During my experience working within recruitment, I have seen several instances of job offers being accepted, for this agreement to then not be adhered to. The time frame of such events ranges from the space of a day, to month long periods. Numerous candidates having accepted a role have then turned around that day to reject the role for a seemingly better opportunity; favourable over the less frequent alternative of waiting over a prolonged period of time with the pre-arranged start date being the day of choice for the big reveal. I can understand in certain circumstances the mindset of these individuals teasing companies and recruiters alike into thinking a deal has been finalised. The purpose of this article, however, is to demonstrate the way NOT to go about accepting an offer with a company that you do not have full intentions of working within.
It would seem that the majority of instances in which this kind of thing occurs is fuelled by alternative opportunities and a lot of the time and MONEY. People line up opportunities next to one another to determine which one is best, a very natural approach to choosing your next career move. However, more so now it seems that once getting to the later stages of a hiring process an individual will accept an offer given to them at the earliest opportunity, despite alternative arrangements. Of course, you don’t want to lose out on an opportunity. But if a company is not willing to give you a short period of time to make a decision on a role, is that really the right company for you? I am fully aware of the perceived alternative client perspective; if a candidate doesn’t decide that they want the job immediately are they the right hire? I would be extremely surprised if a client’s offer was to then be retracted if a candidate asked for 48 hours to deliver a decision on an offer, assuming the request was made in a reasonable way. Therefore, concern over having an offer revoked should not be a reason for accepting multiple offers.
Within IT recruitment, more specifically for myself the recruitment of web developers, it is often common practice to have several stages within a company’s hiring process. Typically, this could involve a first stage interview, often over the phone; some form of technical test to assess the technical ability of a prospective employee; and finally, a face-to-face interview. This is a long process requiring a lot of effort from both the candidate and hiring company alike and this may be the reasoning behind not wanting to let an opportunity slip away. An alternative view of this could be that a company investing so much time and money into each individual progressing through their hiring process would be extremely unlikely to disregard them, having already made them an offer, if a short period of time was asked for to make a decision.
Recently I had the displeasure of being on the receiving end of a candidate driving his offered salary up through playing companies off against each other. The candidate in question initially received an offer, through myself, which I was instructed to accept on his behalf. Following an interview later that day, a higher offer from a different company was accepted by the same candidate. This left two companies believing that they were hiring the same person. My client was informed of the interest in another role and advised to retract the offer made. My client’s circumstances left the company in a difficult position. To continue to pursue an untrustworthy prospective employee, or to withdraw an offer and initiate the recruitment process once again. In this situation, the client chose to increase the offer in the hope that this would sway the candidate their way. And for another short period, it did. The higher offer was accepted once again, with the candidate promising that this decision was final. It was naïve of me to then have been taken by surprise that just 2 hours later we were left in the same situation. The candidate received an increased offer from the previous company he had accepted a position for. He took the offer and the rollercoaster ran to a close.
Ultimately, candidates accepting multiple offers is something that inevitably will continue. It is a risky strategy that will implicate future opportunities and workplace relationships and can even leave successful candidates with no offer on the table at all. On the flip side, it can result in financial gain by receiving a higher starting salary. I would be extremely interested to see the long-term impact on salaries following starting salaries being driven up this way. How long would it be until someone received their first salary reviewal? How long would it be until the individual received a pay rise or bonus? Would a trend prevail? Whether it would or not, from a moral standpoint there is a right way to go about joining a new company and be respectful to any other that you have shown interest in and that have shown interest in you.