You’re Hired – April Fool!

JoAnn KawamotoAfter months of job searching, budgeting, building resumes, and interviewing, a choice job offer has finally arrived! The interview was great and the feedback was that you were the best candidate. You accepted the offer and were given a start date to begin in a week. Fantastic!

However a week passes and no further contact has occurred. There have not been any requests for follow up information, required testing, or paperwork. You call your contact and are told to stand down. Then a week later they call back, but it is to inform you that the offer is now withdrawn! Is this some sad and cruel April Fool’s joke?

Feedback from both job hunters and employers is that the current marketplace is experiencing quick hires, delayed hires and withdrawn offers. Quick and nimble companies are gaining prevalence; many business decisions are being made accordingly. In this dynamic environment what is a disappointed jobseeker to do?

First of all, STAY PROFESSIONAL. Despite your gut-wrenching reaction, sit back and take a deep breath. Do not take this event personally. It may or may not be all about you.

Second, know that Texas is one of many at-will-employment states. For those not familiar with the terminology it translates to an employer being able to release an employee without giving a reason at any time.

Third, once you are able to, calmly reach out to your contact in a timely manner. This is to keep the door open for future communication and potential networking opportunities, perchance circumstances change and the door unexpectedly swings open again. One never knows when a disappointing event could turn into a win.

Your goal is to establish whether the withdrawal was based on a business decision or on your actions. Your chances of getting an answer will be greatly increased if conversation is on a professional level. Keep in mind they are not obligated to respond but if they do remain respectful at all costs.

If it was a business decision there are many different scenarios the company contact may or may not be at liberty to discuss. The main point is there were external forces at work and you are not at fault. Good reason to remain positive.

A few examples of those possible external forces:
• Company re-organizations or mergers: positions are cut or may no longer exist
• Hiring freezes that require existing employees’ duties to absorb other positions
• Postponement or cancellation of expected projects
• Budgetary constraints and the list can go on

If the withdrawal’s decision was based on a discovery in the background check, a social media check, or maybe something you did or did not say, offer to address or clarify that item or issue. It may or may not change the immediate situation but the clarity streamlines potential future re-consideration.

So what is the next step? While there are many possible strategies to apply, it all boils down to a very simple basic: never stop looking for a job until the new one actually starts.

It does not matter how perfect the hiring process went or that offer appeared, keep your options open and continue a professional demeanor and presence. Remind yourself that companies are looking for cool-headed professionals who resolve problems and deliver solutions, no matter what the circumstances. One never knows when an impressed interviewer may recall or refer you as a great candidate to another position.

So press on.

JoAnn Kawamoto is a Workforce Solutions Regional Facilitator for the Houston – Galveston area, conducting job skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast region. She applies her B.Ed. and over 15 years of Workforce Development, Allied Healthcare, and Contract Management to connect potential employees with employers.

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