Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Withdrawing from an Executive Job Search

For about four months I have been interviewing, through an executive recruiter, with a well respected company that I admire. Probably the length of time is due to the fact that the job is hard to fill and my compensation level is higher than what they planned. Since we are both in the same industry segment, but not competitors, I want to stay on good terms and connected with them professionally.

While they have not made a formal offer, we had an informal discussion about compensation. Their informal offer was significantly lower than my requirements. They have been working on the approvals for a formal offer for about a week and a half. But, no word yet.

However, I want to politely cease the conversation and negotiation without burning a bridge. My reasoning is that my current job has some potential promotion and job changes that are attractive to me. Also, the drawn out nature of the interviewing and discussions is causing anxiety with my spouse because we are putting other things in our lives on hold pending the possible outcome of this job offer.

Since I have been working mostly with an executive recruiter, I obviously need to have a conversation with that person. But, I also want to talk to the senior managers that I interviewed with, if appropriate.

Any advice you can provide is appreciated.


by Wendy Gelberg, Career Coach and Resume Writer

Hi, Eric –
It sounds as if you’ve come to a definite decision to terminate discussions and you’re hoping not to burn your bridges with this company or the recruiter. Protocol would be to talk to the recruiter before talking with the senior managers. With all the parties, using the direct approach is probably best.

A short and simple explanation is sufficient. You appreciate the time spent trying to come to a mutually acceptable outcome, but you want to withdraw from consideration for the position. Your explanation can mention that you have decided to pursue other opportunities that have come along, but don’t discuss the length of the process or the anxieties and uncertainties that has created. Keep the focus on your positive impressions of the company and your wish to stay in touch, and thank them for the efforts made on your behalf.

While it’s never possible to guarantee how others will react to the decisions you make or the actions you take, this approach should increase the likelihood that you’ll remain on good terms with all concerned.

Wendy Gelberg, M.Ed., helps job seekers communicate effectively and confidently, in speech and in writing, to get unstuck in their job search.

Susan Ireland’s Two Cents
If you need help composing a letter to cease the job search with the new employer, read Declining a Job Offer by Cheryl Lynch Simpson. In her post, Cheryl offers a letter template that you could adjust for your situation, which isn’t exactly the same as her questioner's, but close enough that the template is relevant.

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