27 Aug 2014

Proper Candidate Etiquette when Declining an Offer

27 Aug 2014

Candidates have any right to decline an offer from a client. This is quite common and happens for various reasons. It is of course disappointing to the client, but it is a candidate’s right and personal choice to decline (even if he or she has expressed interest in the role throughout the process). As a recruiter, I obviously feel disappointed when a candidate declines as a lot of effort is put into the process overall and much faith is put into the candidate and the candidate/client match. The client has also spent a great deal of time and energy on interviewing (in most cases multiple times), discussing, offering, and negotiating with the candidate. I am writing this blog as I have seen candidates exhibit very poor and rude behavior upon declining an offer. It not only makes the candidate look bad from a personal standpoint but it really can burn a professional bridge with the client as well as tarnish the candidate’s reputation—as the creative industry is small, and people talk.  Below are some helpful and proper pointers for candidates when declining an offer—

1)     A candidate should call a recruiter to decline (rather than shoot off a quick email) and give an explanation as to why he or she has chosen to decline. With this information, the recruiter can provide the explanation to the client so the client does not feel as burned or rejected. Also the recruiter can uphold the candidate’s reputation by positioning the reason for the decline in the best light. It is our job to manage this part of the process.

2)     The candidate should not avoid a recruiter’s phone calls when the recruiter reaches out for a lengthier conversation as to why the candidate has declined the offer. Some candidates feel scared to connect with the recruiter but avoidance makes it worse.

3)     A candidate should send a nice email or letter to the client , thanking the client for the opportunity and closing the loop on a more positive note

4)     A candidate should be able to give an answer to the client in a 24 hour period. There are some exceptions to this rule, but it should not take much longer to make a decision. It reflects poorly on the candidate and instills a lot of doubt in the client’s eyes.

Candidates should realize again that a lot of effort has been put into the process by all parties involved, and it really doesn’t take much time to handle this type of situation with grace and class. Also a recruiter and a client will likely not want to work with the candidate moving forward if he or she behaves in a nonchalant, dismissive, or indifferent manner upon declining the offer.

Please heed the above as it really does make a huge difference. An offer declination is never a fun situation to face but it doesn’t have to be bad if handled the appropriate way.

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