Essential FAQs for Job Changers: What You Need to Know


Transitioning to a new job is among life’s most stressful events, often accompanied with a plethora of questions. These are the questions you don’t want to ask your colleagues because you don’t want words spreading prematurely — many would keep their intention to resign confidential until their plans are solidified.  Drawing from my experience as a recruiter supporting numerous candidates through their job changes, I ‘ve compiled this FAQ to address the nitty-gritty about notice period, bonus payout and other matters that surprisingly elude many.


Notice period

  1. Can I use my annual leave to offset my notice period?

Depending on specifics outlined in your employment contract and pending HR’s final approval, many organizations offer employees the option to use accrued annual leave to fulfill part or all of their notice period. If this option is not available, the accrued annual leave will be compensated in monetary form.


  1. Will it be possible for my new employer to buy me out?

Buyouts, where your new employer offers monetary compensation for an earlier start date, are more likely when the notice period exceeds one month, provided that your employment contract doesn’t expressly exclude it. However, if a buyout occurs, you’ll be obligated to remain in the new job for at least one year, or you may be required to repay the buyout amount. When the new employer offers a buyout, you’ll need to cover the cost upfront before receiving reimbursement.


  1. What if I‘ve taken more annual leave than I am entitled to?

Annual leave is calculated on a pro-rata basis. If you’ve taken more annual leave than you are entitled to, the excess days will be deducted from your final salary.


Bonus payout

  1. Should I wait until I receive my bonus before exploring new opportunities?

While it’s understandable for candidates to wait until they receive their bonus before exploring new opportunities, they should be aware that there will also be heightened competition in the job market after bonus payout.

In fact, some employers provide a sign-on bonus for those who are forfeiting their bonus to join them, so candidates should explore opportunities earlier to maximize their chances of securing a desirable job. Keep in mind, though, that accepting a sign-on bonus may require the employee to commit to staying for the first year, or face repayment if they resign.

Therefore, when timing your resignation, you should consider all factors holistically, including potential competition in the job market, salary increment, sign-on bonus, etc.


Narrating job changes in an interview

  1. Should I tell my new employer if I’m being made redundant from my existing company?

Yes, there is no need to conceal it, as it typically doesn’t deter employers. Many understand the challenges posed by economic circumstances.


  1. How should I respond when asked about my reasons for leaving?

It’s important to avoid speaking negatively about your previous employers or sharing personal details. Instead, focus on aspects of the working environment that weren’t conducive to your needs, such as flexibility, support from management, job responsibilities, or feedback culture, etc. You can also be honest about seeking better compensation, as some employers view a desire for financial incentive as a sign of motivated, particularly in sales roles. However, it’s essential not to let money be your sole reason for seeking new opportunities.


  1. When asked to state an expected salary, should I inquire about the new employer’s offer instead?

It’s generally not recommended. Instead, consider asking about the entire compensation package like annual leave, bonuses, working arrangements, before disclosing your salary expectations. Once you have a clear understanding of the overall package, you can then provide a salary range based on your bottom line.


  1. Is it a concern to let the prospective employer know that I’m interviewing with multiple companies?

Not at all. It’s perfectly acceptable. Aim to convey honesty without appearing to be shopping around excessively. Interviewing with more than one company can actually enhance your competitiveness.

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