Crossing Out Lies And Writing Truth On A BlackboardI’ve been working with my younger brother to help him find a job. From re-writing resumes to mock interviews, we’ve pretty much gone over “all things job search.” And after applying for multiple jobs online and even filling out applications in-person at temp-agencies, I’m happy to report he finally found a job!

The way he ended up landing the job stemmed from a tricky, but common dilemma most job seekers find themselves in—one I knew would offer a great learning opportunity.

Here’s the scenario:

After applying for multiples jobs (for months), a job seeker gets a call back from Company A. He interviews and is offered a temporary position with Company A starting Monday, to which he happily accepts.

During his job hunt, the job seeker also put in an application at Company B where his uncle works. His uncle assured him once the application was in, he (the uncle) would put in a good word to his boss to have his nephew hired. Now, it just so happens that Company B also called the job seeker on the same day he accepted a position with Company A (he wasn’t able to answer while being interviewed).

The opportunities are as follows:

Company A

Work four days a week at $11/hr. Work third shift, getting off at 3:30am.

Company B

Work five days a week at $10/hr. Work the same day shift as the job seeker’s uncle.

Now, it’s also important to note that the job seeker doesn’t currently have a vehicle and relies on public transportation, but if he takes the job at Company B, he can catch a ride to work with his uncle.

You might be asking, well what’s the dilemma? Company B obviously will make more money in the long run and offers more convenient working hours. Yet, the issue this job seeker faces is the fact that he’s already committed to Company A by accepting the position.

Most job seekers are happy to even get one call back, so receiving two or more is a welcomed treat, right? I mean, having multiple job offers, having options is a good thing to have in today’s economy.

But time plays a huge role in securing a job, even when you have options. A recent study by Assurance Wireless, a Warren, N.J., telecommunications provider, found that 94 percent of HR managers said they would “move on” if an applicant doesn’t respond to their call back in a timely manner. The study showed that if job applicants don’t respond to a call back within 48 hours, the company will retract any job offer or interview offer—and it’s very unlikely it will call back again.

Desperate for a job, and this being the first company in months to make an offer, the job seeker in our scenario considered time and accepted the offer. Now his word and commitment are out there, and with the emergence of Company B and a better fit, he became distraught at the thought of going back on his word and commitment.

All my brother kept saying was, “What if it doesn’t work out at Company B and I already had a for sure thing with Company A? I told them I would be at work Monday; it’s the weekend so I cannot call the company; and now I’ll have to call Monday and say, ‘Hey, I actually can’t work like I said I could.”’

He was very concerned that in the future, if need be, this company would never work with him again because of his unprofessionalism. Breaking his commitment and going back on his word to a company, in my brother’s eyes, would damage his reputation and credibility. And who wants that happening as a job seeker?

Have you ever found yourself in this position? I certainly have. My senior year in college, I was applying for multiple internships. I began interviewing with one company, and unexpectedly, my previous internship asked me if I’d like to return. Immediately, without thinking about all the factors, I agreed. I allowed “time” to control my decision.

Yet, I still decided to complete my second interview with the other company; the next day it offered me the position, and I realized I really wanted to work for this company, and not my former internship. But I had already given my word; what’s a job seeker to do?

I say that honesty is the best policy. Trying to come up with the “best excuse” is just a hassle and could prove costly. You never know what ties companies have with each other, or who used to work at a place and still has connections there. What if you lied to the Company A, yet someone from Company B knew HR people from Company A and mentioned that you just accepted a position there? This will most certainly hurt your credibility.

Just be honest. Companies have to do what’s best for them, that’s why they hire and fire when and how they do. Likewise, you as a job seeker have to make decisions that are most beneficial for your future. Honestly, you don’t owe any company anything more than a truthful explanation before paperwork is signed.

So, what was the job seeker’s final decision? He went the honest route and is currently working at Company B—the better fit for his needs.

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