The Art of Politely Declining a Job Offer

by Sarah Steenrod, Director of Undergraduate Career Consultation & Programs

You’ve finally accepted a job offer – CONGRATULATIONS! It’s time to celebrate!

BUT…before you do so…Hold up!…Wait a minute!

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Take some time to reach out to any employers you have received offers from or if you are choosing to remove yourself from a company’s candidate pool. It’s better to do this sooner rather than later, as it could help another candidate have an opportunity you are no longer interested in.

You might be saying to yourself, this all sounds good, but what is the best way to go about doing so? We thought you might ask, so we went ahead and pulled together some tips:

Pick up the phone. It is likely that a recruiter has gone out of their way to provide you with information and answer any questions you have had throughout the recruiting process. Show them the same respect and personalized approach by reaching out to have a conversation.

Be very appreciative. Declining an offer can be very intimidating to job seekers. Before cutting to the chase, it always helps to lead in to the conversation by showing your appreciation of their time and interest in you.

Avoid the one liner. Whether in an email or over the phone, nothing feels more like a “slap in the face” to a recruiter than when a student sends them a one line message declining the offer.

Be transparent. It can be very helpful for a recruiter to know why you decided to go with another company or opportunity. Students can either feel free to provide some information about their decision making process and why they chose the company they did or be prepared for questions about their decision. Recruiters often have to report back to their team when offers are declined and it can be helpful to have some context. Some factors may be out of their control, such as a geographic or industry preference, but other factors could be within their control, such as offering housing or relocation assistance.

Keep in touch. A company you decline today might be your target five years from now. It’s always good to keep in touch with people you met during the process. Chances are if they liked you well enough to want to hire you, they will have an interest in keeping in touch as professional colleagues.

Remember – It’s a Small World. Recruiters often change companies and they rarely forget when they’ve been burned. They’re human, right? You should be in good shape if you do the right thing, tell the truth, and always say thank you! Not only are you representing yourself, you are representing the Fisher College of Business and The Ohio State University. Feel free to reach out to the Office of Career Management and schedule an appointment if you would like to discuss anything more specific to your situation 292-6024.

Again, congratulations on accepting an employment offer!

 

 

Reneging on job offers (Don’t do it)

Reneging on job offers is often a touchy subject—but nevertheless it’s a topic that business students are often confused about. What does reneging even mean?

Renege (definition): To go back on a promise, undertaking or contract

Synonyms: default on, fail to honor, go back on, break, back out of, withdraw from, retreat from, etc.

Sounds pretty serious, right? It is. As a Fisher business student, you will be developing a lot of relationships with peers, faculty, staff, and employer representatives. Along the way you will start to develop your “personal brand”—the unique set of characteristics that distinguish you from other job seekers. One of the characteristics of successful business people is having integrity. Loyalty, reliability, and honesty are all hallmarks of some of the most successful leaders in the world. If you want to start you career off on the right foot by gaining the respect of employers, reneging on a job offer is a situation you do not want to find yourself in.

It is very important that as you begin your internship or full-time job search, you manage your offers professionally. A verbal or written acceptance of an offer of employment is considered a commitment. It is never permissible to accept a job offer (either verbal or written) and later decline. This can get you into serious trouble! Not only will you lose the respect of the company, but you are harming your reputation (personal brand) as a job candidate.

The best way to prevent the possibility of having to renege on an offer is to always openly communicate with employers about your current job search. If you receive a job offer, but you are still waiting to hear back from other companies, it is almost always appropriate to ask for a deadline extension. Most companies are aware that you are probably looking at other employment opportunities, so they will not be surprised if you ask for more time to decide. If the company truly wants you to work there, they will accommodate your request.

Here is an example situation: Let’s say that you interviewed with Company A on October 12th and Company B on October 15th. Company A is your top choice, and Company B is your second choice. Company B really liked you, and they promptly made you an offer on October 16th and asked for a decision by October 23rd. You still have not heard back from Company A, your first choice, although they told you that you would know by October 27th.  The most appropriate way to handle this situation is to tell Company B about your status. You could say,

“Thank you so much for the offer. I am definitely considering your offer; however, I am currently in the process of interviewing with another company and would like to follow through with their process. I should hear back from them by October 27th. It would really help me to make the best decision if I could have an extension on accepting your offer. Could I have until November 1st to give you my decision?”

Asking for an extension this way accomplishes 2 things:

1) You are being honest and open with the company about your situation, thereby promoting integrity in your relationship with the company

2) If the company agrees to your new deadline, you have given yourself the opportunity to evaluate both job offers, if you receive an offer from Company A

In most cases, the company will agree to your terms. During fall recruiting season, the Office of Career Management encourages all companies to give students an acceptance deadline of November 1st, or four weeks from the time of the offer (whichever date comes later). In the spring, we recommend 2 weeks in order to give students adequate time to truly consider the offer.

Not only does reneging hurt your reputation, but it also can come with some pretty serious consequences! If it is determined that you have reneged on either an internship or career position offer, you will be asked to meet with one of our full-time staff members in Career Management to discuss your situation. Depending on your situation, consequences could include: your writing of a letter of apology, your access to FisherConnect being discontinued, and/or your access to services as an alum being denied.

If you find yourself in a situation with multiple job offers, it would be very helpful to you to meet with a Career Consultant in our office to discuss the offers and how to manage deadlines, so that you can make good decisions and not violate any policies. Simply call our office at 614-292-6024 to schedule an appointment. We are here to help you in any way we can!

