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Friday, November 20, 2009

accepted a job; do I need to notify other places I applied?

A reader writes:

I got a job that I really wanted and I'm happy and grateful. My question is what's the best way to let other prospective employers know? These are places where I put in resumes, but haven't gotten interviews. (If I had interviewed for another job and was still waiting, I would call the hiring manager when I got another job offer.)

Some are easy--they have a link on their site where you can withdraw your candidacy. Others had email addresses to submit your resume. Should I email that same address and withdraw? Still others had U.S. Mail addresses to send your resume to. Should I call or email their HR offices and withdraw?

Even if I didn't think I had much chance of getting a call about some of these jobs, I don't want to waste HR's time, and I want to be polite. However, if they discarded my resume immediately on receipt, it seems a waste of their time to contact them and withdraw. What's the best way to handle this? I've applied for a lot of jobs over the last few months!

Congratulations on your new job!

I agree that you should notify anywhere that you had interviewed with (including phone interviews) that you're withdrawing from consideration -- because it's polite, and because you might be taking up a slot in their finalist pool that someone else could have.

However, convention doesn't really require you to notify places where you've just sent your resume and haven't yet heard anything.

But it's still a nice thing to do, if you choose to. I'd send an email rather than calling, for all the reasons I normally recommend email over calling (less of an interruption, more efficient, blah blah). I'd also just do it with the places you've applied in the last couple of weeks, not going back months. (Places that wait a long time to contact candidates should know that some of them will have accepted other offers meanwhile.)

But again, there's absolutely no obligation or even any expectation that you'll do this if they haven't asked you to interview.

Also, you are very polite to even be thinking about this -- many of those places you applied to don't even bother to tell applicants they've been rejected, so thank you for showing them how courtesy works.


Erica said...

What a really nice thing to do think to do. Thanks for being a great human!

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree that this is the courteous thing to do and I applaud you for your consideration to other employers.

I made the mistake of not doing this, even though I had interviewed with another company, because I hadn't heard anything back from them.

So I accepted a different position and on my first or second day, the other company called to offer me the job I no longer thought I was a candidate for. Now, it was a good thing I didn't want this position b/c when I explained I had taken another offer, the hiring manager cut the call short and then sent me a SCATHING email about how inconsiderate I had been. I would really like to avoid emails like this in the future. It was an honest mistake on my part but better to be safe than vilified!

Sabrina said...

You're a lot nicer than I am. Had I interviewed I would definitely call or email them. If I had just submitted an application, I wouldn't bother. Most companies don't bother acknowledging your email or even following up with you after an interview. Even after you've used the handy dandy emailyourinterviewer tool. I might let them know if I had applied in the last week or so. If I were in a good mood. :)

Anonymous said...

For me, it has to go both ways. If I were interviewing and the company was good about updating me, then I'd definitely let them know that I accepted a job offer. If the company didn't even bother to keep me in the loop, I bet they wouldn't bother reading my email with the update either. Hence it would be a waste of my time.

For companies that I sent resumes to but haven't heard back from, I wouldn't even bother.

Anonymous said...

I have a similar situation where I was offered two jobs at the same company. The HR lady handling this asked me which job I would accept and I told her.

The problem is that the hiring manager (from the job I turned down) emailed me the week before say that she was recommending me to be hired, but that HR will be the one to make an offer.

I didn't know if or how to respond to the email (because I was really hoping to get the other job that I eventually accepted) so I didn't respond to her. I am sure I could have handle it better but I don't know how?

Anonymous said...

I once applied for a position at a company I hadnt really ever heard of in the industry, and never heard a word back. I assumed they didnt care for my work, and were not very professional to leave me hanging like that- it was about 20 years ago, not the climate we are in now, btw. Within a few weeks I had been hired by the top company in the industry, and was very happy there. About ONE YEAR LATER I received the format Ding Letter from the previous company - stating that my work was not something they could use, with a tone of "not good enough" in between the lines. It took weeks for me to stop laughing about it - and it was hard to avoid writing them to say, "nyahnyahnayh nyaaaaa."

Rachel - I Hate HR said...

I'm going to disagree here. If they've contacted you already for an interview or a screen then yes definitely call them and let them know.

If you haven't heard a word from them since submitting your application then please do not call. My resume system only tracks if we've received you resume and if we've sent a rejection letter. It does not track where you resume is at any given time. If you call me to tell me you have another job then I'll probably sit there debating whether or not it's worth tracking down your resume and decide it's not and to just risk that you might be selected to be screened in the future.

Anonymous said...

Hi, original poster here: My concerns were mainly along the lines that Rachel-I Hate HR stated.
I don't want to waste their time if they're not considering me at all.

Also, I work in academia and have applied for a lot of those jobs, plus state and other non-profits who move rather slowly. That's why I thought, even though I hadn't heard anything for some time, that at least some of them might still be considering me. After sending a 'withdraw me' email yesterday to a small college, I did get a 'thanks for letting me know' back from the hiring manager.

In general, I do try to be polite, considerate and professional just because it's who I want to be. But I do think that nice gestures can come back to reward you and rude ones can hurt you. What if, in a few years, I want to apply again to 'small college.'? The manager might remember me as a polite person.

Rob said...

If you are in final or late stages I would notify the other companies ONCE you've started. If you've just applied but not heard anything, I would not bother.

Charles said...

I disagree with most here.

I would not contact them unless they had already made an offer. If they made you an offer, then by all means, you have a moral obligation to let them know that you will not be accepting ASAP (regardless of the reason).

But, consider what you will do if the new position doesn't materialize? What if the new position doesn't work out?

If you haven't mentioned the new job to anyone, then no harm no foul if it doesn't work out. However, if you have already removed yourself from their consideration you now have to start all over again.

And, no matter what the reason or how you explain it to those organizations that you now want to be reconsidered for a job you will be the one who looks bad.

So, don't shoot yourself in the foot while trying to be nice.

Anonymous said...


I am a Business Analyst. I accepted my current position 6 months ago to support the companies migration to an ERP from Quickbooks... Problem is they killed it after 3 months on the job due to politics in a small headcount, big dollar company. Needless to say, I am bored. I have emailed my manager accordingly, yet nothing has come of it. Do you have 'better' choice of words for me to use to get the point across? In this economy jobs are hard to find, but I am falling asleep and dont want to be fired for lack of a complete job description.
Thank you for your help.

KH, in CA

Ask a Manager said...

KH, don't just email your manager. Go talk to him/her.