Turning down a job: The right way and the wrong way

Turning down a job: The right way and the wrong way

With the market being so competitive, and so many clients looking to hire great staff, candidates are often faced with more than one job offer, meaning they have to let someone down.

When turning down a job you are left with two options – the right way and the wrong way.

Over the last 12 years I have several examples where people have turned down a job but actually end up building a good relationship with the client (and the recruiter) because they handle the situation with honesty. I have also seen many examples of people burning bridges completely and potentially damaging their own reputation.

Here are 3 examples of the wrong way, all true stories I’m afraid…

I was working on a Head of QA role for a client we had made multiple placements with. After a hard drawn out process they made an attractive offer to a candidate (I don’t mind saying it was an 11k fee). The candidate accepted and signed and returned the paperwork. I stayed in touch regularly and nothing seemed amiss. I text the candidate on the Sunday to wish him well for tomorrow; he replied thanking me. Monday came and at 10.30am the client called asking me where the candidate was. It was 4 months before I spoke to that candidate again!! He completely disappeared because he didn’t have the minerals to call me or the client to let us know.

Another example is an Account Director who was offered and accepted a role with agency. The candidate was available immediately and was due to start within the week. Nothing can go wrong, right? Wrong. Another no show on start date without a call or email! This time on the dreaded Monday morning I call the candidate and receive an abroad tone… The candidate had moved to Germany over the weekend to take on a new role that was “too good to turn down” and had “forgotten” to tell me or the client! Amazing.

The final example is, I hope, very rare. I had a developer referred to me by a friend. The candidate did really well in the interview, his work examples and experience were perfect but I was not convinced he really wanted the job. Something was niggling me. He continued with the process and accepted the role. I mentioned to the client that I’m not 100% convinced but both wanted to continue. Monday came and he started, the client was delighted and on Monday evening the candidate told me he had a good day. Tuesday morning came and I got the call… The candidate phoned the client to say he wasn’t returning because he didn’t know the job was working on a product and actually wants to work for an agency! He knew all along the role was as described. Extremely frustrating for the client who had to return to square one. The candidate completely misjudged the situation and felt by starting and not liking it was somehow different to turning it down when offered.

My advice is ‘honesty is the best policy’! It might be brutal and uncomfortable but brutal honesty is an absolute must. Be brave, pluck up the courage and make the call. Don’t rely on emails and certainly don’t put it off and hope it will go away.

I’d love to hear the horror stories you’ve experienced? Or maybe your reasons for turning down a job in the way you did?

For more information regarding this blog or Lewis Hollings please contact me on Jordan@Lewishollings.com or call me on 07858 973 473

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