How to tell a company you accepted another job
Career Advice Career Basics

How to tell a company you accepted another job

  Turning down a job offer or telling a company you accepted another job is not easy.  It’s particularly hard to do this while trying to maintain a professional relationship with your point of contact at the employer who has extended the offer for you. 

Of course, the reason you want to stay in good shape with your contact is because you never know if you might need them in the future.  For example, you might want to reapply at a company that you previously rejected in your career.  So, in order to prepare yourself for future reconnection, be sure to consider the following four things when turning down an offer.

Is it bad to accept a job offer and keep looking?

  In an ideal world, a job seeker would defer accepting a job offer until all the pending applications, interviews and offers have been exhausted.  They will ensure that everything is lined up perfectly so that the best choice can be made without putting themselves, or potential employers, in a bad spot.

  However, this is unrealistic when it comes to searching for a job.  Recruitment takes place on a rolling basis; jobs are posted and filled all the time.  Your emotions, excitement, and passion drive you to make quick decisions.  Some difficult situations can arise because of this.

Is it professional to tell a company you accepted another job

  Technically, anyone can reject a job offer, withdraw a job that has already started, or withdraw an acceptance at any time.  Most countries work with what is called “employment as desired”.  This means that the employee and the employer are not in a binding contract.  However, there is a caveat to this.  You cannot withdraw if a formal, binding contract is signed (which is extremely rare) or if you sign a non-competition clause and the interview is with a direct competitor.

Should I tell a potential employer that I have another job offer?

  You should definitely let the company know that you just received an offer from another employer.  This can work in your favor in two ways: First and foremost, it can speed up the process at this current company.  Once they hear that you have not accepted the other offer yet, they will respect your need for a timely response and speed up the process from their end.

  Second, it shows that you are in demand.  There is a psychological reward for letting a potential employer know that you have already received another offer.  It shows them that you can be employed (to a very large degree) – and by the way, you may not be available in the job market for much longer.

  As for whether or not to remain silent is ethical: Yes, if you decide to remain silent, you won’t have to disclose that you recently received an offer.  Ultimately, it’s your call whether or not you want to share this information.  But when I got hired and the candidates said that, it was always in their favor.  Not only did we speed up the interview process, but in cases where we made an offer, we often matched or exceeded the salary of another potential employer.  Knowing what to say and when to say it is critical to making a great job offer.


  How to tell a company you accepted another job

·         Make sure you are set in stone

  Resist the urge to start canceling interviews until you are 100 percent sure the job you accepted is ready.  If there are pending background or reference checks, or if you haven’t yet signed the worksheets, you may want to go ahead with other scheduled interviews in case something happens.  If you haven’t agreed on the salary yet, you may find that making multiple offers gives you a little bit of leverage at the negotiating table.

·         Call or email ASAP

  Hiring, interviewing, and hiring employees is an expensive and time-consuming task for companies, so awarding hiring managers immediate cancellation is a professional courtesy.  Whatever you do, don’t be blocked from calling, or you can paint yourself in a bad light.  Contact the hiring manager or scheduler, or send an email.  Be humble, forthright, and appreciate their time.

·         Be grateful

  Companies invest a lot of time and energy on candidates.  From rearranging schedules to meeting or preparing information and paperwork, much effort is put into the hiring process.  So make sure that if a company turns down you are thanking them for the time they invested in you.  A thank you note is also an unforgettable touch that can leave an impression that lasts much longer than an email message.

·         Maintain contact

  You can tell your contact that if something changes or if you reconsider, you will reach out to them, but you have taken the time to think about it and find it necessary to take advantage of another opportunity.  You can also ask if they would like to be contacted on LinkedIn so you can stay up to date on the company.  If you are working with an employer, let them know that if you are considering someone a good fit for the position, you can put the candidate in contact with them.

·         Give a good, short reason

  Especially if you have spent a lot of time interviewing, it is right and respectful not to leave the hiring manager in the dark about why you turned down the job.  Having said that, there is also no need to go into detail about the red flags you’ve seen in your potential boss, talk about the amazing perks at the job you’ve accepted, or complain that you’ve spent the last week agonizing over a decision.


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