Should you Continue to Interview after Accepting Your First Job Offer?

Imagine you are looking for a new job, and you have multiple leads and possibilities. You go to the first interview, and BAM, you receive an offer! It’s a solid offer, but the role is not ideal. Your first instinct is to hurry the other leads along and push them into making offers while simultaneously buying time to respond to the first offer. Eventually, the deadline on the first offer cannot be pushed any further, and while the other leads claim they’re interested in your candidacy, they still need time more to make you an offer. What do you do?

Here are some options:

  • Turn down the first offer and continue interviewing knowing you risk not getting anything else.
  • Accept the first offer and stop your search but continue to wonder if you should have waited for something better.
  • Accept the first offer and continue discussions with the other companies with the idea that you will take a better offer if it arises.
  • Accept the offer AND, out of courtesy, take yourself off the market immediately, cancelling any other interviews.
Accepting an Offer and Continuing to Interview is a Bad Idea

With a few limitations in certain states, all states are formally recognized as at-will employment states, meaning you can resign from a job at any time. (The employer can also let you go at any time.) But do you want to be known as someone who accepts an offer and then shortly thereafter quits? Think about the effect that has on your word.

We all know that when you start a new job, it takes some time to adapt to it. If you accept a role but are still in a quandary about a possible “better” job coming along, you are not being fair to your new employer as you will not be giving him your full attention. You need to give your best efforts to adjust to the new role and integrate fully into the culture and environment. So, if your acceptance is only half-hearted, it can lead to a downward spiral.

It’s a very small world. Even though confidentiality is critical to the hiring process, you still run the risk of word getting out. Consider a scenario where your new employer finds out you have not ceased communicating with prior prospects. This breach of trust could instantly derail your tenure and cause your new employer to cut ties with you immediately. Bottom line: Don’t accept a job offer unless you know 100 percent it’s what you’re looking for.

Still, there may be legitimate reasons to continue interviewing even after accepting another offer.

You decide to get closure on the other opportunities. You play out your options as you feel your new employer may not be the perfect fit for you. Be sure to closely manage confidentiality when you arrange to complete these other interviews. You may feel better about your new employer if the different opportunities don’t meet your expectations.

However, suppose you get another job offer you want to accept. In that case, you should create as little disruption for your new employer as possible. Help them secure your replacement and assist with messaging around why you are leaving prematurely. Remember that your new employer and staff may entirely overlook your positive gestures, and you do run the risk of burning bridges by reneging or quitting shortly after starting a job.

Whatever you decide to do, proceed with caution.

If you turn down one offer for another with uncertain possibilities, it would be prudent to use this time to intensify your search by generating brand-new leads. Some imminent offers have been known to disappear. If the other offers don’t work out, having newer leads can redirect you from being upset that you didn’t accept that first offer.

If you accept a job that is less than perfect and stop interviewing elsewhere, don’t make yourself crazy by imagining what-if scenarios. It is easy to convince yourself that another offer would have been better, but that is just fantasy. The best advice is to embrace your new role and make it work. Concentrate your energies on doing an amazing job; over time, you may be able to change the elements of the job you were not happy with when you took it.

If you continue interviewing with other companies after accepting an offer, you must manage your risks immediately as you sort out all your options. In the longer term, you must be more proactive when working on your career.

Ask yourself why you felt the need to accept a less-than-ideal offer. If you believe you have no other alternatives, build up your network, and brush up on your job search techniques and financial foundation. You will then increase your capacity to think and act long-term. If you rushed into accepting the first offer because you felt you had to leave your current company, take a long, hard look at what didn’t work before, then plan to correct any flaws. Remember that the problems you had in your previous job may follow you to your new employer.

For more expert advice on when to accept a job offer, contact us at ALIGN and one of our experienced team members will be happy to assist you.

Recent Posts