Students often ask if they can keep interviewing after accepting an offer. This is a bit like asking if you can keep dating after committing to a monogamous relationship. (Hopefully, your answer to that question is clear no!)
While it may not be what you want to hear, similar to dating, once you’ve committed to an employer, you are expected to honor that commitment until, well, the relationship no longer works. While there are unlikely to be any legal ramifications for continuing to explore job opportunities after accepting a position, there can be many other consequences.
Let’s explore why reneging on an offer is a bad idea that can damage your personal reputation as well as the reputation of Boston College students more broadly. And let’s consider how can you avoid putting yourself in the difficult position of having to choose between your reputation and integrity and your “dream job” in the first place.
Your Personal Reputation
By the time an employer makes an offer, they have usually turned down dozens of other candidates, and they are excited to move out of the recruitment phase and onto thinking about onboarding. They are counting on you. When you accept a position and then continue to interview, you are compromising trust and calling into question your professionalism and ethics. So think about who you are and how you want others to think of you professionally. And because you’re a BC student, I am very confident you are aiming for a reputation as trustworthy, professional, and reliable.
We live in a very small and interconnected world. Recruiters often move from organization to organization, taking with them (and sharing) their knowledge and experience about both recruiting practices and individual candidates. Unfortunately, reneging on an offer makes you highly memorable for the wrong reasons, and this reputation can stay with you for a long time.
The Impact on Your Peers
When you continue to interview after accepting a position, you are likely taking away an opportunity from a classmate or peer. Since there are typically a limited number of interviews available, accepting an interview despite having already accepted an offer means that another student can’t interview in that time slot.
Further, when a Boston College student reneges on an offer, that can impact the entire BC community. Employers may begin to question if Boston College is the type of place where reneging is a common practice and, if so, will wonder if it’s a good use of their time to continue to recruit here. Consider what might have happened if a student had reneged before you. Perhaps you would not have had the opportunity to be considered by this employer.
So How Can You Avoid This Dilemma Altogether?
For starters, knowing what’s important to you and what you are looking for will help you make a good decision once you receive an offer. Often, if someone wants to keep interviewing after accepting a position, it’s because they aren’t all that excited the position they accepted in the first place.
When you receive a job offer, take the time to really consider whether you want to accept it or not. Does it align with what you want out of this role? Will you learn and grow? It can be helpful to speak with a Career Coach in the Career Center or with a trusted advisor or mentor that will help you weigh the pros and cons of the role and determine whether the position is a good fit. While it can be scary to turn down an offer, if it’s not going to be a good fit, it’s better in the long run for both you and the employer if you just say “thanks, but no” up front. In some cases, you may also be able to ask the employer for some additional time to make your decision to ensure it’s the right decision.
And remember, if you work hard, demonstrate professionalism and integrity, and take every opportunity to build your skills, you will open many doors to your next position… which may just be your “dream job”.
If you are deciding whether to accept a job offer or have accepted an offer that you are no longer excited about, please schedule an appointment on EagleLink to talk to a Career Center career coach.
—By Rachel Greenberg, Director, Career Education and Strategy