6 steps to negotiate a shorter notice period

Congratulations! You’ve been offered a new job. 

That’s great. 

Chances are, your new employer will be really excited about having you on board and will ask you to start with them as soon as possible. 

What should you do when your notice period is longer than the start date they’re proposing. 

Don’t panic! It’s common for employers to want to bring people in quickly, and for employees to try and reduce their notice period. 

How can you make it happen?

  1. Be honest with your future employer

Never promise them that you can reduce your notice period before you’ve actually spoken to your company. What you should do instead is reiterate what your current contractual notice period is, understand if they’d wait if you had no option but to work it, and explain that you’ll try your best to negotiate a date that works for everyone. 

  1. Don’t walk out

Now you’ve got an offer you might be tempted to just stop turning up at work. Don’t! It’s unlikely they’ll bother, but your employer could take you to court for breaching your contract. What is more likely is that you will get a negative reference that may affect this job and the next.

  1. Be open with your current employer

You need to tell your current employer that you’ve found another job and will be leaving. Be positive about your time there, explain that you are aware of your contractual notice period but would like to reduce it. That’s when the negotiation starts.

  1. Find a compromise

If your employer isn’t too keen on reducing your notice you will need to highlight what’s in it for them and what you can offer in return. Maybe, it’s the opportunity they’ve waited to change your role or bring someone back from furlough. Maybe you can help them finish an important project or help recruit your replacement. Or you have plenty of holidays left to use. 

  1. Keep your future employer updated

Regardless of how the negotiation is going, you need to let your next employer know how things are going. If you’ve given your notice and are not confident you’ll be able to leave early, tell them. Chances are, they were aware of your notice period and will wait for you (if not, they are probably not right for you anyway).

  1. Don’t give up

If your manager turns down your request, stay productive and professional until the end. Keep them updated on how you’re doing with the tasks you need to complete before leaving. You might be able to ask again if you’ve completed your handover or recruited your replacement earlier than expected.

You’ll be out soon! 

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