Dear Matt: I've applied for a number of jobs recently and just accepted one that wasn't my first choice, but it was my only offer. After accepting it, I received a phone call to interview for a job I really wanted. The problem is, the interview is scheduled for the same day I am supposed to start my new job. What do I do? And if I do the interview and am offered this job with the second company, how do I handle this?
Matt says: This is a tricky scenario. On the one hand, you should just be happy you obtained a new job -- especially in this economy -- and move forward and be loyal to the company that just gave you a chance. On the other hand, if the other employer presents a job opportunity you really want or prefer, why not go for it?
The hard part is asking a new employer (Company A) for time off before you even start. But you may not have to if you are up front and honest with the second company (Company B), said one Twin Cities executive search recruiter.
Here's why: Be frank with Company B and let them know you have accepted another position but that you're still very interested in interviewing. However, due to the interview conflicting with the start date of your new position, let them know you would like to request an alternative interview time (for example, early morning, after work, or even over the weekend).
If the new company feels you may be the right fit for their position, they will be flexible. If they are not willing to change the interview time, then this recruiter recommends that you decline the interview and start your new position as planned.
There is too much risk in trying to delay the start date, request time off, or anything else that might raise concerns with your new employer.
After all, this is just an interview and not a job offer; you can't risk ending up with neither position.
If you do interview for and eventually get the second job, then be equally honest with Company A. Tell them that you accepted the position not knowing that the other opportunity was going to be available to you, and that you feel the other position is a better fit for you long term.
But if you do back out, keep in mind it may ruin your chances for future employment with Company A. That's why it's really important to make sure that Company B is the right choice.
Matt Krumrie is a Twin Cities freelance writer specializing in career advice.