So you’ve landed the new job. The offer and benefits are good, company is great, and it’s a solid move for your career. When are resignations best delivered? And how should you go about doing it?

Background Checks

Background checks are getting more and more stringent. With prior employer and date verifications, education checks, reference checks, drug tests, credit checks, social media screenings — background check failures do happenAnd when 53% of all resumes contain some type of misinformation, that’s not entirely surprising.

The overwhelming majority of people we work with have never failed a background check and feel resignations are fine when the new offer is accepted. Some may even be encouraged to do so by their new employer. This is, of course, up to the professional. However, the best course of action is to wait until you have a green light from the background checking company. Mistakes and misunderstandings do happen, and there is no point taking any chances with your career and livelihood.


It is very important that resignations are handled correctly. Once your background check is clear, it is best to go to your immediate manager for a private conversation. Whether or not you have a good relationship with your boss, the gist of your conversation should be: “I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me in my time here. But unfortunately, the time has come for me to move on. Another opportunity has presented itself and, after much consideration, I’ve decided to accept it. Please know that this decision was not easy for me but I do believe it is in the best interest for me and my family. Please consider this my official two weeks’ notice. I plan to have my desk in order completely by my last day and of course will make myself available to you afterwards, for phone calls at night and on the weekends, until the transition is complete.”

Many people have close relationships with their boss and think they owe them further explanation. But if you’ve handled things correctly in the weeks/months leading up to this, your boss will already know why you are leaving. Most managers will want to see if there is anything they can change to make you stay. Most will try to offer you additional money or a new position. Some will even create a magical promotion or new position that didn’t exist before. But you need to ask yourself: “Where was this before?”  With their back against the wall, most managers will do anything to prevent a valued employee from leaving. It’s not personal, they are just acting in their own and the company’s best interest. But ideally, if money or a promotion is your motivation for leaving, you will have already asked for these things prior to pursuing another job, and this has left you no other option. That way, when these things are offered as a result of your resignation, you’ll know the reason why.  (See Blog on Counter-Offers)

Resignations are never easy, particularly if you like your manager and/or your company. But a good manager, who truly has your best interest at heart, will know that you have already exhausted your options with your employer and this is truly the best course of action for you.

After you have this conversation, you’ll need to follow it up with a formal email, written in similar fashion to the above conversation, and you should send it to your boss and CC your HR rep.  And then, it’s time to say your goodbyes and tidy up your desk.  Remember to never badmouth your company or any of its employees. This could come back to haunt you in the future. Keep everything rosy, say only good, positive things, and focus on the new opportunity being a better move for you personally. Keep it happy and positive, and you’ll do fine and no one can ever say anything bad about you after you’re long gone.

For the HR Pro, see How Can We Retain Our Team?

Longview Search Alliance, a boutique executive search firm based in Southern California, has over a decade of experience advising professionals on their careers, resignations, and hiring and retaining stellar candidates. Feel free to Contact Us with questions about your career or hiring the “niche” professional.  

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