After two years, the employment market has returned to levels that I have not consistently seen since the mid 2000`s.  When 3 candidates interview for 1 job, on several occasions 2 have been appointed with posts being created to accommodate exceptional skills and competencies. 

The urgency for a company to hire could reflects on their business model and similarly if a candidate negotiates their notice period to accommodate this urgency, how does this affect their employment attractiveness?

The situation recently has arisen as many companies have cut back on staff over the past few months/years and are so lean that they are close to the bone.  However there has been an increase in the number of companies recruiting and the talent pool has felt an immediate “twitch”.  The result is a perceived shortage of candidates and a high number of vacancies, causing a domino effect on demand.  All of a sudden, a candidate’s availability to start working quickly for a company becomes a key condition in a candidates suitability.

There are several reasons why a company may need to hire quickly.  Organic expansion and growth over a sustained period of time is a positive indicator of an employer’s future plans.  Healthy staff turn over is a sign that an employer will invest in its workforce and actively foster a culture of succession planning, either through internal promotion or moving up the career ladder externally. Unfortunately, though some companies react with a knee jerk reaction to market trends and employees can be the first to feel the pinch of commercial challenges.  When a company reacts spontaneously in making redundancies or laying people off, inevitably they are the first to hire when a re-bound occurs and need volume recruits quickly.  For some of these posts, short notice periods are crucial as the requirement is time critical. 

Conversely, employees who are seeking new roles, especially when disgruntled/unhappy are keen to increase their attractiveness to a potential new employer.  long notice periods can be perceived as unattractive and prohibitive, with a perception that they will miss out on a dream opportunity.  In recent conversations, both employers and candidates have indicating that they are available at shorter notice than they are contractually held to. In some instances, outstanding holiday is offered as an offset against a notice period and in extreme circumstances, the intention to waiver any notice period and leave immediately has been muted.

As much as an employer can view a suitable candidates notice period as an obstacle or a barometer of attractiveness, I would argue that an employers need for a candidate at short notice could be used as barometer to an employers attractiveness.  To put it another way, if an employer has cut staffing levels so severely that they can not maintain service levels/grow, have they cut staffing levels too much that they are putting undue pressure on current employees and will this cycle be repeated to potential recruits?  Similarly, if a company has an effective and purposeful succession plan, the urgency to recruit should be negated by foreseeing future gaps and planning for this.  On the same point, a candidate who is prepared to resign with immediate effect is showing a level of commitment that is also highly unattractive.

Able Bridge Recruitment work with a diverse number of candidates and employers who have different challenges.  In some instances, an employer could be legitimately facing an unexpected increase in demand.  This would naturally result in an urgent requirement to hire.  On the same token, an employee who is being made redundant may negotiate with their employer an early exit from their employment contract, as it makes commercial sense for both parties.

Ultimately, we would advise employee`s and employer`s that the message that you send to each other, in respect to notice periods, will reflect your level of loyalty to future employers.  If an individual is happy to walk away from an employer and leave them in a vulnerable position, then they will probably do the same to you.  At the same time, if a business has no concerns about cutting its labour force to the bare bone now, they will probably do it again in the future.  Communication, however is key and this is where a lot of problems start.  An employee should not be prevented from moving into a new role and an employer should not be left without adequate resource.  The default position should be that if you have agreed to a notice period, both parties should base this as a default.  Anything negotiated above and beyond, whether that is a shorter or longer notice period, is a bonus.  

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