When declining an offer, there is almost never anything to be gained from explaining your rationale. Be gracious (i.e. thank the person who delivered the offer to you), indicate that you have decided to pursue another opportunity and move on.
If you feel the need to explain your decision, it can and likely will be misconstrued. "I have decided to accept a competing offer that I feel best fits my current professional and personal goals" may be read as "I don't believe your organization can support my professional and personal goals." If you write "I do not believe that I am a good cultural fit for the organization", somebody is likely to interpret that as "Your culture sucks."
Additionally, it rarely makes sense to notify everybody involved in the interviewing process of your decision not to accept an offer. After your initial interviews, assuming you are still considering the opportunity, you should send a thank you note to the people you met with, as appropriate. Unless you had a relationship with one of these individuals before your interviews, further communication regarding your decision to decline an offer is probably not going to be to your benefit, particularly if you have the hubris to invite the other party "to let you know if you can ever do anything to help them reach their goals." Really?
Finally, consider that your dealings with others in the context of a job search will probably be more enjoyable and well-received if you don't pretend that you have a "personal brand" instead of a reputation.
As for explaining your reasoning, that is perhaps the case. I would then be curious to know what you would recommend when the recruiter offers the inevitable question of: "Why did you decide to take another offer?" Planning an answer and being proactive about the reasoning in a judicious way can avoid even bigger snafus in response to an unexpected question.
I would be curious to know how you typically offer to help others. I have found in my personal experience, as well as that of others, that asking how I can help is one of the single greatest ways to build trust and respect in a relationship. Now, perhaps "reach your goals" takes it a step too far. If so, simply remove it from the phrasing.
As for the brand. Call it what you will. You have a reputation, or brand, in the eyes of other people. Maintaining a consistent reputation is the point, rather than the exact phrasing of the words.
Again, thanks for offering constructive criticism. I enjoy a healthy debate about career search tactics, and I am always open to continuing the conversation.
As for relationship-building and helping others:
1. You cannot build a relationship with every person you meet. This is not a realistic goal.
2. You cannot help every single person you meet. This is not a realistic goal.
3. People are good at discerning whether an offer to help is empty or legitimate. If you were seeking employment a week ago and haven't even started your new job, you have no business suggesting to the people who interviewed you at a rejected prospective employer that you are now in a position to assist them professionally. Offering such help concurrent with a notification that you have accepted employment elsewhere is, again, an act of extreme hubris and is likely to be seen as such.
I couldn't possibly disagree more. If I have invested time into a potential employee and they decide at the end of the process that they don't want to accept our offer then I wouldn't think twice about (respectfully) asking for their rationale. Primarily because I want to ensure that there was no misunderstanding of the role or package but also so I can learn from it and ensure the next person I offer doesn't reject for the same reasons.
I certainly wouldn't pressure someone into providing an explanation but I would consider it basic professional courtesy to be told why we were unsuccessful in acquiring that candidate.
All companies big enough to have a policy on this have a "I'm afraid we don't have a position to offer you at this time" -kind of stock reply for this reason.
If there's any follow-up at all its purpose will be to leave the candidate with a good impression, not to give the candidate any actual information.
I've even known companies to say "I'm sorry, we don't discuss specific cases" and post a t-shirt to candidates who ask why.
I see your argument on relationships and I respect it. I think we differ slightly in personal opinion, which is perfectly ok with me.
If an experienced recruiter wants to know all about competing offers they are doing market research and you are giving them power over you and your future choices.
Just politely and distantly avoid answering any follow-up after a decline.
You can't really rub shoulders with fellow contractors without hearing everyone else's horror stories too.
Sometimes some headhunter is referred around because they are that rare thing, a good person. But those exceptions are remarkably rare.
Thx for finding my blog.
The guy hasn't asked for help. He's come very close to outright threatening you. His question's not about him or his company, it's about you:
> "Why did you decide to take another offer?"
He's asking us to justify our decision; asking why we decided the way we did. And, in doing so, he's basically made the only choice how badly you're going to risk insulting him.
The tone of the conversation is basically 'Back down or go to war.'
They could have been enthusiastic and asked me about the other job I accepted - and the things I enthused about would probably be the reasons I accepted it. Could have tried to have a real conversation in other words. Would have got more information out of me that way.
