I’m available immediately…. But, I have a 2 week notice period…..

As a Recruitment Consultant, I deal with people’s notice periods on a daily basis. It makes up one of the ‘must ask’ questions in every interview. It is an important part of the process and a vital piece of information that can sometimes make or break an employment decision.

A fairly “standard” notice period for a permanent role is 4-weeks, although they can vary from 1-day through to 3 or 6 months! Generally, 4-weeks is enough time for a proper and thorough handover to be done for the new employee coming in/existing staff member who is taking the role. It also enables the employer to begin the recruitment process if they are in fact looking to re-fill the position.

In the current job market, particularly in Brisbane, we are seeing more confidence and movement across several sectors in comparison to the last 24 – 36 months. However, it is becoming increasingly competitive for each job and more of my candidates are feeling the frustration of being “pipped at the post” for a job they thought was perfect for them. A lot of the people I speak with are currently employed but are not 100% happy with their current arrangement so are speaking with me in order to find something more fulfilling. This fulfilment can come in a range of facets, but that is the topic for another blog!

The process, time and effort required to apply to a number of positions can be extremely difficult for people working 30 – 60 hours per week whilst also trying to juggle a family, social life and personal downtime. But what about the people I meet with and speak to every week who are not currently employed and looking for a new role?

Having spoken to a lot of people in this situation, I see their frustration in particular around not knowing when they are going to find a new role. They don’t have to worry about a notice period but they don’t know when the next opportunity will come along. Can you remember a time when you’ve been travelling to a new destination and wondering, ‘are we there yet?’. Perhaps you needed to go to the bathroom during a road trip, your legs were getting tired from walking or you were out of food and were starving hungry thinking to yourself that the destination may never come….. only for it to be 100m away on the other side of that hill!


If you had known the finish line was only another 100m away do you think your legs would’ve felt so sore?

If the next public bathroom was only around the corner would you have begged and pleaded with your driver to pull over so vehemently?

Similarly with job searching, if you knew that you would land a job starting on the 1st of next month, you would mentally and physically recharge knowing when you had to be ready to hit the ground running. You would be able to relax and complete those odd-jobs you’ve been putting off, maybe you would get out on the golf course or start that new painting you’ve been talking about for so long..

But people will argue; Surely not having to work every day would free up more than enough time to do the school drop-off, go to the gym, clean the house, and complete that to-do list which has been sitting there for the past 6 months…all whilst still applying for new positions and attending interviews with clients and recruiters?! After all, you’re not working!

If you were to then accept a new job starting next week, this wouldn’t have been what I would class as down time and I don’t think that this is the best way to transition into a new job.

The reason I wanted to write this was to float the idea of putting in your own personal notice period of 1 – 2 weeks even if you are ‘available immediately’. I am fully aware that this could jeopardise you actually getting the job and in those cases, it may not be feasible. However, if the option is there to take a week or even two before starting your new role, don’t feel guilty about asking for it. Ask your new employer to send through the safety procedures, manuals and/or general information about the position and tell them you would like to read them in your own time, at home whilst you unwind and recharge your batteries.

In a world that is becoming increasingly aware of mental health and the sometimes silent but massive effects it can have, why isn’t a weeks’ personal notice period something that is mandatory for all roles?

Isaac Dufficy – Executive Consultant

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