Should candidates interview after an offer?


Here is the scenario … You are job searching and you receive an offer with a company that you are 74% sure you will be happy with. You have 3 other interviews lined up the rest of the week. You feel that all 3 of these opportunities are either equal to or seem better to you than the offer you currently have. What do you do? You can: 1) Accept the offer and cancel the interviews. 2) Hold onto the offer and go to the other interviews. 3) Decline the offer and go to the other interviews.

I highly recommend #2 and here is why:

1. Offers fall through for various reasons. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard candidates tell me that they accepted a position, stopped going to other interviews and then the position that they put everything on hold for has fallen through. Budget cuts, reorganization, failed background checks and multiple other complications can happen. Until you are at the company Day #1, I wouldn’t consider things a done-deal.

2. Practice. Becoming a great interviewee takes time and practice. Even if you have doubts about a role being a fit for you, it can’t hurt for you to go and interview to continue to get practice.

3. Networking. Unless you can see the future, you don’t know where your career might take you 3-4 years down the road. Interview and meet someone new.

4. Knowledge. When you go and interview somewhere you learn about a new company and new roles/opportunities; that may come in handy someday. That company might be a future competitor, vendor or client and that knowledge could be helpful down the road.

Make sure you are doing yourself a favor by not closing any doors at any point during your job search. It always make me cringe when a candidate cancels an interview because they received an offer; there is just too many variables that are out of the person’s control.


Views: 4244

Comment by Barry Frydman on June 19, 2012 at 8:22am

Should candidates stop interviewing before an offer?


I've got a great IT sales rep who I sent to 4 different companies.

They all loved him.

He ended up cancelling a 2nd interview with all of them.

They all had interesting positions but nothing earth shattering.

They were all dissapointed but still interested.

Did he stop interviewing at the right time?

Comment by Christopher Perez on June 19, 2012 at 10:25am

I always set expectations with candidates by saying "let's take it a step at a time and we'll push it as far as we can through the process." I use those words intentionally because "push it as far as we can" gives an out to the client and the candidate if, after a good faith exploration, there just isn't ultimately a good fit to be had. But the expectation is always that the candidate will hang in there with me as long as there is legitimate interest by the client and the opportunity's specs don't change dramatically or negatively during the interview process.

To your situation, Barry-- things happen and people are people and can have a change of heart. If I had a candidate who bailed on one client after a single interview, that's one thing. But to bow out on 4 clients after a single interview with each? To me that smacks of a halfhearted tirekicker. Frankly, for me this would be cause for some introspection. I'd have to ask myself if I had thoroughly vetted this person and really determined his motivations and objectives.

You asked if the candidate had stopped interviewing at the right time. Maybe a better question would be, did this candidate begin interviewing at the wrong time?  I suppose it's better to have a candidate withdraw on 4 clients before seconds, rather than have him withdraw after receiving multiple offers.  --Chris

Comment by Arianne Bachove on June 19, 2012 at 12:13pm

I simply tell my candidates, "It never hurts to interview. You never know, you could end up falling in love with the company, facility, management team, etc." Plus, if multiple job offers are received, it gives the candidate a huge upper hand.

Comment by Dan Kerber on June 19, 2012 at 3:12pm

For me it's pretty simple - once you actually accept an offer, stop interviewing.  But up until you've accepted something, you should continue to see through the opportunities that you're in process for. 

Comment by Bill Schultz on June 19, 2012 at 3:23pm

Yes, as long as they are all positions that I represent.  

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on June 19, 2012 at 8:43pm

What Bill said :)

Comment by Suzanne Levison on June 19, 2012 at 9:39pm

Ditto, Bill and Amy~

Comment by Mark on June 20, 2012 at 1:21pm

I'll give Bill a qualified "ditto."  Of course, we'd all prefer that our candidates and clients ere exclusive.

I always tell candidates to keep interviewing until they have the offer letter in hand. The client is capable of stopping the interview process at any time and securing an excellent candidate by simply making an offer.  If a candidate is not interviewing, the client keeps all the power.

If I were looking for a job, that is the only time I would stop interviewing.

Please understand that our clients lose many candidates because of a slow decision making process and anything I can do to get them off of their assets is a good thing.

Like I said, in a perfect world, I'm with Bill.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on June 21, 2012 at 11:18am
I think it is the candidate's best interest to keep interviewing if they have already set up interviews. For my client who has made an offer not so much. What I try to do when I know a candidate has other interviews set and my client is ready to offer, is to ask the candidate what kind of an offer would it take for you to say yes, cancel other interviews and never look back. If the cndidate can not answer that question, I make my client aware that the candidate has other interviews and wants to complete them. I suggest that my client make the best offer they can make. I suggest to the candidate that they tell my client they are strongly interested in the offer but feel they want to honor their commitment to complete the other interviews so they are 110% sure just as they would do if another co. Had made them an offer when they had. Pending interview with my client.

It has been my experience that a candidate with an offer in hand is more circumspect with other interviews, trades tougher, and is less likely to be impressed with anything but a fast process with other companies. It seems to also create a feeling of trust toward my client that my client is not trying to hard close the cndidate and they too want the candidate to be 110% sure.

If the candidate declines my client's offer and goes with another co., good. There was some doubt that would have surfaced later.

Sometimes an interview is the result of a personal referral so candidates feel they do not want to burn a bridge with a Colleague who went to the effort to arrange an interview and they shouldn't. If a candidate feels they owe it to themselves to complete all interviews set up, my experience is that my client normally agrees. Everybody feels good with the final result. A hard close if a candidate is not totally sure does not bode well for a long term relationship in my mind.


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