I think it's probably a no win situation by the time someone's phrasing it as 'Why did you X?' It's such an aggressive question to ask. Oh maybe someone here and there's got a small enough ego that you're not going to insult them if you're honest - people who would bear you absolutely no ill will over the essential statement that their company is inferior in some way - but I think such people are rare and in that environment the trick is to say as little of worth as possible. Whatever I say, someone's going to find a way to hold it against me.
So, what would I say? I don't know, it would depend on the companies in question. I'd probably pick the least insulting difference I could think of between the two companies that couldn't be reconciled and enthuse about that. Even if the person on the other end of the line would honestly correct a difference in offer and hope to bid for me that way, it's not worth giving someone like that a handle on me - letting them have something I want that they can manipulate me with.
A reputation is all about what other people have to say and how you are preceded by what those people say. That includes things like LinkedIn recommendations, hearsay, references, etc.
Thoughts? What other terms would you use to describe the two different aspects? I do think it's important to distinguish.
Thanks for having the patience to call that out to me.
As in: making a name for yourself, upholding your name, being a name in good standing.
I'll leave branding to cattle, thank you muchly.
Hackers tend to have very sensitive bullshit detectors. Anything that seems phony (like the word "brand") is going to raise suspicion that you don't understand us.
"Personal brand"? Thank you letters to recruiters? "Thank you for your guidance and support"...
I can't be the only British person to read this article and feel a little bit sickened by the cloying falseness of the language used here, it's one of the main reasons why I no longer consider job offers from big US companies - I like to work with people who tell me what they think, not what they think I want to hear.
Apologies for this sounding like an anti-American rant, I don't mean it in that way, but there is something very wrong with the false-friendly, euphemistic speech used by a lot of people and organisations over that side of the pond. I think a lot of it is really just "please-don't-sue-me" speech.
Straightforward honesty and integrity will get you much further than a personal brand.
I'd be curious to know how you would alter the wording of one of the templates to be more honest and integrity-based.
I talk to everybody as I would a close friend or neighbor, and this includes potential employers. I just can't seem to adopt default business lingo/customs, and this may ultimately be my downfall, but I'm not comfortable slapping on a fake persona.
I mentioned this in response to another reply, but, seeing your point, I do feel a second set of templates is in store. It's a matter of personal preference... But I never recommend that people be false or fake in their communication.
The bottom line in this article is this: you can be a jerk to the recruiters and therefore blow future chances, or you can thank them for their time and move on without closing any doors. I always recommend the second because I've seen far too many candidates accept an offer and then hate the job, at which point they have to go crawling back.
Say you have 30 offers on the table. What's to be had by saying "no" to 29 of them instead of just "yes" to 1 and not replying to the rest?
If that 1 drops out you now have 29 pending job offers.
If you "declined" the rest, you now have what pending?
Again, if that's you or you know someone, I want to interview you to find out how you did it.
Note that I have very little experience in the job market, this is more just a social recommendation and reflects some feedback I got from recruiters and friends who have been in this situation.
Also, there seems to be some character encoding issues in the text.
Can't find encoding issues on my end. Any specifics on that?
Since the page's character encoding isn't specified (at least I didn't see anything in the source or via HTTP headers), it's defaulting to a Western encoding rather than UTF-8 (at least here on Win7/FF 21).
"In rare cases, your final decision (either verbal or written) may trigger a decision to negotiate with you. In case you are given the opportunity to obtain what you want from the offer, you should be prepared to conduct the negotiation."
I understand that this is rare, but I wonder if you've really thought the scenario through. You've already accepted job offer A, but now you're negotiating job offer B? How would you explain your behavior to the first company if you end up taking the second offer?
If you have two comparable offers and you want to test the negotiating waters, it would be best to approach that company first (before accepting an offer).
In some cases, however, you may have decided to turn down an offer as it stands, despite a lack of competing offers. In this case, if the employer opens up negotiations, it would be a good time to have the conversation.
"excited" and variants appears 6 times in the article (inclusive for the answer to proposal you're about to reject), "guidance", "I feel best fits my current professional and personal goals" well, simply "that I prefer" would work too. I think we can't have blogs about GTD and shorts emails and at the same time padded sentences in the templates of the career advice sites, this creates a cognitive dissonance.
But again, I'm jobless, and hated the business-speak and "professional" things when I had a job, so I don't think I should be giving career advice, I was pointing just this funny stuff out in a very un-professional and non constructive way.
Thanks for that feedback. I do sincerely appreciate it.