Punk Rock HR Question 17: Turning Down An Offer


Dear Laurie,

Team Building is For Suckers is my new favorite daily read. My escape from the corporate world led me to your second least favorite industry: staffing (“I don’t support staffing agencies…” from your 12/6/07 entry).

It’s gone remarkably well. I work for a reputable company that focuses on Direct Hires and contract-to-hire placement of professionals. You couldn’t pay me enough to do the temp crap!

I was recently recruited by another staffing company for an operations management position. Upside: The job is really tailored to my abilities, it would get me off the recruiting desk, and it would be a challenge. Downside: I don’t know much about their industry, their office does in sales in one month what my office does in one week, and while the pay is a little bit more than my current income, I’m not so sure it’s enough to compensate for the added responsibility.

I’ve met with them three times, all along telling them I was seriously interested in their position – which I truly was. After lengthy conversations with my husband this weekend, I came to the conclusion that I should stay where I am. I work with a great team, I’m treated incredibly well, I can tell my boss to f*ck off and not get fired, and I’ve worked really hard on some key accounts that are really starting to pay off (one which will earn me an additional $18K in commissions in the first half of 2008). I just met with my boss and told him that he needs to promote me to operations manager and he agreed. We’re working out a plan to make this happen.

I received an official offer letter from the other company this morning. As I mentioned, all along I was truly interested in their position. Now that I look back on the whole situation, I was somewhat blindsided by the opportunity. I was not actively looking for a job, but what this offer did was bring to light some of the underlying disatisfaction I have in my current position.

It is a great organization with wonderful management. They have a solid plan for growth in place and I was to be the catalyst to help them realize this goal. How would you turn down the offer?

Thanks for your help.
– Just Another Staffing Schmuck


Dear Schmuck,

Happy 2008! The answer is easy. You can turn down that offer with a smile and be thankful that you have such an awesome job in such a crappy industry! (Just kidding. I think pharmaceutical reps are more annoying than contingent staffing recruiters!)

You can simply say, “This is a very thoughtful offer, and I appreciate the time. Unfortunately, I have decided to remain with my current employer. I want to thank you for your time and your consideration. If you’re interested, I would be more than happy to recommend very qualified candidates for this role.”

I used this line when I turned down a job at a multi-level marketing company when I did my research (a little late) and learned exactly what a multi-level marketing company is all about. [What a scam, by the way. I highly recommend you buy your laundry detergent from a store, not a right-wing Christian fundamentalist organization.]

Now go get a promotion & a raise.


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