Career advice

Think before you accept or reject a job offer

Reflection can help you through all the possible outcomes of applying for a new job – including having to turn down a job you no longer want.
job

Reflection can help you through all the possible outcomes of applying for a new job including having to turn down a job you no longer want.

The stress and excitement of applying for a job has three obvious outcomes:

Not this time. After all the hard work you have put in, it can be heart-breaking to hear that you have been unsuccessful. If you learn this news over the phone, the temptation is to end the call as quickly as possible. Similarly, you may just want to delete a rejection email and move on. However, be brave and ask for feedback on your performance. At the same time, ask yourself honestly what you think you could have done better.

As hard as it is, try not

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Reflection can help you through all the possible outcomes of applying for a new job – including having to turn down a job you no longer want.

job
If you don't get the job, you can ask for feedback on your performance. Picture: iStock

The stress and excitement of applying for a job has three obvious outcomes:

Not this time. After all the hard work you have put in, it can be heart-breaking to hear that you have been unsuccessful. If you learn this news over the phone, the temptation is to end the call as quickly as possible. Similarly, you may just want to delete a ‘rejection’ email and move on. However, be brave and ask for feedback on your performance. At the same time, ask yourself honestly what you think you could have done better.

As hard as it is, try not to take the situation personally. Often there is very little for interviewers to decide on between candidates. Instead, make a commitment to learn from what you have been through. Above all, don’t be hard on yourself – it’s normal to feel deflated for a few days as you let go of dreams and aspirations. Remember you don’t know what exciting opportunities may lie ahead, so just put those hopes on hold for now.

Not for you. Sometimes, when you reflect on the realities of a post you may decide it isn’t for you. Though you can come to this realisation at any point in the process, it can feel hardest to walk away from a role you have just been offered, especially if it was your charge nurse or another close colleague who interviewed you.

Don’t feel guilty – it is far better for everyone if you decline at this stage, as you won’t perform well in a job you don’t want. Calmly and assertively turn the offer down and thank the interviewer for their time. If you genuinely need more time to think about it say so, but don’t use that as an excuse to put off a seemingly difficult conversation.

Got it and want it. Before you rush into thinking too far ahead make sure you enjoy the moment. Allow yourself to feel proud – after all your hard work you deserve it. It can be difficult if some of your fellow nurses also applied for the job, so you may have to be sensitive to their feelings when on shift.

As always, watch out for those pesky critical thoughts. Of course, you will feel nervous about the challenges that lie ahead, that’s normal. But counteract any doubts about your ability with the fact that you wouldn’t be offered a post if the interview panel didn’t believe in you. As you work out your notice, use the next month or so to boost your inner confidence.


Mandy Day-Calder is a freelance writer and life/health coach

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