If your period of unemployment has been lengthy, you may be so desperate for a job that the idea of rejecting an offer isn’t something you would contemplate. It may seem odd to even think about turning down an offer, so consider this read a luxury, but recall it later.
It has been my experience that people who are job searching go for a long period with no job offers at all, and then in a short period of time receive multiple offers. Not always, but often. It could well be that you actually accept a job offer, but before you start, a second job offer is made. You can’t take both, so what do you do?
Presumably, you would be interested in either job or you would not have applied to them, unless out of desperation. If desperation was the case, maybe your choice is easier because one clearly is preferable to the other. But if two jobs doing something you’d enjoy are presented, a new kind of stress emerges. What if you make the wrong choice and hate it in the first few weeks? Going over the pros and cons quickly is advised. When you inevitably say yes to one company, you have to say no to the other. The worst thing you can do is flat-out ignore the employer who presented a job offer to you; do that and you’ll likely never get another at that employer if things change and you reapply. If that company is part of a larger organization that owns several brands, you’ll be blacklisted with all those organizations.
Generally it is standard practice to inform a company that you are passing on their offer. Be it in person or over the phone, you want to save the relationship even if you pass on the job. Communicating appreciation for their confidence in you, telling them it was a tempting offer, but ultimately deciding on another offer of employment is never bad advice. After all, if they wanted you, it isn’t hard for them to understand someone else wanting you too. The goal here is for you to essentially reject the company who selected you, but as stated, keep the good will between you and the company. You may need them in the future, either as a future employer or business partner.
Now on the other hand, if the company presented it’s offer via a letter in the mail, you could conceivably and quite professionally reply in kind with a letter of your own. This is getting rarer with the number of communication options available. Phone calls either presenting an offer, or a meeting to present an offer are far more common.
But hold on. What about those situations where you actually accept a job, and on day 3 you get an offer from one of the companies you applied to when you had no work, and the new offer is one that is much more appealing than the job you accepted and have started? Ah, now that’s tricky and a cause for even greater stress. Good stress when compared to the stress of no job and no income, but stress nonetheless.
In this scenario, some people would keep working at the job because they value loyalty and dedication greatly, and feel they owe the employer that much after they accepted the job. The employer by now has notified other applicants that the position has been filled, and they are investing time and money training you. But some people would look at things differently. You’ve only been there 3 days, the company could offer the job to someone else quite quickly from those they interviewed. Three days of training isn’t much to to do over. So you could bite the bullet, immediately talk to your employer to explain the situation, resign and leave.
Most employers do what they can to make offers of employment to solid qualified candidates. Those they didn’t offer jobs to are not always poor applicants, it’s just that someone stood out a little more. For the company to take their 2nd choice and advise that individual they have a job if they want it is not the end of the world. Inconvenient yes, but companies can survive the transition to another employee. Expect them to be disappointed and frustrated – why shouldn’t they be? I have also seen situations where a company ups their original offer in order to attract a person who tells them they are accepting a competing offer. This isn’t common, but I’ve seen it more than once.
In the end though, I think you have to decide upon the job that will bring you the most happiness. Happiness means considering factors like earnings, transportation, commute time, hours of work, benefit packages, job responsibilities, opportunities for advancement, and size and stability of the company.
What a change of fortune when you go from having no job at all to multiple offers! I love seeing the change in people at this point; going from feelings of low self-worth, to exhilaration because you’re in demand and two employers suddenly value your worth!
Should you turn down a job offer, do it with good manners and class. It takes very little effort to do so and can make a stressful situation easier.
Written By Kelly Mitchell
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