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A couple of months ago, I met with a candidate and was able to secure an interview with our client to take place two days later. The morning of the interview, I get an email from the candidate telling me they have to cancel because they had secured a different interview, at a later date, with a company they were more interested in. Now let’s fast forward to today…we get a call from the same candidate saying they moved too quickly and made a mistake, is that position still open or is something else available????

I can think of any number of reasons why it would both be smart and appropriate to cancel an interview. Canceling the interview by itself is not bad. Canceling an interview you agreed to when you don’t have another official offer/start date in hand is…well…just a bit strange. Let’s be real for a second. I suppose if you had the opportunity to work for your dream company, in a dream job, it is possible we could get caught in a rose colored glasses moment and be thinking “of course my dream company will hire me, I’m perfect!” (Trust me, if the Chicago Cubs called me, I’d be right there with you!) But we work in staffing, most of our clients are locally based or are small to midsized businesses that aren’t global brand names.

So why put all of your eggs into one basket? Why not take the opportunity to meet with a new company? My staff likes to laugh at me because I usually equate interviewing to dating. Do you turn down a first date with someone interesting just because you have a date the following week? Do you cancel a date because you have another first date two days later? Just like going on a first date, you aren’t agreeing to marry them. In the same vein, you aren’t expected to take a job if it doesn’t match your goals and objectives. An interview is simply a process for both you and the employer to get to know each other and determine, on both sides, if this is the right fit for both of you.

We get it, your focus is on improving your career and you have a laser like focus on what you believe is best for you. Absolutely no one faults you for that mindset. But you are making it more difficult for yourself if you continue to focus on one opportunity at a time.  At the same time, recruiters like me are reaching out to you with other opportunities and being denied, or ignored, until the position you originally wanted doesn’t pan out and then miraculously you call us back again to reestablish communication.  Again, back to my dating analogy, imagine how this conversation would go with a potential person to date: “Hey, sorry I canceled our date, I just had another date planned that I was more interested in next week so I figured why bother with you. Unfortunately, that date didn’t work out. Do you want to get together on Tuesday????” Is it possible the person on the other end of the phone would say yes? Absolutely, but I certainly wouldn’t call it likely and I would be questioning what I got myself into if they did say yes! Now don’t over read this, by no means am I saying recruiters are perfect or it’s the candidate to blame. We all can improve our communications, but it is a two way street.

Bottom line, if you are looking for a new position today, keep your options open until you have an official start date in hand. Play the field and find the best fit for you and your interests, it’s an employee market today. Many economists are saying we are at full employment.  Now is the perfect time for you to play the field, you are in demand! This doesn’t mean you can’t have a favorite position you are hoping to come your way. It just means you don’t shut the door and wait for a decision on one position!  Go meet new people, look at other positions, spread your wings and see if you can find that position you can turn in out a long term career!

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