Will My Notice Period Affect My Job Search?

By Georgina Stewart

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Tired of knowing that you can do more (and be more) than your current job allows? It may be time for you to find another job, to go forward and move up in the world. However, it’s possible that you may find that whilst you’re focused on searching for the job of your dreams or that one risk that will pay off for the rest of your life – your notice period could be holding you back.

The Problem With The Notice Period
A contract that has been written by your employer and signed by both you and the employer will state how much notice each of you must give prior to leaving. Many businesses use this as a method of tying their employees to the company by writing a lengthy notice period into the candidate’s contract before they sign.
Ordinarily this would not be a problem but if you’re looking to obtain a better job this notice period could affect your job search and the amount of interest and interviews that you receive.

A Recruiter’s Perspective
A recruiter or any interviewer that enquires about your notice period may be interested in giving you a chance, on the other hand they may just be curious about the contractual requirements of the company that you currently work for. Either way, if a recruiter or interviewer were to ask about the period of notice that you must give before leaving your current job they would be dismayed and perhaps more than a little disheartened if they were to find out that the notice period was longer than 6 weeks.

This reaction is down to the fact that a recruiter or a company that are interested in either your talents or your skills are looking for you to start the job as soon as possible. If a company are looking to hire a highly skilled individual in an emergency you will not be considered for the job due to the fact that your notice period does not allow for you to leave your company within a matter of weeks and begin somewhere else.

Working Around the Problem
Due to the fact that you have to abide by your contract you can not walk away from your current job sooner than the period of notice allows; however there are a few ways in which you can shorten this period of notice legally.

- Breaching the Contract
If you believe that your employer has breached their contract with you and you can prove that they have done so you can terminate your contract with the company without having to give prior notice. However, it’s essential that the employer has breached the contract in a fundamental way for this to be applicable.

- The Right to Waiver
Another method by which you can shorten the period of notice is by speaking with your employer and coming to the mutual decision to allow you to waive your notice period.

- Summary Dismissal
This isn’t a method that we advise that you use due to the repercussions involved; but it’s possible that you can be dismissed without notice if you commit gross misconduct.

- Pay Rather than Notice
This is another method that you must discuss with your employer. If the employer is willing they may agree for you to receive pay instead of notice – although this is a breach of your contract unless expressly stated otherwise.

- A Counter-Notice
If you happen to have been given a notice of dismissal whilst you are looking for another job you can give a counter-notice that states that you wish to leave earlier than the date that you were given by your employer. This means that you will be able to leave the company much sooner than you would have been able to previously.

The best way for you to move forward and to sort out your period of notice is to come to a compromise with your employer; this means that you must talk through the situation with your employer and discuss what can be done to shorten the period of time that you must stay after giving your notice of leave.
However you settle the matter, it’s important that you leave your job on good terms as you may find that your new job is not as interesting as you first thought; your reference also depends on your previous employer.

Georgina Stewart is a committed member of the team at Marble Hill Partners, a company that specialises in finding the right staff to assist you in filling interim management positions and executive roles.

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