So, your job hunt was a raging success. You’ve got more than one offer on the table, and you’ve got to turn somebody down.
Let them down easy, and always keep your own good reputation in mind, says Stephen Pamenter, a consultant with Halifax headhunting firm Robertson Surrette.
“Any time you deal with a potential employer, you have to be very careful not to tarnish your personal brand,” Pamenter says.
“Halifax is a small market. You’re going to see those people at industry dinners and functions; your company might do business with their company.”
Be honest, Pamenter says — at least, to a point. It’s fair to say you have other offers; if a company really wants you, they may move the process along more quickly, or be more willing to come up with a better salary or vacation package.
If you’re moving, or your family situation has changed, a potential employer should understand. If the job doesn’t pay as well as the offer you’re accepting, it’s fair to say so. Companies should know if their salary and benefits aren’t competitive, and they’ll appreciate knowing that’s why they lost you.
But don’t get into too many details, even if you’re asked. If you couldn’t stand the person who interviewed you or just got a bad vibe from the place, it’s better to say the job wasn’t a good fit.
Don’t tell a company the job you applied for isn’t what you want: “One of the worst things is when a potential employee turns down a job based on things they’ve known from the beginning,” Pamenter says.
If a company has done several interviews, called your references and made an effort to come up with the salary you want, turning them down is likely to ruffle feathers, so make sure you don’t lead a potential employer on if you don’t want the job.
“You’ll come to a point where you’ll reach a hypothetical deal. If you turn it down then, you’re not bargaining in good faith.”