The Protocol for Accepting an Offer and Keeping Your Word

As we’ve stated in the past, some of our most popular and frequently read blog posts and newsletter articles are based on real-life examples of things that have actually happened, case studies involving people who have attempted to improve their careers.

One of those blog posts is titled “A Case Study in Keeping Your Word vs. Burning Bridges.” Unfortunately, I have yet another case study that speaks to this issue. While it’s different in many regards to the one highlighted in our previous post, the candidate behavior that’s exhibited is much the same.

Here’s the story:

I present a candidate to my client for one of their open positions. The interview goes well, and my client’s hiring manager is impressed. As a result, they extend an offer of employment to the candidate. The candidate accepts the offer.

Two weeks go by. At this point, the hiring manager at my client contacts the candidate to inquire about scheduling training. To their surprise, the candidate informs the manager that they’ve accepted an offer at another company and that they’re going to work there instead. It goes without saying that the hiring manager was stunned by this information.

There are plenty of troubling aspects to this story. For one thing, the candidate accepted offers from two different companies and did not inform anybody about what they were doing. As mentioned above, we’ve discussed the dangers of “burning bridges” in the past, and this story illustrates that perfectly.

Here are just a few of the ways that bridges have been burned in this instance:

  • The candidate will never be able to work for my client, nor even be considered for one of their open positions.
  • As a recruiter, I won’t be able to trust the candidate in the future and certainly won’t be able to provide them with a better employment opportunity at one of my clients.
  • If anybody at my client who has knowledge of the situation moves on to work at another organization, they’ll take their knowledge of the situation—and of the candidate—with them.

This type of situation has occurred more than once during my time as a recruiter, but it’s always surprising when it does. That’s because this type of behavior is unprofessional and disrespectful, to say the very least.

The protocol for accepting an offer of employment from a company is simple: you keep your word and start employment at the company.

You do NOT accept an offer knowing that another organization might also make an offer, planning to choose whichever offer you like best. That is not a savvy strategy for growing your career. It’s a short-sighted, dishonest ploy that will eventually come back to “bite you.”

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of organizations. If this is something you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.