How Much Notice To Give?

May 24, 2011

We had some European prospects pop by our offices the other day. As the Labs team members introduced themselves, our visitors asked how we each contributed to OpenView Venture Partners‘ success. When our recruiting team gave an overview of how we source, interview, provide compensation data, and the like, the focus of the discussion suddenly shifted. “When you recruit people, how much notice are they expected to give their current employers?” asked one Scandinavian prospect.

Naturally, the response was two weeks as that seems to be standard protocol, at least in these American parts. The prospects gasped in amazement and went on to tell us that in many European countries, 3 months is bare minimum when it comes to giving notice. I cannot confirm this, but I have the feeling they were referring to employees at their level, which seemed to be senior management. Either way, who am I to judge, but 3 months sounds like a lot!! I know many European countries like France have 32-35 hour work weeks, so there might be less time to do a knowledge transfer from one employee to another, but 3 whole months??

That got me thinking, so I decided to reach out to my global network to get an idea of how much notice is typically given in their respective countries. This is important to me as a venture capital recruiter because my firm, from time to time, does invest in expansion stage technology start-ups that are founded overseas, but then move their operations to the United States. When this happens, I want to be cognizant of the differences in professional protocols, norms, and etiquettes. I wasn’t around when Australian-born Exinda moved to Andover or when Denmark-born Zmags moved to Boston, but I definitely want to be prepared when cultural adjustments and alignments take place next.

Based on the responses received, I discovered that on average 1 month seems to be the norm in terms of notice given. Keep in mind that once you start dealing with Director-level roles and up (VP, CEO, etc) you can double or even triple that amount of time. For those of you who care to take a deeper dive, here are my findings (on average):

Argentina : 2 weeks
Austria :  4 weeks
Canada :  2 weeks
Denmark : 4 weeks
El Salvador : 4 weeks
India : 4 weeks
Indonesia : 4 weeks
Jamaica : 2 weeks
Japan : 4 weeks
Mexico :  4 weeks
Philippines :  4 weeks
Singapore : 4 weeks
Spain : 4 weeks
Turkey :  4 weeks
UK : 4 weeks
UAE : 4 weeks

As you can see, in comparison, the United States has one of the more “mobile labor markets” as my colleague, Tien Anh Nguyen puts it. Perhaps this is because just about all employment terms in this country are at will, versus contracts that are renewed after a certain period of time. I’ll dive into possible explanations behind this in a later blog post.


Director of Recruiting

Victor Mahillon is the Director of Recruiting at <a href="">Kamcord</a>. Previously he was a Talent manager at OpenView.