Gracefully Declining a Job

As a recruiter, it is my job to seek out qualified individuals who would work hard for our company. It’s easy to grow attached to these individuals; I get very involved in our conversations and before you know it I can tell you all about this person’s first pet, their grandmother’s most delicious pecan pie, and their significant others’ recent job promotion. Needless to say, I often feel like I’m making friends instead of recruiting. Everyone knows that when a job seeking individual is meeting with a recruiter, they are going to do and say everything necessary to appear as a desirable employee: appear professional, easy to talk to, and well rounded. The recruiter will then try to make the best pitch possible and showcase their company as the best choice. It is within this time frame that you will most likely determine whether or not the company’s vision will fulfill the career goals you have for yourself. If you’ve read previous posts, you’ll know that I encourage going on several interviews, gain interview experience, find out what is going on in the industry, and find out what is being offered. Review my advice HERE. I stand by this. With that being said, if after the initial interview or two you know that you’re not going to honestly consider a position with the company, it’s best to part ways and decline gracefully.

Don’t string along your recruiter. If you have met with a recruiter once or twice, chances are that you have learned more than you really wanted to know about their company. If at that point you aren’t feeling like the company is a good fit for you, stringing along your recruiter is not something that I would encourage. Recruiters feel connected to you as they have taken some time to learn all about you and know you as a friend. The worst thing you can do is to lead them to believe you are genuinely interested in working for their company when you know in your heart that you’d like to pursue a different option.

phone callsDon’t waste anyone’s time if you aren’t sincerely interested. When a recruiter believes that someone wants to work for their company, the recruiter will do their best to get this potential new employee on board. This means staying in touch regularly and giving informed updates on current opportunities within the company. This can go on for months before graduation until there is finally have a firm position to offer. With an exciting opportunity ready to be offered, the recruiter reaches out to the potential employee… but then you don’t answer your phone. You don’t return the calls. You don’t respond to emails, texts…  Ahhh, the old Cold Shoulder Method.  With no response, the recruiter is left to assume that you are no longer interested. After months of building what the recruiter viewed as a trusting relationship with you, all that’s left is a bunch of wasted time.

Honesty is the best policy. Giving your recruiter the cold shoulder can feel deceitful, insensitive, and disrespectful.  Just remember this; you don’t want to burn your bridges. What happens if you accept a different job and realize that you made the wrong decision? You want to be able to go back to any potential employer and know that you ended things on a good note. An easy way to decline an offer is to just be honest. Simply respond with a quick call back to say that you’ve decided to pursue other options (a voicemail, text, email would suffice too).  If you’re looking for something closer to home, just say that. If you’re looking for a position within a different setting, just say that. If you don’t feel confident enough to take on this position as a new grad, just say that. Trust me, the recruiter will understand and will certainly appreciate your honesty.

And finally, know that your recruiter really is on your side. Of course your recruiter will be disappointed if you don’t accept the position offered to you. But if you are following your career goals then your recruiter will be very understanding and very happy for you. Now, go enjoy your day…. after you call all of those recruiters to let them know where you stand!

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