you leave. The more helpful you are, the more it will be remembered in
your reference. It’s also really important that you are serious in your
intentions – resigning in the hope of getting an increase in salary as a
temptation to stay can often backfire and you may end up with no job at all.
Once you have made your decision – stick to it.

Leaving the door open for discussion encourages your employer to invest time
and resources into persuading you to stay, making you feel guilty and in turn
making it harder to leave. That’s not to say that your employer won’t try and
keep you – and the further we move into recovery mode, the more prevalent
counter offers are likely to be.

However, it is wise to question your initial motives for moving roles in the
first place – a switch is often not just about greater financial reward, so the
reasons you had for moving may still remain even if you decide to stay.

It’s also a good idea to question your employer’s motivation in coming up
with a counter offer. If you were really valued, shouldn’t you have been
rewarded properly in the first place? Is your employer thinking about what is
best for you or what is best for the company – or even how his or her reputation
may suffer if you don’t stay? Also, your own reputation may suffer – backing out
of a commitment you have made to a prospective new employer may well burn your
bridges with them in the future.

If you really feel that the counter offer is too good to refuse, then
remember to look at the bigger picture. You may gain in the short term but your
loyalty could now be in question and what will that mean for future promotions,
bonuses or salary increases? And unfortunately, there is always the danger that
your colleagues will never really see you as part of the team again.

Resignation – dos and don’ts

* Don’t be tempted to tell people what you really think of them. There’s
always the possibility that you may want to return to the company – and you
never know if you will come across your colleagues later on.

* Do get contact details from your colleagues – especially those you believe
could be handy to know for the future – never miss an opportunity to network.

* Do make sure you have deleted any personal information from your work

* Don’t ever resign until you have your new job confirmed in writing – a
verbal offer is not worth risking a secure position for

* Do leave handover notes if appropriate – it’s helpful – and it’s the mark
of a professional.

Counter offers – food for thought

Choosing between a fresh start and a tempting offer to stay can be a
difficult decision but there is plenty of research to show that a large
percentage of those who accept counter offers leave within a year.

The top three questions you should be asking yourself are:

* Do I really want just more money or are there other things motivating me to

* Does my employer really want to keep me or is it just that it’s
inconvenient to replace me?

* If I accept the counter offer, will I be viewed differently by my manager,
my team, and my subordinates?

Marc Kirsch is managing director of specialist finance recruiter
Accountancy Action.

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