Should You Hire a Candidate Who Didn’t Give Two Weeks’ Notice?

December 18th, 2015

Your final candidates look great on paper. Every one of them has a glowing record of accomplishments, the right educational credentials, and a resume that aligns perfectly with the needs of your open position. But as you start contacting references and speaking to former employers, you notice a sharp distinction between some members of this group and the others. A few of them have a history of leaving their former employers on good terms and providing two week’s notice on their way out the door. A few of the others don’t. Does this detail matter? Should this one tiny distinction control the outcome of your decision?

In a word: yes. In fact, experienced employers typically rule out every candidate with red flag in this area. Here’s why.

Providing notice is more than a professional courtesy.

When a candidate leaves without providing notice, she may be leaving behind a world of trouble for her former employers, or she may be leaving no trouble at all. She might be placing others in a lurch that could cause irreparable damage to the company including lost clients, failed inspections, or even dangerous hazards that might get people hurt. Or she could be causing no problems of any kind. But the point is: the candidate doesn’t always know what she’s leaving behind. So erring on the side of courtesy shows respect for her former employers, her coworkers, the company’s customers, and anyone else who holds any stake in how (and if) her job gets done.

Providing notice is easy.

Two weeks isn’t a life sentence. In a free country, under an “at-will” employment agreement, employees can legally leave a position whenever they choose, for any reason they choose. But offering to spend just two more weeks on the job is often simple enough to do, regardless of what the circumstances may be.

Providing notice shows maturity and emotional control.

Even under emotionally charged conditions, a cool headed employee walks out the door calmly and with his dignity and professional relationships intact. He doesn’t just storm out. If the employer rejected the candidate’s request for an overdue raise or well-earned promotion, that’s a valid reason for an exit. But not that very day.

Providing notice demonstrates professional experience.

Some candidates opt not to give notice because their new employers would like them to start right away. But after a few years spent navigating the complexities and nuances of the professional working world, candidates learn to gently push back against this unreasonable request. Two week’s notice is a standard, courteous, and reasonable expectation for both parties.

For more on how to evaluate a candidates past record and assess what this record means for her future, reach out to the staffing and hiring team at PSU.

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