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Resigning – is one week ok?

One-week notice - is that acceptable?

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Q: I was recently offered a job and accepted it immediately.  The interview process was rigorous and I am so excited to have been offered the job!  It is a wonderful opportunity and a step up in terms of responsibilities. 

I am working with a recruiter at a well-known placement agency.  The recruiter asked me if I could start the new job within a week.  I want to give at least two weeks’ notice to my current employer.  The recruiter told me that two weeks’ notice is really not necessary anymore.  I was told (by the recruiter) that I should focus on the new job, not the old one.  What’s your take?

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A: Congratulations on your new role!  It is encouraging to learn that candidates are accepting offers and that companies are hiring. 

My sense is that you know what you should do, but you are looking for validation.  I think the recruiter is not providing sound advice to you.  I think the recruiter is probably driven by the fee he or she expects to receive based on your placement in the new role.  A recruitment agency often issues their invoices after a candidate starts a new job.  The sooner you start, the sooner the recruiter gets paid. 

I think offering two weeks’ notice is what is expected of most professional roles.  Leaving your role in an honorable and ethical way is important.  My first reason is that it is simply the right thing to do.  Secondly, professional circles are often small ones, particularly in specific industries.  You may be working with one or more of your current colleagues at some point.  We never know what the future holds for our careers.  Depending upon your career path, you also may need a professional reference from your current supervisor or a colleague.  Separating from your current company in a professional way can only work to your benefit.  Stay firm in your conviction.  If your employer seems flexible with your notice period, you can let them know one week would be fine too. However, most employers hope and expect that an employer will offer at least two weeks’ notice.

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