For more info, check out this blog about an employer’s perspective when students renege on an offer: http://blog.naceweb.org/2014/08/19/when-a-student-reneges-on-a-job-offer-an-employers-perspective/

 

 

Ch-ch-check me out!

There is nothing more heartbreaking than hearing about a student who loses an amazing career opportunity due to a mistake from their past. It’s important for job seekers to know just how much digging their future employer will do!

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Please keep in mind that some of these “screenings” often times don’t happen until close to the employment start date. If you are concerned about something from your past showing up, talk with the Office of Career Management to determine the best approach for discussing it with a potential employer.

Credit Checks

So, you’ve convinced a company to let you manage millions of their company’s dollars, but you keep forgetting to pay your Old Navy bill…Houston we have a problem! An employer will assume that if you haven’t been fiscally responsible in the past, you likely won’t be in the future. If you have any concern about what might show up on your credit report, meet with Scarlet & Gray Financial http://swc.osu.edu/financial-education-coaching/

Drug Testing

Just like you learned in elementary school, it’s best to “Say Nope to Dope!” It’s plain and simple, if you don’t pass the drug test, you won’t get the job. Keep in mind, taking someone else’s prescription can make you fail a drug test. If you have a drug problem and need some help or resources, please contact: http://swc.osu.edu/alcohol-tobacco-other-drugs/

Background Checks

Employers will ask for your approval to conduct a background check and once they receive it, they utilize a variety of resources to see if there are any causes for concern. Examples include: criminal and civil courts’ records, past employment records (always be honest on employment applications), and driving records (they likely won’t let you drive the company car if you were charged with reckless operation of a vehicle).

The moral of the story is, learn from your mistakes, be honest and transparent, and don’t do anything we wouldn’t do!

~ Sarah

Tips for Negotiating Your Job Offer

Fall recruiting is in full swing here at the Office of Career Management, which means that in the next few months, our talented Fisher students are going to be receiving, evaluating and accepting internship and full-time job offers.

When you receive that first offer, your first thoughts might be along the lines of “Someone wants to pay me actual dollars??? Sure, I’ll take it! Woo hoo! Pizza for everyone, I’m rich!!!!!”

Well, hold your horses there cowboy.

While you will be excited upon an initial verbal offer, it is highly advisable to not accept the opportunity right away. Whether you end up negotiating the offer or not, “stepping back” from the initial offer for a minimum of a few days will allow you to assess the offer and identify any potential issues for negotiation.

Here are some helpful tips for negotiating your job offer:

  • Negotiation discussions do not have to be conducted with the human resources representative who may have signed your letter of offer. Unless the company directs you otherwise, the best person to begin negotiation discussions with is usually the individual who has been the most consistent presence throughout the hiring process. Often, this is the recruiter who interviewed you on campus. If you are unsure of where to begin your negotiation, you can call this recruiter to ask.
  • Negotiation discussions are more effective when conducted in-person versus on the telephone. You should schedule a time to discuss details of the offer in order to have the full attention of the person with whom you are negotiating. Attempting to negotiate through e-mail or letter correspondence is discouraged.
  • Enter any negotiation discussion with a positive, civil, collaborative and appreciative attitude— how you negotiate will often be the first indication of how you conduct business.
  • Negotiation is an exploration of options and not necessarily a win-lose proposition—stick to facts and not personalities or subjective feelings.
  • While negotiation is highly recommended (you do not know what you can get unless you ask), it should not be viewed as required or a sign of weakness should you opt to accept the initial terms of the offer (a high percentage of initial offers are fair and determined by market value and your qualifications).
  • While salary is important, do not get too focused or “hung up” on dollars. Think in terms of the entire salary and benefits package being offered.
  • Have a clear decision in your mind regarding your “bottom lines” (salary and benefits), as well as your areas of most flexibility (salary, vacation time, bonuses, relocation expenses, etc.) prior to beginning a negotiation discussion. Decide if your strategy will be to “walk away” if the negotiation does not meet your bottom line, or if you will retreat prior to making a final decision or beginning a second round of negotiation.
  • While it is common for a company to be interested in your salary history as a possible indication of your salary value in the present, do not let this become a sole indicator or rationale. Some sample responses: “My salary history has followed a steady upward path and I have never failed to receive merit increases.” OR “I was earning $___ in my last position; however, I view this position as different from my last position and my skills and qualifications to be stronger as well.”
  • There will come a point in any negotiation where the company will indicate their “top salary offer.” If this salary figure is still short of your expectation based upon your research and market assessment, and you are still interested in the position, your response could establish other elements of the offer as more negotiable. A sample response to the final salary offer: “Even though the salary is not as high as I had anticipated based upon my research, I am still interested. Can we re-visit the package and see if there is anything here that is negotiable such as…(bonus, relocation expenses, performance review dates, job title, insurance, professional association fees, training schedule, tuition reimbursement, etc.).”

Name Tags are here, ya’ll!

As you probably saw during our Twitter/email campaign this summer, the Ohio Union no longer allows stick-on name tags during any event in their facility. For Fisher students, that means we won’t have those sticky name tags available to print anymore. That’s okay, they’re not really environmentally friendly, and we’re Fisher, so let’s step up our game a bit, shall we?

Thompson Library Name Tag

Look how nice Brutus Buckeye’s name looks when it’s attached to a magnet! Gorgeous.

If you ordered your name tag by the August 21st deadline, stop by our office, 150 Gerlach Hall, and pick yours up! We want to make sure you have yours in time for the Fisher Fall Career Fair, so we have extra staff members on hand to assist you over the next few days.

I mean, look at all these name tags! Seriously.

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