John: Hey, this is John Sonmez from simpleprogrammer.com.
I’ve got a question here that is fairly anonymous so I’m not even going to say a first
name here just to be on the safe side, but this is a really good question so hopefully
I can give you a good answer here Mr.—we’ll call you Mr. Joe.
Mr. Joe says, “Hi John” by the way if you’re anonymous you suddenly get a “Mr.”
title in front of your name. Mr. Joe says, “Hi John, if you decide to share this question
I’d like to remain anonymous.” Check. “I’m currently searching for new career
opportunities and recently had a phone interview for a position that sounds great as far as
what the work would be (the technical aspects). “The interview was conducted by the technical
lead of the team. Near the end of the interview I asked several questions including what is
your favorite part of working here. Is this a new position or if I’m replacing someone
that happened—and what happened to them.” as he said. “How long have most of the team
members been with the company? “After the interview I sent a polite email
to the interviewer thanking him for his time reiterating how my skills line up with the
needs of the team and expressing that if he sees me as a good candidate for the position
I would be happy to have a follow up conversation. However, as the day progressed and I reflected
on the conversation I realized that the interviewer’s answers to my questions had set off a few
red flags that I didn’t recognize right away. I started to realize that the company
might not be a good fit for me or to paraphrase Scott Hanselman, I probably wouldn’t hire
them to be my boss. “My question for you is if they follow up
and want an additional interview or want to make an offer what is the polite and professional
way to say thanks, but not thanks in this type of situation? Should I go through the
motions and hope to be pleasantly surprised or should I just rip off the band-aid quick
and clean? I don’t want to come across as trying to negotiate a better offer. I’m
just skeptical that it’s the right place for me. One note that might make my situation
different than other readers is that I’m currently employed and have a stable career
which makes walking away from some opportunities much easier.”
So Mr. Joe, I almost slipped your real name there. Then we’d have to edit that out.
This is a situation that—I think I’ve got a fairly easy answer for you here. You
don’t want to burn bridges but you can really get out of this situation easily without burning
bridges. I mean the only way you’re really going to burn a bridge here is if you tell
them to F off and if you bring up anything about the reasons why that you don’t want
this job. I mean there’s a million reasons you can
come up with as to why you will decline your offer which I would highly recommend that
you decline this offer if you’re already getting these bad signals. Don’t worry about
it. The thing is though—I’ll give you some advice on what not to do because that’s
easier. There’s actually a smaller amount of what not to do.
Do not address anything about those questions that you asked at the end of the interview
and why that made you feel like this might not be the place for you. Do not say anything
about you not feeling like this might not be the place for you. First of all that’s
none of their business and second of all that is the only thing that you could do in this
situation that could hurt you because that could burn a bridge, that could have someone
talking to someone else and then you get blackballed or something bad happening to you. That’s
the only thing that you could really screw up in this situation.
What I would say here is just politely decline. Just say—if they send you an offer and they
say, “Hey, we want to offer you this position.” Just say, “Thanks for your offer. It’s
a very generous offer. It seems like you have a great company and great team there but I
have to decline.” That’s all you have to say. That’s the beauty of this, right?
You don’t owe them anything. You don’t owe them any other explanation.
In fact, if you applied for a company and they wanted to reject you they wouldn’t
say, “Oh, you did such a good job on the interview but there was this one little question
that we didn’t feel like you were quite right.” They wouldn’t try to explain themselves.
They would just say, “We have decided to go with another candidate.” You could either
say, “I decided to go with another opportunity.” That’s a fine answer. You don’t owe them
any explanation. If they come back and they say, “Well, why?
What can we do? If we offered you more money?” Just again politely just say, “No thanks.
I’ve decided to go with another opportunity” or “No, thanks. There’s not any real issue
as to why. I just decided that this is a better path for me” or whatever it is. Just politely
decline and do not give them details. If you give them details that’s the only time that
you’re going to be in trouble in this situation and even then I mean the chances of it hurting
you later is very small. Here’s the thing, this is where you’re
at right now I would assume is that you’re afraid of letting them down, of being a jerk
or whatever it is. This is business. This is business. I’ve had to fire people before.
If you’re running a business you wouldn’t keep someone on because you feel bad letting
them go because you’re afraid that they’re not going to like you or that you’re going
to hurt their feelings, right? Same thing here is don’t let those emotions that you
might be feeling about this job or letting them down or their environment, don’t let
that affect you and cloud your judgment. You’ve just got to be business with them and keep
it business. Don’t explain yourself. Just say no, that’s it and look for a better
opportunity. Hopefully this helps you. Let me know how
it works out. Send me an email to follow up. I’m curious to see what happened. I’m
guessing by the time that you’ve—that I’ve gotten around to answering your email
by a video that you’ve already figured this out. I sent you a short answer hopefully.
Let me know how it works out and if you’ve got some other advice, leave a comment below.
I’d be curious to hear what anyone else out there thinks about this situation or if
you’ve in been in a similar situation and what you did and what the result was.
Anyway, that’s it for this video. If you’d like to see more of these videos and get more
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