So you’re not the prospective employer’s first choice–do you care?

by Ryan Nitz, Head Editor, INALJ Alaska

So you’re not the prospective employer’s first choice–do you care?

ryan.nitzYou persevered through the job search slog, and at long last you get a call from a prospective employer asking for an interview. The interview day arrives and clearly you nailed it. You feel great. A week or so later, you get another, sadder call: you are great, your interview was great, everything’s great and that’s great, but we offered the job to someone else and they accepted. Bummer.

Six weeks later, you’re back to the slog and minding your own business when you receive a surprise phone call from your old friend, the aforementioned prospective employer. Remember how great we said you were, they say, well, guess what–the position is open and we’d like to know if you’re still interested. Being the wise job hunter you are, you politely ask for a few days to think it over. That’s fine, they say, just get back to us by the end of the week.

Well, now what? Clearly you can deduce that something not great in one way or another happened regarding whomever it was that accepted the position initially. The door is open now, but how do you feel about accepting a position for which you know you weren’t the first choice?

Do you just not care?

Do you find yourself even more motivated to accept the job and try that much harder?

Do you feel slighted, but not enough to prevent you from accepting the position?

Are you made so uncomfortable by the prospect of going in to work at a place where you–and likely many if not all of your coworkers–know that you were a back-up candidate, that you find yourself turning the offer down?

Everyone will have their own unique reaction to this situation, stemming from their life and professional experiences and their personality. It’s quite possible that you may not really know how you would react. That’s okay. The important thing is that you’ve thought about it before and you’ve tried your best to be honest with yourself about how you think you’d react. That way, maybe you can keep yourself from being caught totally off-guard if something like this happens to you.

Spend a little time mulling this over. The resulting insight will be a valuable addition to your professional toolbox.

Feel free to comment about what you think, and if you’ve been through a similar situation before, be sure to comment on that so others can learn from your experience.

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