Thursday, December 13, 2012

I Want to Think About it

This phrase is often used when someone receives a job offer and would like to consider it before committing themselves. They may first want to discuss it with their family, or perhaps they simply want to step back and take a breath before saying yes (or no). And why not, what’s wrong with taking some time to consider a job offer? However, the question for how long comes to mind for the people who’ve been directly involved in the hiring process. How you conduct yourself at this time can ultimately influence their perceptions of you, even before you arrive for your first day of work. 

As a headhunter, often a delayed decision tells me there may be other issues influencing the timing of how long someone takes to consider whether they will either accept or decline a job offer. Asking for more than 24 to 48 hours, in my view, is counter-productive and not helpful. The reason for your delay could be that the seriousness of the situation has become very real to you. Until now, you may have been so immersed in the process and your efforts, that it’s caught you a little off-guard. But there may be other reasons. Possibly, you are involved in another process and are hoping to wait for results so you can have the luxury of choosing between two offers before making a decision. If you don’t already have another offer, it’s too late. Be careful what you wish for, if you have an offer you were seeking, it is decision time. When delays occur after a job seeker has been so eager and ambitious, only to now need more than a reasonable amount of time, I am suspicious. If I feel this way, you can bet an employer will as well. I’ve actually heard people say they need a couple weeks to think about it. Really? This may sound a little brutal and insensitive, but if someone says they want more than a few days to consider whether or not they will accept a job offer, I naturally assume they are not serious. I switch into cynical mode and think they are playing games and ultimately they have no real interest. Let’s backtrack a moment; when I work with a candidate, I ask them throughout the interview process if they are involved in any other processes and, if they’ve said no, I’m concerned about the reason for a lengthy delay. 

When I represent a job seeker I instruct them that, unless there is a circumstance preventing them from making a decision, they should answer within 24 to 48 hours, maximum. Likewise, I generally advise my clients to withdraw and take away the job offer, if a candidate demands an unreasonable length of time without good reason. As far as I am concerned, this demonstrates a lack of sincerity and here’s why; if both sides, the company and the candidate, have completed the interview process and have had all their questions and concerns addressed, why then is a lengthy span of time needed to decide? In other words, knowing what you know today about the job offer with all your questions satisfactorily answered, what will you know in a week or two weeks that you do not already know today or tomorrow? If, on the other hand, there is a new concern or lingering question, then address it now and make your decision.  

Remember, I previously suggested you verbally accept, pending the written offer, as a means of symbolically closing the process to others. Well, pull a stunt like asking for a lengthy time before providing your decision, can begin a steadily diminishing level of interest in you. They may now find it wise to call that back-up candidate for the job. Personally I see it as an opportunity when a company, with whom I am not yet working,  says they have an open position but they’ve already chosen someone, although the person they want to hire needs a few weeks (or longer) to decide. If a written offer has not yet been presented or signed, I suggest they should meet my candidate before a final decision is made. On a few occasions, my candidate got the job out from under someone who was slow and not as serious. If you’ve received the offer it’s decision time. If you don’t want the job, professionally decline. However, if there are no remaining issues and you want the job -  stop messin’ around and take it, or step aside.

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