Declined a Job Offer? It Is Possible To Go Back With These 5 Tips was originally published on Ivy Exec.
Three months ago, you were just starting your job search. You were confident you would land a senior-level position after working in a mid-level role for six years.
Early in your search, though, you were still feeling out of the job landscape and decided to apply as widely as possible. So, you threw your name in the running for a position that was a step up from your current role but not at the senior level you were aiming for.
However, the company showed considerable interest – you were invited for a first interview, then a second one, before the hiring manager called with an offer.
Though you hadn’t received other job offers, you were sure something better would arise. You could do better! So, you politely informed the hiring manager that the position wasn’t the right fit. They were disappointed but said they understood.
Months passed, and though you had several interviews, you weren’t offered another job. You realized that passing over the job offer was a mistake – you had been too ambitious.
Now, you’ve discovered the company that offered you the job has re-posted the position. You’re tempted to re-apply, but you’re unsure if the company you turned down will consider you again.
Should you submit an application?
The answer is yes – here, we’ll talk about how to re-apply for a job you declined.
Explain to the hiring manager why you would accept the offer this time.
Hiring managers aren’t going to reconsider your application unless you tell them why you turned it down the first time.
Before you re-apply for the same position or a similar one, first reach out to your contact at the company, sharing your intention to re-apply.
They will certainly wonder what changed from the first time around, so be sure to tell them, even if they don’t ask directly.
Specifically, explain that conditions in your life have changed – and you would accept the offer this time around if they were to extend it to you again.
If you can, try to demonstrate the sincerity of your interest by making a phone call. A call, rather than an email, lets your contact ask questions they might have, as well as demonstrate that you’re willing to go above and beyond to make amends.
Be honest about why you declined the offer – even if the truth hurts.
In order to convince the hiring manager you would take the job the second time around, you need to be honest about why you declined it the first time.
Jared Wellstone, who aimed too high in his job search, had this humbling experience.
“I basically admitted my error. Here I was telling them how I’d overestimated myself, that I had learned a hard lesson in doing my homework before letting my ego speak for me,” he said.
If the job conditions didn’t work for you, discuss options with your contact.
If there are other reasons you declined the job the first time, like the schedule wasn’t flexible enough, let the hiring manager know this, too. If pay and flexibility requirements have stayed the same, even after the job was reposted, you want to be informed if these are non-negotiable or not.
Your circumstances might have changed, or you might have lowered your expectations, but if the company is not able or willing to modify its conditions, you’ll know. Don’t want to waste everybody’s time by declining the position a second time!
Re-connect with your contacts at the company.
Network for your second go-around at the company the same way you did the first time. Reach out to your contacts at the company, letting them know you’re interested in an open position or would be excited to apply for roles on the horizon.
“Restarting a hiring conversation with a company is similar to restarting any type of networking — approach, follow up, and make your ask. Since you have a history with this company, make sure your ask is free of any emotional baggage. Do you feel guilty about having left or turning down the offer?” said Caroline Ceniza-Levine.
If the original offer was part of the reason you declined, learn to renegotiate.
If the reason you didn’t take the position in the first place was that the pay was low, you might be able to make the job more desirable if you learn to negotiate. More than half of candidates offered positions don’t ask for different pay or benefits than what they’re offered because they’re nervous or afraid the company will rescind the opportunity.
But if a low salary is a make or break for you, read this guide on “How to Negotiate a Job Offer, Including the Salary and Benefits Package” from Ivy Exec.
How to Re-apply for a Job You Declined
It’s never ideal to consider how to re-apply for a job you declined.
You never thought you would be in a position to accept a job you didn’t want for one reason or another, but it happens.
The first step is absolving yourself from any negative feelings about declining the offer – if you respectfully said no to the position in the first place, the hiring manager shouldn’t have any hard feelings!
Next, explain how you’re not at the same place you were before. If the hiring manager and your contacts at the company understand that you would be excited to take the position, they’ll be open to hiring you for it.
If you do receive an interview for the job, don’t go into it; sure that you’ll receive the offer a second time. On the other hand, don’t worry throughout the interview process that the hiring committee is hanging on to bitterness towards you. If they’ve invited you for a second interview, you can be sure all is forgiven!