How to resign properly, leave on good terms and not feel too awkward!

  • May 16, 2019

If you’re reading this, the chances are you’re looking to leave your current role or you are mid-way through the process (receiving an offer/about to resign).

Resigning can be a tricky situation to manage and get a bit messy if you’re not in control, especially if you’ve been in a company a long time and have personal relationships with other team members.

Each company hire staff in different ways – some like to do their reference checks before making an offer. Others will make you a verbal offer, follow it up in writing and ask for references once you’ve resigned.

Resigning is something nobodies really trained in and will generally make you feel guilty, so I thought I’d write up a bit of a guide on the process. This is the textbook way to do it (I feel) especially as you may encounter other offers, etc.

The annoying bits are – 1) The guilt aspect, 2) Potential counter offer from your current employer and lastly, 3) Other offers coming in and recruitment consultants putting pressure on you to take their offer.

A key point is that this is about bettering your career and is just a business decision for your own growth – nothing personal. Hopefully you’ve a good boss who is supportive in your decisions (really important to remember).

One thing to remember is that if your current boss starts to make you feel un-comfortable because you’re moving on (after a good innings in the company) – this should really make the decision easier for you, that it’s time to move on. Any boss should really be supportive in your decision and understand that their staff will move on at some point.

This is a step by step / best-case scenario (in my eyes). However – each company hire differently, so at times there’s a bit of a juggling exercise. Open communication and transparency are going to be your allies throughout this process.

  • You carry out all your interviews and then receive a verbal offer from a company and if you want to accept it, then do so. Generally the offer will be ‘subject to references’. ‘Subject to references’ means – they will carry out reference checks on you once you have accepted the offer verbally.
  • Remember that you are accepting this verbal offer because it’s the role you want and would feel comfortable cancelling other interviews. You need to be honest/up-front with your recruiter/other companies on timescales, if you need a bit of time because you want to attend other interviews. This is normal.
  • If you have an offer and still want to attend other interviews, but the business who have offered you are putting pressure on you to accept – take that as a sign… do you really want to be working somewhere, where already they’re making you feel un-easy & applying pressure?
  • The verbal offer needs to be sent to you in an email so its official. Just because it’s a ‘verbal offer’ generally still makes it an official offer from the business. Do not resign purely based on this email/call though..
  • If you are accepting, you stop interviewing elsewhere and cancel any other applications you had going. If you do want to carry on interviewing, you need to keep your recruiter in the loop as to why. A good recruiter should be supportive and work with you on this.
  • If the company you’re moving to need the references now, supply them with 2 previous places of work and the managers you reported to. Make sure they are aware that these references you’re giving them are not your current place of work. Obviously – a reference should only be carried out from your current workplace once you’ve resigned and your manager knows you’re moving on.
  • If the other interviews you had booked (which you’re now cancelling because you’ve accepted an offer you’re happy with) are through recruitment consultants – just tell them straight. A lot of recruiters can be pushy. Don’t let them bully you or say ‘oh this is un-professional’. Have the guts to call and tell them and then follow it up with a professional email, thanking them for their time, so it’s official. If they continue to hound you, just don’t answer.
  • You should be at the point where you’ve received a L.O.O (letter of offer) and contract. Read them through and sign them.
  • Once you’ve returned the contract, you can resign. Book a meeting with your boss and resign face to face. Have an amicable conversation, thanking them for everything and the reasons why you’re moving on. As above, this should generally be a positive chat and they should understand your reasons.
  • Follow up your resignation with a resignation email, thanking your employer for the opportunity and stating your last day of work.
  • Once you have resigned, I (the recruiter) do your 2 references ideally from your current manager and 1 other. Once I’ve got them back, I send them to your new employer and they get your new contract out to you, for you to sign. You agree your new start date and work out your notice.

*As mentioned above, references can be done as soon as a company want to make an offer, or, once they’ve sent you the contract and you’ve returned it. Online reference checking (like Xref) is becoming increasingly popular also, where they’re carried out over email.

Counter offers;

Counter offers come up regularly. Your boss wants to sit down and conduct an exit-interview with you now that you’ve resigned and then throws another $10k-$15k at you to stay. Think about a couple of things;

If they are offering you an increase in salary because you are worth it, why didn’t they give you that sooner? It’s just a knee-jerk reaction to keep you..

Statistics say (on Google – don’t quote me here), but most people who resign, then accept a counter offer to stay, will generally move on within the next 12 months anyway.

So if you’ve been made a good offer – the money/increase is important, but it’s not everything. Make sure you are going to be part of a team where you are not the smartest person in the room, you can learn and you’re excited by the work.

Receiving two or more offers at the same time?

You could also be in the situation where you have two offers – a great problem to have but also stressful. A good friend of mine gave me some amazing advice once. If you’re in that situation; take the money away from it. Take the money away from both roles and which offer is most appealing to you and go for that one. Things like; are you working with smart people? Do they have a good brand? But most importantly, is your career going to progress there? Money (I don’t think) is what’s going to get you pumped to go to work each day. It’s the projects, the people, the culture, the office vibe, etc.

Where it can go wrong;

You have to make sure you are clear on your decisions if you’re in the scenario of having 2 offers. I have seen a candidate before receive 2 offers, keep them both on ice for a week (as he wasn’t able to make up his mind), and both businesses withdrew their offers as they felt he didn’t have the desire to work there. Fair enough really.

That’s pretty much it. Hopefully this has added some value!!

Any questions, please drop me a line;