Interviewing for a job


"Simply treat the boss (company, manager, interviewer) like your best customer -- find out about him."
--Joel A. Schleicher, COO, Nextel Communications


How to Turn Down a Job Offer

Serial Entrepreneur and Investor in People with Passion

This isn’t a topic widely discussed because usually I’m advising you how to get and maintain a job, not turn one down. However, far too often people take the first job opportunity they get either because they’re desperate to get out of their current job, they feel bad for turning it down or because they’ve experienced a slight ego boost and it feels good knowing an employer wants them on their team.

These aren’t reasons to say yes to a job offer and you should be thinking really carefully before you make your final decision. Your current role may feel like the worst job in the world, but if you don’t carefully consider your new offer, you could find yourself in an even worse position because of misinterpretation. This could include misunderstanding the business culture, the main responsibilities of the role or the benefits associated with the business.

If you’re not happy with any aspect of a job, turn it down. You spent most of your time working, it’s really important you’re doing something you enjoy. If you find yourself in this situation, use it to your advantage. Tell the employer why you have reservations and you may find, because they see something in you they really want, they present a counter offer.

Recently I was headhunting somebody as a chief executive for one of my businesses and offered him the position. He turned it down. I really, really wanted this guy; he was basically a walking talking version of my job ad, so I left it a week, rang him and said;

“Hi Gavin, I understand you’ve turned the position down. I totally understand the situation, and I am quite happy to accept it. I suppose we’ve both moved on now, because you’re going to stay where you are, and I’m interviewing other people…’" I paused and then asked, "What was the key reason you turned it down?"

He said it was all to do with the share options. I never saw that one coming. He explained that he already had some options in his current business he felt he couldn’t walk away from.

Once I asked him if he had any certainty what they were worth and he admitted not, we both came to the conclusion that the stake he held in his current business couldn’t outdo the equity I was offering him.

I hired him after that and he’s been working with me for 10 years.

It is really important you address any issues you may have about the business or position you’re applying for straight away. That way, you discuss ways to tailor certain aspects to fit your needs. At the end of the day, you’re the one doing the job day to day so it should always work on your terms.

So next time you get a job offer you’re not quite certain of, don’t rush into it. Think about your options and remember you’re in a much stronger position than your potential employer.

Write a Thank You note after interview 


So you went in for an interview, did an awesome job, and now you’re ready to thank your interviewer.  And yes, you should alwayswrite thank you notes.    Here are some tips on what to write in a thank you note after an interview:

   The template I recommend working with is this: [thank the person for their time] + [mention something about your conversation that you found interesting or helpful] + [reiterate your interest in the job and company] + [emphasize what about your experience would make you good at the job].  Now to elaborate…

   Thank you note section 1 – Thank them for their time for interviewing you

   After all, this is the original reason you are even sending a thank you note. Someone has taken the time out of their day to get to know you and evaluate you for a job.  A sincere thanks is one of the most important components of the note

   Thank you note section 2 – Mention something from your interview that you found interesting or helpful

   This shows your interviewer that you were actually listening and absorbing information during your interview.  It’s important to connect with your interview during the interview but also show them that something resonated with you.

   Thank you note section 3 – Reiterate your interest in the job + company

   Hopefully you did a good job during the interview explaining why you are interested in the job and why you are interested in the company.  These are things that almost every interviewer are looking for.  It’s always a good idea to re-emphasize these two things in your thank you note, just in case there is any doubt.

   Thank you note section 4 – Remind the interviewer that you are perfect for the job

   Another thing that you hopefully did during the interview was to let the interviewer know why you are suitable for the job and how your skills enable you to do the job.  Definitely worth throwing one line into the thank you note to remind them of your biggest strengths and skills that will make you a great fit for the job.

   A few more parting thoughts on interview thank you notes:

1. Snail mail or email, it’s the message that counts!  A lot of people get hung up on how they are going to send their thank you note but really it’s the content that is important.  Also take a cue from the company and industry.  If you are interviewing at, you’ll probably want to send a hand-written note.  If you are interviewing with paperless post, probably not!  If you are having trouble deciding, you can do both.  Send the email right after the interview and follow up with a hand-written note starting with “I just wanted to thank you again for…”

2. Don’t let too much time pass by.  There is really no excuse to wait more than 1 or 2 days to write an email.  Some people won’t care but others might hold it against you.  The polite thing to do is write your notes/emails right away so the interviewer knows that you appreciated their time and that you are really excited about the job.

3. You are sending the note to say “thank you” but also to say “remember this about me!” Write a thank you note that makes an impact.  It’s another chance to impress your interviewer and give them something to remember you by.  If there is anything you forgot to emphasize in the interview (and it makes sense in context) include it in the note.  An example might be “I know my years of experience doing X will allow me to make a meaningful impact on your team.”

Remember that part of preparing to write a great thank you note is really getting to know your interviewer and asking thoughtful questions.