Executive Recruiter Advice for Resignations

Lead5 is the platform built to equip, inform, and educate executives on their entire career journey. One of the major inflection points for any executive is the resignation process. In today’s market it is common for an exec to work for 4 or 5 companies across a 25-year C-level career. That means likely 2 or 3 awkward and often contentious moments of informing your boss or the board of your resignation.

With the Lead5 team we have decades of executive search experience and have summarized the best practices for resigning from your C-level position:

  • Approach the resignation with a focused, firm, and disciplined approach. Rehearse the conversation with your boss and do everything possible to resign in-person not via phone or zoom. Be clear and efficient – do not get into a long, drawn-out discussion.
  • Keep the reasons for departing your company focused on your new position and be gracious and appreciative of the growth and opportunity you have been afforded at the company you are leaving. It is common to keep your future company name confidential as there are multiple legitimate reasons for confidentiality (new deal coming together, timing of announcement of your appointment, etc.)
  • Assure your boss you are not going to a competitor (if that is accurate). If they press you for the company name of where you are going it is best to let them know you can share this information at a later date. If you are going to a competitor, it is best to have had a lawyer review the non-compete prior and make sure the company you are joining will support you against any action taken to enforce a non-compete.
  • While a two-week notice is a common time frame for most jobs, at the C-level the average is a 3-to-4-week notice. You want to leave well and balance working hard through your transition but also join the new company with energy and a sense of urgency.
  • Do not accept a counteroffer! While this is self-serving advice coming from executive recruiters, the reality is you are leaving your current job for reasons beyond compensation. When accepting a counter, these reasons remain. Once a counteroffer is accepted, the relationship between the company and executive is never the same. The company perceives loyalty and trust have been broken and executives often comment, “If they valued me in this way for my compensation (or job level) why did it take resigning to get it?” No one wants to advance their career by extortion. This is never a good long-term strategy!

Do you have additional advice and tips from resigning? If so, join Lead5 today and share with the Lead5 community to discover the intel you’ve been missing to advance your executive career!