Savoir-vivre in the Job Application Process. How to Change a Job Without Ruffling Any Feathers

Aug 19th 2022

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Savoir-vivre in the Job Application Process: The Unwritten Rules of the Job Recruitment Process

The tips we usually list on this blog, help in finding and landing good jobs. But, they won’t let you maneuver between your current and future employers with class — without hurting anyone’s feelings and leaving everyone involved in the process with warm thoughts about you. So, how to make sure that you know the rules of savoir-vivre in the job application process and that you won’t ruffle any feathers in the process of looking for a new job? 

Savoir-vivre in the Job Application Process #1: Should My Boss Know That I Am Looking For a Job?

As a rule of thumb, you don’t need to tell your current boss or your coworkers about your job search. However, in certain circumstances, it might be beneficial to tell your Team Leader, for instance when:

💡1. Your contract is expiring soon.

If you have a contract that has a (close) expiry date, such as a typical academic research contract, your boss certainly won’t blame you for looking for another contract. In that case, telling them that you are looking for options might help you — as your boss might share ideas and personal contacts with you.

💡2. You have a close relationship with your boss based on trust. 

This really depends on your relationship with your boss and unwritten rules in your working environment. If you feel that your boss is also your mentor who  deeply cares about your career, and you both feel that you are running out of options for your career development in your current job, perhaps you can tell them in confidence. In that way, you will build mutual trust and you will likely maintain it long after you change your employer.

Regardless if you decide to tell your boss or not, it is better to keep this information confidential in front of your colleagues. You certainly don’t want gossip behind your back, as well as a wave of people who come up with the same idea as you, start an exodus from the company and cause a massive chaos. Telling your colleagues will do you no good.

Savoir-vivre in the Job Application Process #2: How To Quit From a Job With Class?

Well, this is not an easy question! Leaving a job with grace is a complex diplomatic exercise, but if you follow certain principles 

💡1. Tell your employer first and give them notice long enough.

Your employer should learn about your new job from you — not from your colleagues, rumors floating around, or your new employment status on LinkedIn. Just tell them as soon as you can, and give them notice as long as you can. Your contract should specify the animal notice period, but if you can extend it, it will be appreciated.

Also, don’t gossip around. Give your employer a chance to tell your team and other colleagues about your decision. If your colleagues ask about your reasons to leave, give them a generic answer, such as, for example:

“I felt the need to change my working culture and start the next stage of my career somewhere else,” 

“After so many years spent here, I needed some career change,”

“I found out that employer X offers some opportunities for growth that I badly need now, and I felt compelled to try.”

Even if you are chaining the job because of your relations with your current boss, don’t ever suggest that to your colleagues. The next day everyone will know, including your boss.

💡2. Talk to your boss!

Filing a resignation can be so much better than just handing in a resignation letter! Smile at your manager and express your gratitude for the chance of working together and for everything they taught you. 

Also, kindly explain your decision and make sure that your explanation doesn’t diminish your manager’s or employer’s professional qualities in any way. Reassure them that working with them was a blast to you and that wherever you go next, you will be speaking highly of them. Make them see you as a future ambassador for their brand!

💡3. Try to finish all your current projects. 

Nothing is more irritating to employers than quitters who escape projects halfway, just because they found another opportunity somewhere else. Quitters are a real plague today, and regularly freeze or even flop projects. 

Therefore, do your best until your last day, and make sure that your desk is as clean from ongoing projects as possible. If there are still unfinished tasks on your agenda, try to find a replacement In the team and make sure that these tasks will be picked up by someone else after you leave the company. 

Of course, report to your Team leader in the process and make sure that they see your efforts!

💡4. Say a proper goodbye to the team!

Some employers will organize a farewell party to honor your work, others will not. In this case, do not wait for the initiative of the employer and personally offer coffee and cake for all team members, or even go out to a restaurant together.

During the meeting, also thank the team for working together, tell them that you will miss them and that they can still count on you. Also, give each of your close coworkers something personal — for example, a card with a personal, personalized thank you note. This will make your employer see that this job was much more than earning money for you, and they will think of you warmly.

Furthermore, try to forget about any tensions at work. Behave like a pro diplomat and shake hands with everyone — even those who were a pain to work with. Remember that this might be the last time you ever see them; that’s a perfect occasion to bury the war axe and leave them on a good note. 

And of course, don’t forget to also collect contacts from your team members — their LinkedIn contacts, private emails, phone numbers. Make sure that you stay in touch in the future. They will become your social capital now! 

💡5. Make sure you follow any procedures related to leaving your job.

Many professionals who change jobs are so focused on their new position that they do not think about closing their previous contract properly. While in most workplaces, employees who clean their workstation must not only clean their desk from personal belongings, but also sign appropriate documents, clean their disk space, catalog their projects, and complete a number of other formalities.

Therefore, make sure you end your contract properly! If you don’t know everything about procedures, ask the Human Resources. Of course, also make sure that you don’t accidentally take IP out of the company — such as confidential data or the company’s customer base — as this is illegal and can get you into trouble.

Savoir-vivre in the Job Application Process #3: Can I resign From a Job Offer? Will It Hurt the Hiring Manager?

Empathic professionals often ask the question, “What to do when I receive two or more good job offers, and I need to turn down one of them? What would the Hiring Manager think of me? Will it hurt them in any way?”

The answer is: “No, it won’t.” Job interviews are two-sided negotiations and nothing is set in stone before the contract eventually gets signed. Hiring Managers are professional negotiators — hearing “no” is their bread and butter. They know that the best candidates usually have a few options on the table and you just can’t win them all.

Remember that saying “no” is perfectly fine for as long as it is:

💡1. Polite.

