In the course of an interview, you (the hiring manager) asks the candidate when they can start. The candidate responds with, “When would you like me to start?” In a perfect world, you could request that this perfect candidate start right away, but realistically the candidate is currently working for someone else and must follow some rule about giving two weeks’ notice. But, what if the candidate says that they don’t mind not giving this standard notice? Should you still hire someone like this?
Why not. You want the candidate and you know that you can offer this person a much better career opportunity. They know it and that’s why they are willing to bend a little to get in the door faster. Besides, is the two-week notice even the standard anymore?
Um, not so fast. You want to hire a professional, someone who demonstrates this with ethical decisions and actions. Not giving a proper notice could be viewed as being somewhat unprofessional or hasty. It could also be that the candidate is eager to come work for you and leave the other job behind – for a variety of reasons.
What to do?
First, ask the candidate if not giving a proper notice will burn any bridges with the former employer. After all, they want to use them for a reference in the future, right? This is ultimately up to the candidate to decide, so don’t judge them. Keep in mind that the candidate may have already advised a current employer of departure, or may have some vacation time to use up — so it’s not that big of a deal.
Second, advise the candidate that the start date is flexible, so you can wait if they need to give a two-week notice. This helps the candidate to see you value them in this process. It also gives the candidate the chance to adjust to a new job offer, take care of wrapping things up with a former employer, and get the background screening processing out of the way before the official start date.
If the candidate is still interested in starting soon, let them know you can accommodate them. You want the candidate to be comfortable and have a positive onboarding experience with your company, so be adaptable and work with the candidate to make this a smooth start.