Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Slice of Work #6 — A Rejected Job Offer & Integrity

This was many years ago, when I was a recruiting manager and I was asked to find a leader for a function based out of Delhi for an MNC that I was working for. It was a difficult assignment and I was really at my wits end, for the skills were rare in those days and my boss was looking for a strong-willed person. Finally, I found someone from Bangalore. He was an interesting person and warm and genuine.

The rounds of interviews grew longer and this was a good sign as any recruiter would know. We all loved him. Next, a job offer was to be made. And it was on terms that he did not have to argue about as it was a very generous one and he knew it. In those days, if you throw in a big car and a house it was a big deal. We also offered him admissions to the school of his choice for his children.

His wife and children went school hunting and things were settled. He was on, and life was good. He had resigned from his company and I was “keeping him warm” – an expression for making sure that we did not lose him to any other company after he resigned. Suddenly, out of the blue, the phone rang and my boss called me to his room. It was urgent, he said.

When I went to his room he showed me a letter. It was from the potential hire. He thanked us profusely and said that he was regretful that he would not take up our offer. Said that he decided to rescind our offer for family reasons. His father was unwell. He was most apologetic and said, he could never repay us for our efforts and for enormous goodness that he experienced. He added that he was enclosing a check for Rs. 30,000 to partly compensate for all our expenses incurred with his recruitment. And that it would never be a restitution for all what we have done for him.

My boss was a fine man. He wrote back to the person to say that he was most taken in with his uprightness and that he would wait for another three months, and of course not encash his cheque, etc. As expected, the man did not show up. But what showed up was his integrity and character. I could never forget the man. And he did give us some leads on who could be a suitable and ‘better’ person for the job. He stayed in touch with me, and each time he would start the conversation with an apology for wasting our time and energy. And I would wish there were more like him in this world.


  1. What an amazing experience...touches you to know there are indeed such people around!

  2. Like they say no break up is a happy one, similarly no offer decline (specially for a difficult-to-find-skill) is painless. However, one more aspect which is the take away from this valuable experience of yours, power of relationship, mutual respect and how you make any stakeholder "feel" goes a long way. making each other feel valued made a difference :)