Let us assume that with the assistance of the headhunter an offer has been made by the company, a package negotiated including dollar ingredients and perks, a contract or letter of understanding may have been provided, and the candidate has accepted. What happens next? The executive gives notice to his present employer, usually to his immediate manager, that he has accepted another position and will be leaving. In instances where a contract or letter is involved, resignations occur either before or after signing. It pays to sign first and give notice after. Why? If the new employer considers changing his mind after you’ve quit, an unlikely situation, you have a legal document showing that they made an offer and you accepted.
How much notice is appropriate? It hinges on how long you’ve been with the company, how senior or vital your role is, your rapport with your employer and your desire to do the right thing and not leave too quickly and hurt them and your reference, how quickly your new company wants you, and so forth. It is appropriate to leave a minimum of 2 weeks’ notice yet be flexible should your management need more time. Four weeks and possibly more is acceptable for senior people with major responsibilities who are professional about departing. Your company may want to find your replacement before you leave. You may or may not be able to remain that long depending on your arrangement with the new employer.
Some firms, despite your good intentions, will want you out immediately because they fear you may be privy to information which you will use in your new shop. There are a few brokerage firms which are known for locking up a broker’s desk when he gives notice, that moment or close to it being his last with the house. They fear the individual will copy customer lists, contact them and try to sway them over to the new company. There is a large international bank that only allows one to stay a few days past notice even if you’ve been there several years. The logic is similar.
So you set up a departure date with your present employer and subsequently confirm a start date with your new one. Perhaps you can arrange for some vacation time in between. The headhunter will work with you, in trying to carve out a few days or more and act as the go-between with your new emplc yer if necessary. It can be an unfettered time. The old challenge is put to rest and the new one is forthcoming, rest hard while you can.
Throughout these final preemployment stages, the recruiter is in constant touch with the executive, typically by telephone and often in person. He is fine tuning the deal and moving it toward a close. The final needs and wants of both sides are being explored and met. The consultant may dine with his candidate in order to accomplish the aforementioned in a relaxed setting. He is also subtly keeping the pressure on the candidate not to change his mind. It is never blatantly so stated although the headhunter’s attentiveness and presence are hand holding a somewhat obligated executive toward the finish line. However, most executives are bright and strong minded enough not to be drawn into the wrong situation. And most recruiters wouldn’t allow this to happen.