A recent New York Times article explored the rising popularity of non-compete clauses in an array of jobs that historically have not required them. However, in the financial services industry, a non-compete or “garden leave” period is not a foreign concept for most professionals. In fact, it is because they are so common, that finance professionals looking for a new opportunity are advised to be fully educated on what is in their most current employment contract.
“A candidate should be ready to discuss the stipulations of their non-compete towards the end of the interview process, around the same time that the employer starts asking about compensation and visas,” explains Adam Harwood, a Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division. “This is a sign that the employer is getting serious about making an offer and is gathering all the details they need to bring the candidate on board. As a result, it’s also the time where you should be thinking about whether or not you would accept the opportunity.”
To ensure you can confidently describe the requirements of your garden leave period and aren’t at risk of being in breach of your contract, Adam advises his candidates to carefully review their contract and be very open and honest with the potential new employer about the terms. Doing this not only shows that you have done your due diligence, but are also interested in the role.
“If you sound confident about certain factors such as compensation and the details of your non-compete, the more prepared you will seem,” notes Adam. “Showing employers that you took the time and initiative to do your research can go a long way in terms of an offer.”
In fact, some employers may use your knowledge (or lack thereof) of your garden leave period to evaluate how detail-oriented you are. “This is a high-stakes business where every detail matters,” explains Adam. “If the employer is looking for a detail-oriented candidate who holds themselves accountable for their work, and you can’t provide them with basic information, or worse, you give them the wrong information, it will raise a major red flag. Offers have not been extended, or sometimes even rescinded, for a lot less.”
As a job seeker, you know it’s important to perfect your resume and prepare for the interview, so why not cross all your t’s and dot your i’s by reviewing your most current non-compete? It can never hurt to be overly prepared – especially when it can make all the difference between a job offer and rejection letter!