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Go to Menu Deadly Job-Hunting Assumption #2:
The job offer fallacy

By Nick Corcodilos

Job hunting produces more stress than almost any other experience. That’s why there’s nothing like the immense relief you feel when the job offer has arrived. Finally, you’re done! Or, are you caught in The Job Offer Fallacy? It goes like this:

I just got the job offer I want, so I’ll cancel my other interviews. I don’t need them.

You are in fact quite likely to need them. Never, ever cancel an interview or terminate your job search just because:

  • You had a great interview and it was suggested you’d get an offer; or,
  • A company made you an offer in writing; or,
  • You started the new job today.

Here’s why.

A great interview isn’t an offer.
After a positive interview experience, it’s natural to let your enthusiasm get the better of your common sense. It seems logical to put job search activities on hold until the employer makes that offer. After all, you’re so busy at work — who’s got time to go on other interviews or to continue contacting more employers? Why not just see what happens with this one first?

Any headhunter will tell you that most good interviews fail to produce job offers. That’s why headhunters (who are responsible to their employer clients) always keep other candidates on deck. It’s why you should keep other potential jobs on deck. Never assume an offer is on the way. Continue full-steam-ahead on your job search.

A written offer can be rescinded.
It’s a guarantee of a job, right? Well, not necessarily, depending on how it’s worded. Regardless, companies don’t always worry about what’s legal. If the company suddenly re-organizes, or its finance department runs the numbers and realizes money is tight, or if the company hears something about you that it doesn’t like, the offer could be rescinded. Even if the offer is legally binding, you’re in for a battle if you fight the company’s change of heart. If you don’t have a fall-back position, you’re without a paycheck.

From the Ask The Headhunter case file

A job candidate fudged his past salary on the application form. The employer made an offer, then demanded to see a pay stub from the candidate’s last job. When the numbers didn’t match, the offer was withdrawn. The candidate had already resigned his old job, and he’d cancelled other pending interviews because he knew he was going to accept the offer. He capped off a lie with a deadly incorrect assumption.

Day #1 can be your last day, too.
I’ve seen it happen more than once. A new employee finds the job doesn’t really match what she was told it would be, or in a quick re-shuffling she’s reporting to someone other than the manager who hired her, or her new co-workers are a miserable bunch. Whatever the problem, the new hire decides she made a bad mistake and this isn’t the place to be. She is ready to resign before she has really started.

From the Ask The Headhunter case file

After taking a job and closing the door on other opportunities, the new hire went through two weeks of training only to be told his department was being eliminated. He was given two choices: leave, or switch to another department and another job for $20,000 less in salary. He decided (quite correctly) to sue. Three months later, his lawsuit was barely off the ground and he was still without a job.

It ain’t over till it’s over.
There is no security inherent in a job offer. If you believe there is, you’ve bought into a fallacy. So, what is a smart job hunter to do?

Until the dust settles don’t regard an interview, a job offer, or a job itself as the end of your job search. Hedge your bets. Keep your options open until you can take a look around and decide the ground beneath you really is firm. Don’t cancel other interviews. Don’t discourage other offers. The disasters I described don’t happen often. But if such a disaster befalls you just once and you’re without a safety net, it will seem like the end of the world.

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