A trend that has started creeping in to the market is that of candidates becoming far too relaxed about accepting a job offer from a company and then getting cold feet when it comes to resigning with their current employer and starting with their new one. What candidates don't realize is that their actions could have potentially disastrous consequences for their career.
The first party in this equation that will be affected is the future employer. The acceptance of an offer of employment for a candidate is an exciting end to a sometimes tedious process of interviewing and assessments. When an employer finally finds their "match" they are extremely excited to have their new member on board and will start the preparations for their arrival. When the new employee does not start on the agreed date, this could start the snowball effect of the degradation of the candidate's career.
Most people are aware that an offer of employment (whether it be a letter, contract or email) is a legally binding contract that has been entered into by both parties. When a candidate does not start on the agreed upon date with their new employer, they are in breach of contract and may be legally liable for losses that the company may have encountered due to their absence. Besides the legalities, candidates don't always realize that their actions can ruin a most prized asset - their reputation.
The working world is a myriad of networks and connections, and ruining the relationship with a future employer does not stop with them. The decision makers that usually have a say in offering the candidate in question have close knit relationships with their clients, possibly suppliers and may have friends at other companies within the industry. Needless to say, by not starting with a company after signing a legally binding contract with them, candidates are branding themselves not only as unreliable candidates to employ, but also as dishonest people. Word will ultimately spread throughout the industry and greatly diminish the candidates' chances of getting a job elsewhere.
Yvonne van der Linde, Marketing Recruitment Consultant at RecruitMI says: "Another element that a candidate does not always realize is that recruiters have their own networks. These include relationships with clients, colleagues as well as other recruiters. When a candidate does not start with their new employer, they immediately create a name for themselves in the industry that they are a 'bad apple' and will not be put forward for any other positions that he/she may be suited for."
One of the most common reasons why candidates don't start their new job with their new employer is that their current company may have responded to their resignation with a counter offer. Counter offers may appear in many forms may it be an increase in salary, benefits or an increase in roles and responsibilities. What many don't realize is that "after receiving a counter offer in response to your resignation, your employer may have responded this way with ulterior motives" (Recruit Group, Counter Offer Advice:1). This creates an interesting relationship between employer and employee. The employer "is aware that the candidates loyalty to the company has been compromised and that should another bigger or better opportunity arise he/she will attempt to leave again" (Recruit Group, Counter Offer Advice: 1). Once again, the candidate is branded as disloyal and untrustworthy.
Says Yvonne: "Changing jobs is one of the most important decisions that one can make and should not be taken lightly. Make sure to understand exactly why it is you feel you no longer want to stay with your current employer, and how you would react if presented with a counter offer. Also, ensure that you have considered every aspect of your new employer and the opportunity presented to you before you accept their offer of employment as you would do a lot more damage accepting and then not starting than if you were simply to decline their offer."
Finally, something to remember: "It takes a decade to build a trusting relationship and a day to destroy it."