Law Staff explains why you should accept interviews even after a job offer

“I don’t want to waste anyone’s time” as a recruiter this is one of the most frustrating lines that I hear coming from any prospective candidate – especially when cancelling an already scheduled interview on the basis that they have had another offer.

Great news! You are looking for a new job, and your recruitment agency has been brilliant with two interviews scheduled. It’s a candidate-driven market and you have the skills and talents that are in demand; you’ve seen a couple of other roles advertised with a different agency and applied for those as well. Unless of course you are extremely loyal to one agent and channel all of your search through this source (which I don’t advise due to agencies being on different PSLs and having access to different clients etc.) it is more than likely that you will have different meets going on via different agents (or direct). Now you are in the enviable position of having three very promising interviews lined up.

Why wouldn’t you want to explore all of your available options?

The first interview goes great and you are offered the position pretty much immediately. You’re over the moon – it’s perfect location-wise, meets your criteria as to salary and potential career progression. So you say, “Oh, forget the other interviews. I’ll take it!”

As a recruiter, I have to ask, WHY? Why, when you are in the perfect negotiating position, would you throw away the chance to explore all your available options? You are in the enviable position of being able to attend the next two interviews safe in the knowledge that you have one great offer on the table. You have nothing to lose. For all you know, one of the other two jobs might offer something fantastic you hadn’t even considered. So why on earth wouldn’t you at least just go along to the further meetings to at least see what’s on offer?

The answer seems to be ‘I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.’ As a recruiter, I can’t say loudly enough – ‘You aren’t wasting anyone’s time! – what you are wasting is a brilliant opportunity!!’

Why wouldn’t you attend the further meetings?

Let me give an example through a scenario that most of us could relate to – selling a house. As a seller your house is placed on the market and the estate agent sets up five viewings. After the first viewing an offer is made at the asking price which you then accept and take your house off the market (cancelling the other viewings) – brilliant, job done!

Would you really do it? Settle on the first offer without further thought? Of course not. What happens if the first offer falls through? If the next person is a cash buyer and could move really quickly? If the third viewer offers over the asking price? If you wouldn’t do it for your house, why would you do it for your career?

In the current market, where properties are in high demand, you could expect to receive offers in excess of the asking price, so why settle on the first that comes through and miss out on gaining a higher fee. It is of no further time or effort to allow the further viewings to happen, after all what do you stand to lose? Nothing is the answer, you only stand to potentially gain. If you wouldn’t do it for your house why would you do it for interviews?

The first point I would make is that you’ve already got the meet booked in. Which in most cases means that you have already booked the time off to do so or were free anyway. So in short, attending the further interviews is not going to be of great inconvenience and you’d have had the means to attend if you had not received another offer – so nothing has changed in that regard.

“But I don’t want to waste anyone’s time”

I can tell you that you won’t be wasting anyone’s time. Most candidates cancel interviews at the last minute either due to an offer coming in at short notice or, as I suspect (maybe overly cynically of me) , out of the idea that by doing so they leave the agent powerless to convince them to attend in such a short space of time.

Whoever it is that you are due to be meeting; HR, partners or managers etc. will have also scheduled the time in their diary to do so and by cancelling at short notice they will now have the slot free. I’m sure they will find something to do but won’t be able to arrange any further meeting or of great importance to fill that space. It is greater waste of time for you not to attend from their perspective and I’m sure most would agree, disappointing, as they have not had the chance to meet and sell their position to you. Which leads me onto my next point.

You do not stand to lose anything by attending and without going to the meeting you would find it hard to make an informed decision on what is going to best for you moving forward. You might have heard of the firm previously. You might have researched it. You might have dealt with people from here in a professional capacity. But you haven’t had the opportunity to gauge what it would be like to work here, or what’s on offer in terms of your career. By attending all the interviews you will be able to make an informed decision about the best course of action for you.

Without advocating candidates creating Dutch auction situations, by having an offer already secured, you are well placed to negotiate yourself a better deal. After all, if you are meeting similar firms, in similar locations, offering similar services and seeking someone of similar experience and you’ve been offered by one, what do you think the others will do? It isn’t a stretch too far to believe that if one company has offered you that their competitors will probably be minded to do the same?

In what is an extremely candidate driven market (Law, Tech, Finance etc.) firms will take great pleasure in securing your services for a number of reasons a.) Because your skill set is in demand and b.) If they get you it means their competitor has missed out, which is good for business! If you’ve been offered £X by company Z, then company Y will more than likely look to offer an increase on £X to secure your services. As remuneration being arguably the most common reason for seeking employment why not use every meeting as a chance to increase your salary potential? Why settle for the first offer? Once again, you will still have that offer on the table even if the other interviews do not result in higher offers.

Perhaps the reasons that candidates are in such a hurry to accept the first offer that comes their way is panic. “The firm will pull the offer if I don’t grab it quick!” It’s rare for a firm to pressurise offerees in quite this way, but it does happen. This shouldn’t be the cue to accept. This should be a warning signal! Ask yourself, ‘Do I want to work for an organisation that is going to put me under this sort of pressure to make such an important decision? Is this an example of how these people really treat their staff?” A reputable firm looking to recruit a quality candidate will respect his or her need to consider not only that offer but those of competitors.

One further factor, in addition to all of the above, is that going to the interview helps build relationships and bridges for the future. Not only will this be of benefit to you in a professional capacity but also from a personal one. If for whatever reason the offer you take doesn’t work out as planned then we as agents are much better placed to resurrect an offer if you have met with the company than if you haven’t. Likewise, you never know what may happen in the future and if you want to interview at a company you have cancelled an interview with before they may decline this time around.

The one thing to take away from this is at that you will not be wasting anyone’s time by attending interviews if you are already in receipt of an offer. Give yourself the best opportunity to secure the best deal moving forward by making an informed decision. This can only be achieved by attending interviews and exploring the market first hand. So; don’t just walk through the first door that is held open for you! Who knows what is hidden behind doors 2 and 3? At least give yourself the best chance of getting the job of your dreams, and have a good look-see!

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