As part of a series for USA TODAY, Johnny C. Taylor Jr. answers your HR questions. Taylor is the president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, the biggest HR professional society in the world, and the author of “Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval.”
Readers submitted the questions, and Taylor’s responses have been edited for length and clarity.
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Question: I just turned down a couple of job offers. It was strange and unsettling, especially because I like the company. What is the most effective technique to decline a job offer? – Riley
Johnny C. Taylor Jr.: The best approach to decline a job offer is to tell the recruiter or hiring manager verbally first, then write it down. Your written response should be professional and kind, with a brief explanation of why you are declining the offer. While the process may appear awkward and uncomfortable, even if the response is “no thank you,” a firm response is expected.
When declining an offer, there are a few things to consider:
• Make a firm choice on the job offer in a timely manner.
• Express gratitude to the employer for the opportunity.
• Inform the employer of your decision verbally, then create a written answer as soon as feasible.
• Give a brief explanation for the decline.
• Request to be considered for future positions.
Prepare to explain why the employment is not a good fit for you, and be prepared to accept a counteroffer if your reason is financial. Communicate your reasoning with caution. Accepting another offer, preferring a current job, or the obligations of a position are all common causes. However, you should avoid conveying criticisms that could damage relationships and prevent future considerations. It is not necessary to supply a lot of information.
In most cases, a written response of two or three short paragraphs is sufficient. Keep your options open for new opportunities within and outside of the firm. Recruiters and corporations, as you may be aware, frequently have extensive networks. As a result, evaluate how your behaviors in declining an offer that are unprofessional, impolite, or inconsiderate may have a negative impact on other opportunities.
Hopefully, you will discover the ideal work for you and be able to leave the job market!
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Q: I use my personal phone to receive work emails. My boss sends emails at all hours of the day and night. When they “ping in,” I’m worried because I’m not sure if he wants a fast reaction. It sometimes feel like I’m never leaving work. Should I speak with him about it? If so, how? – Troy
Taylor: Receiving late-night and midnight communications can be stressful unless you are in a critical capacity or working on a time-sensitive project. We’re used to replying to emails swiftly throughout business hours. Outside of work, though, it can be difficult to control this inclination.
Receiving an email does not always mean you have to answer. Confirm your manager’s expectations about sending after-hours emails by speaking with them. When he sends them, clarify his expectations for a response time. Is he expecting you to answer immediately soon, or can you wait until the next work day? He could simply be catching up on his personal emails and prefers to do it during off-peak hours.
You may be able to mute your email notification outside of business hours if answering the next day is OK. When sending an email that requires a fast response, your manager may be able to SMS or contact you to follow up. Most phones and email applications have a setting that only alerts you to important emails. To limit the quantity of late-night “pings,” try using this setting. The ability to delay email delivery is available in many email apps. Your boss could be able to send late emails the next morning.
If your boss expects you to be accessible 24/7 but your job doesn’t need it, it’s time to talk to Human Resources about what constitutes fair working hours. There might possibly be a company policy you should look into.
Hopefully, by having an open and honest talk with your manager, you will be able to clarify expectations and have less stress in the future.