Dear Matt: I rejected a job offer, but now wish I had accepted it. Should I e-mail the hiring manager back and ask to be reconsidered? What do you think the employer will say or do?
Matt says: Do you possess a certain skill level or expertise? Were you so coveted by the employer, they would be happy to take you after you rejected them? Then maybe you are still at the top of their list.
If not, it’s going to be tough, because by now they probably have moved on to the next candidate.
What’s missing from this discussion is the reason you gave for not taking the position, says Twin Cities human resources consultant Arlene Vernon (arlenevernon.com).
“If you said the job was not a good fit, or if you commented that the company wasn’t right for you, I’m not sure how you backtrack from that and I’d let the job go,” says Vernon. “Otherwise, make sure you have a compelling reason for the change of heart — a reason that is truthful and believable.
“You’ll need to rebuild your credibility somewhat — and it starts with this initial communication.”
That’s why Vernon’s gut reaction is that you shouldn’t waste your time calling back. But then again, she points out: What do you have to lose?
“The hiring managers may think you’re not a good decisionmaker or that you thought you were getting a better job offer — and it fell through,” says Vernon. “No employer wants to be second choice.”
The worst they can say is that they moved on; the best they can say is “start tomorrow”, says Vernon.
Whatever you do, don’t send an e-mail asking to be reconsidered. This has to be done via a phone call or face-to-face.
“Considering the sensitivity of the conversation, I would only call,” says Vernon. “The live voice and the personal connection is much more valuable and shows more personal strength and commitment than an e-mail.”
But be truly prepared for the phone conversation — don’t wing it. Write down what you plan to say to make sure you’re coming across as strongly as possible. Then practice it out loud.
And in case they turn you down, practice a brave “thank you”.
If you end up leaving a message, be prepared with your communication. Perhaps this simple approach would work: “Hi, this is —.” I’ve given more thought regarding your offer and I was wondering whether we can discuss it further. Please call me.”
It may be too late — but it’s worth a shot to make that call and try again.
Just don’t be surprised if you hear “no thank you”. But you won’t be any worse off for trying — and at least you will know what the answer is.
Contact Matt at email@example.com.