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Professionals know that it is important not to burn bridges with past employers, business contacts, etc. What many overlook is how to maintain a positive image with employers with whom you are in touch briefly.
You may be interviewed for jobs that don't materialise or end up turning them down. How these situations are handled may not seem critical. After all, these are not positions that will be listed on a resume. Many hiring processes may even be promised as confidential.
Despite this perspective, its important to remain professional and courteous in handling those employers. The jobs on offer and the associations with those company personnel — from hiring managers to potential supervisors — are more than casual encounters.
Regardless how brief the relationship with each of these employers becomes, keep it positive and pleasant. These are people who are within your industry and with a widespread network. They may move in circles where it is required for you to be in touch with them — directly or indirectly — in future.
When you treat these contacts properly even when a job is not forthcoming, they will remember you when another comes along. They also may serve as indirect references that you may or may not know about.
Here are a few situations when courtesy can pay off on the long term:
Jobseekers know that jobs are not created equal. Some are just good opportunities and others are dream jobs in the making. Regardless of the level of enthusiasm for a particular job, show the same respect and courtesy for any employer's staff. Being punctual, responding professionally to communication and walking through the process — or withdrawing — appropriately should be the way to go.
This should be maintained even if the employer doesn't show the same level of class. If you're not comfortable with the turn of the interview, the terms or employer unprofessionalism, just withdraw politely. As a candidate, it is not really your task to point out shortcomings, although one may feel obliged if the employer crosses a line in terms of equal opportunity or such.
The art of negotiation in general may not be so fine. But when it comes to job offers, you must refine your attitude as much as possible. Keep in mind the employer's interest as much as yours, and remember until there is a signed offer — and even after sometimes — you still need to make a consistently positive impression.
Setting timelines can be a good way to ensure you don't have any misunderstanding. For example, if an employer sends a job offer to consider, give a clear time frame for a response. Other ways of expressing your gratitude include sending a thank-you email immediately, stating your appreciation as well as providing ample explanation on the points you would like to revise.
For example, if you think that the job requirements warrant a better pay, give examples. Similarly, don't ask for more just for the sake of it — or for the sake of negotiating. By doing so, you may be putting the employer in a tough position, especially if the terms were provided in the job post or through the interviewing process.
Having said that, if you interview for a job where a pay and title as well as other terms are stated upfront, your agreement to these is a given. Unless something has emerged to be different than advertised, an argument may be seen as a waste of the employer's time.
Rejecting an offer
If you have been through the entire process and decided not to take a job, decline appropriately. First of all, withdraw from the process or decline the job offer as soon as possible — if unsure that it is not something you will take. Dragging the process unnecessarily will only end up a big inconvenience for the employer.
If there are doubts about the job or the offer and want to think it over, do so before signing an offer letter. Make this decision quickly, so that the employer does not retain any false hopes of having a candidate in hand.
When rejecting an offer, provide reasons that you know would help the employer understand the situation — like pay, work hours, etc. Watch your tone, however.
If your decision is irreversible, do send a note that leaves the door open for negotiation. Be very clear that the decision is final. By doing so, you won't mislead an employer into going back to get you better terms only to see them turned down again.
Source: Rania Oteify, Special to gulfnews.com
The writer, a former Gulf News Business Feature Editor, is a Seattle-based editor