Some may say that having multiple job offers is a good problem to have – and that’s true! However, it becomes a much larger problem when the second job offer, the one you really wanted in the first place, comes after you’ve already accepted the first. While it’s true that you’re not legally bound to a role if you haven’t signed an employee agreement, reneging on your word is a bad look. As many in this line of work know, though, this issue plagues the industry.
Our best advice? DON’T DO IT – EVER! But we’re realists and we understand that these things happen. So if you are going to renege on an offer, please adhere to the following advice and take to heart the consequences of not heeding that advice.
Let The Employer Know ASAP – This is important. As soon as you know you no longer want to accept the job, let the employer know as soon as possible. The sooner you let them know, the sooner they can begin to start looking for your replacement.
If You Wait – If for some reason you drag your feet, this issue can become exponentially worse. As soon as you accepted the job offer, the employer no doubt began to contact other candidates they interviewed to tell them they were not selected. This means that these candidates will have now moved on. For some, that means they may have accepted another job. For others, they’ll know they weren’t the first choice. By accepting and then rejecting the offer, you’ve created a domino effect which could set both the employer, as well as the recruiting agency you worked with, back to square one.
And not to be overlooked, this also gives the recruiting agency a bad look. When you’re presented as one of their candidates your actions not only reflect upon yourself but upon your recruiting agency partner as well. In a worst case scenario, the employer could even sever ties with the recruitment agency. Think either company would ever consider you for open opportunities again?
Be Candid – If you must renege, do so in a truthful and straight forward fashion. Tell them why you’ve changed your mind and what it is about the other offer that is more enticing to you. While the employer may not be happy with your decision they’ll at least respect you for it. Plus, you may even receive a counteroffer!
If You’re Not – Simply put, you’ll be painted as a deceitful person. Someone that’s only out for their best interests despite how that may affect others. It’s not a great look and it’s a tough reputation to rid yourself of. While large, the IT industry is also a small community. People change jobs frequently and news/gossip spreads even faster. It’s possible you could run into the hiring manager of your scorned employer, or a close colleague of theirs, at another company. Again, would you like your chances of getting that job, or even an interview, from them?
Express Gratitude – Be sure to thank the employer for the opportunity to meet them and learn about their company. Be humble. Explain to them that turning down the job was a hard decision and that you’re aware of the unsavory position you’re leaving them in. Once again, they may not be happy about it but they’ll be more inclined to respect your decision.
If You Don’t – You’ll be burning a bridge. You do not want to burn bridges with an employer as you’ll never know if you’ll be seeking employment with them in the future. Of course, while the act of reneging on an offer is enough to burn a bridge, being discourteous while doing so would be like pouring gasoline on a fire.
The Final Word – To reiterate, as a staffing/recruitment agency there’s nothing we hate (yes, it’s strong language but it’s truthful) more than when a candidate backs out of a position they’ve already accepted. Despite the decision being out of our control it reflects poorly upon us – and especially you. How are we able to present ourselves as a trustworthy partner to our clients when our candidates aren’t able to live up to their word?
Moving forward, if you find yourself entertaining multiple job offers, our best advice to you (the candidate/consultant) is to delay acceptance of any job offer until after you’ve given your number one job complete consideration. This will at least give your staffing/recruitment partner a chance to go back to the negotiating table to see if there’s anything that can be done to make their role your number one. Maybe there’s nothing that can be done but your honesty and candor will have merit.
In a perfect world, you’ll never be faced with this dilemma. However, if you do find yourself in this predicament remember the best way to save face, for yourself and your recruiting partner, is all in the approach to how you handle the situation. Be timely, be honest, and be gracious. And never forget that your actions not only reflect upon yourself but also upon the recruitment agency who presented you with the opportunity in the first place.