Give Proper Notice
The first question a new employer asks is how soon can you start. It is very exciting to get a new job offer, and it is tempting to start right away. However, resist that urge. It is very important to give your current employer sufficient notice. You need to give at least the minimum required by the company policy manual, whether it is two weeks or six weeks or something in between. However, sometimes an employer does not want your services once you inform them that you are leaving. I had one boss who viewed getting a job with someone else as a betrayal and did not even want to speak with me once I made the announcement that I was taking another job.
If you don’t give proper notice, it can backfire on you with your new employer and your old employer. Your new boss may think you lack integrity if you do not give notice to your current employer. He may also wonder if you are going to give short notice if and when you leave the new job.
Leaving without the proper notice can also mean that you are not leaving in good standing with your current employer. This can have ramifications until the end of your career. Some employers have a policy that if you did not leave in good standing you are not eligible for rehire. This means that any reference from this employer will show that you are not eligible for rehire, whether you ever thought about going back or not. As a Human Resources Director, I have also seen old employees come back and apply for their old jobs many years later, not knowing that they are automatically excluded if they did not give the proper notice.
Help With the Transition
Even if you did not like the old employer, don’t burn any bridges before you leave. Even if you don’t intend to ever come back, you may need a reference from them in the future. Be sure to volunteer to help your old employer in the transition. Perhaps, during this transition, you can spend one day a week training your successor or wrapping up projects. Make a list of all the projects you are working on so there will be continuity after you leave. Helping your old employer makes you look good with your new employer. It shows that you have dedication and integrity so that when you leave its employ, if ever, you will do the same thing.
If you follow these tips, you will be interviewing like a pro.