I’ve often compared recruiting to dating; there are so many similarities that it’s hard not to do so. Like dating, both parties (recruiter and candidate) want to present themselves in the best light and be equally attractive to each other. In the beginning, each party is likely seeing other people and the promise of exclusivity is not yet there. With each phone call, email, and interview, a relationship is built; with all of these actions leading to the culmination of the courtship: a long-term commitment, a proposal of marriage or from a recruiting standpoint, the extension of a job offer.
But here is where things can get sticky. For some candidates, they’ve waited for this moment and will accept the opportunity on the spot! Other candidates will have a harder time because maybe they’re a bit unsure. With the latter individuals in mind, here are my suggestions on what NOT to do once you receive a job offer.
Don’t Pretend to Consider an Offer
I get it, interviewing with only one company is extremely risky. You want to be in a position where you’re entertaining multiple offers; this is the ideal position for the graduating college senior. But this ideal position is a tricky one because although you’ve received an offer, what if it’s from the company that’s not your first choice?
My best advice, consider the offer. Don’t just pretend to consider it. Your recruiter will know if you’re just going through the motions waiting for a better offer to come in. Instead examine all the elements and determine if you were to receive no other offers, would you be happy accepting the one that’s in front of you?
Focus on the Offers that ARE on the Table
Yes, in an ideal world all employers would respond within the same time frame, but that is very unlikely. If you have an offer on the table, but are waiting to hear from another organization, reach out to the organization you’re waiting for and let them know you have another offer. If they don’t get back to you, move on, and focus on the offer that is actually in front of you, not the one you’re waiting to appear.
The last thing you want to do is to lose an offer you actually have for one that “might” be forthcoming. Even more so, the last thing a recruiter wants to hear is that you are not sure if you can accept their opportunity because you “may” be getting an offer from another organization. Although it may not be your intention, the message the recruiter hears is “I am so not interested in your opportunity that I would rather wait for another offer to come along than accept the offer you’ve extended.”
Decline before the Deadline
A recruiter will likely give you a timeframe to consider their job offer. Don’t wait until the very last day to inform them of your decision. I suspect that when the offer came in, you had a pretty good idea of if you were going to accept or decline the opportunity. You’ve probably spent the remainder of the deliberation time affirming why your initial decision is the right one for you. Once you’ve determined that you don’t want the opportunity, reach out to the recruiter and politely decline. Not waiting until the very last day shows respect for the recruiter’s time and allows them to potentially offer another candidate.
Declining an offer is much like a breaking off a relationship. It’s a better discussion to have over the phone instead of via email or voicemail. It’s during a break up that you learn the most about a person and depending upon how the situation is handled, you may or may not be able to go back to being just friends.