If you decide to reject a job offer, it is polite to make an effort to announce this decision personally and call the Hiring Manager. This is a sign of respect to the Hiring Manager and a sign of courage to take accountability for your decisions. Text response by email should always be a plan B — it is not nearly as classy as a phone call!

And yes, many recruiters reject candidates via emails. Be better than that. Show them real class!

For more, every occasion to praise the other party is a good occasion — even rejection! For instance, you can say, 

“Thank you for the opportunity. Unfortunately, I decided to proceed with another offer. However, I am grateful for your time and for your trust in my professional skills. This is a great team and I have no doubt that you will find a fantastic candidate for the role.”

Moreover, you might use this occasion to send the recruiter a polite invitation to your network via LinkedIn. In this way, you will show them that you indeed have a good opinion about their work and that you welcome them into your professional circle — plus, you gain a new, valuable connection!

💡2. Quick and direct.

Once you decide to turn down the offer, it will be appreciated if you communicate this decision as soon as possible. Nothing annoys the Hiring Manager more than procrastinating and delaying the decision for longer than necessary.

And of course, please DO communicate! It will look extremely bad for the  Hiring Manager if they learn about your final decision by getting notified via LinkedIn about your new position. In that case, you can forget about ever working for their employer, or anyone close to their circle.

Savoir-vivre in the Job Application Process #4: What TO Do When I Receive A Job Offer While I Am Still Waiting For A Response For My Preferred Job?

This is a common situation. Most of us apply for multiple jobs at a time while looking for new career opportunities. What to do when you get an offer from one employer while you are still waiting for the decision regarding another, more desired role? There are a few things you should know here:

💡1. Communicate with the employer who sent you the offer.

If you are hesitating whether or not to accept the offer, the worst you can do is to keep silence on the line. Silence never looks good. You should be appreciative of the offer ver if it is not your dream job. As a rule of thumb, you should react within the first 24 hours. 

However, you don’t need to accept or reject the offer straight away. At the end of the day, employers know that it is an important decision and you need to sleep with it. 

You might politely tell them that you would like to take the time to read the contract in detail and ask how much time you have to give the final decision. In most countries, the standard is one week, but this might depend on the employer.

You might also delay the deadline by proposing a counteroffer! For instance, let’s assume that you noticed some important benefits that might be added to the contract, such as a healthcare plan for your family, or an additional budget for self-education. You might call the Hiring Manager to renegotiate this part of the contract and ask them to send you another offer in writing.  

💡2. You should keep the information above and below.

Your top choice should know that you have offers on the table and that they are your top choice. This might actually speed up the decision process for them. To prompt them to make the decision faster, you might, e.g., send them a polite message saying:

“I just received a job offer from another company. However, I have no doubt in my mind that joining your team, and pursuing your vision and mission is how I see my future professional life. Therefore, I would highly appreciate an update with regard to this position at your earliest convenience.”

But at the same time, the employer who released the job offer should not know that they are not your top choice. This would give them a feeling that they are not as important to you as you are important to them, and that you might have low motivation to work for them. Therefore, try to keep the fact that you are in the recruitment process with another employer to yourself. 

💡3. Read the contract before you sign it.

If there is no clause mentioning a penalty for retracting an accepted offer, it means that there is no penalty or some symbolic penalty. This is why sometimes, it is better to just accept the offer first and then retract it if your employer of choice responds later. 

💡4. Give it a chance!

Lastly, the grass is always greener on the other side. Sometimes, it is better to just stop overthinking your job search and go for it. You might be surprised at how many employees fall in love with their job slowly and day by day, rather than getting crazy about what they do on day one. A good boss will make your job interesting even if it seems boring at first glance. 

Savoir-vivre in the Job Application Process #5: Treat Other Candidates As New Contacts, Not Rivals

In the job recruitment process, you might also meet other professionals worth your attention and potentially lead to valuable contacts. For instance, you might find yourself visiting the company headquarters for a Hiring Day along with twenty other enthusiasts. 

Remember that these people are not just your competitors to get the job. They are at a similar career stage as you and have similar career aspirations. Therefore, think about them as your potential future friends, allies, collaborators, and mentors — not your rivals. 

Try to get in contact with them. Exchange contacts on LinkedIn. Congratulate them if they get the job. Keep on helping each other and exchanging information if they don’t. Who knows, perhaps they will effectively help you get your next job or even become your employers one day!

Summary: Is Savoir-vivre in the Job Application Process Complicated?

Yes and no. Here, the rules of common sense apply! You should take into account that your Team Leader, the Hiring Managers as well as your colleagues are humans and have human emotions.

It is easy to predict that in case you start talking about your plans to find a new job, the news will spread over lunch breaks and Friday Afternoon Drinks at the speed of light! 

It is easy to predict that if your Team Leader learns from a third party about your new job, their level of trust will drastically drop.

It is easy to predict that no one wants to be option B, and if the Hiring Manager will learn that you have another preference for the job, they won’t be happy and might reject your application.

So, if you take into account that all these parties involved have human feelings and human reactions, it will be much easier for you to change the job without ruffling any feathers.

Are you thinking of changing your career path? Would like to get an intensive training oriented at discovering your identity as a professional, and learn effective career development strategies for landing great jobs? 

Join us at our intensive online career transition workshops! We will help you choose the right career path, help you land your new job, and teach you self-navigation strategies that will guarantee your success in professional development, and stay with you for a lifetime! Please find all the information about our game-changing online workshops and registration links HERE.

Please cite as:

Bielczyk, N. (2022, August 19th). Savoir-vivre in the Job Application Process. How to Change a Job Without Ruffling Any Feathers. Retrieved from: https://ontolgoyofvalue.com/savoir-vivre-in-the-job-application-process

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