When I was growing up, Kenny Roger’s “The Gambler” was a hit song. The song’s refrain is famous:You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em Know when to walk away, know when to run.
Kenny sure knew what he was talking about when it came to my job search. After the flurry of activity of initial interviews, I had to decide when I wanted to walk away from continuing to interview with an employer – and when I should run.
During the process, I received offers to attend on-site interviews at more than one school. Because of the multiple offers, I removed myself from final round interviews at a school without an offer in hand from another institution. At the time, it was a gamble to turn down an offer to interview without a solid employment offer in hand. As I considered my situation, I knew I physically could not continue to interview at multiple schools, perform at my current job, and be any semblance of a husband/parent to my family. So I withdrew myself from consideration.
I removed myself from consideration after I had a solid final round interview day with a school in which I was more interested. If the interview had gone poorly, I probably would have attended the final round at the other school. Removing oneself from the recruitment process with an employer when one does not have a firm offer is a gamble. For some, it is the right thing to do because of time and resource constraints.
By limiting the number of final rounds I attended, I felt I was able to give more of my time and attention to those efforts in which I was continuing to consider. Being rested and ready to tackle the interview was more important to me than trying to obtain multiple offers and then negotiating them against one another. Take the time to ask yourself if you would really like working at a particular role or employer before taking the final round interview. If you are fairly sure the role and the employer is not right for you after what you have experienced in your previous interactions, feel confident to remove your candidacy. Know when to walk away is the right option for you.
One tactic that helped my decision process was coming up with a list of items I wanted in an employer and role. Taking that list and identifying the “Must” haves and the “Dealbreakers” helped me rank the opportunities. For example, a reason I eliminated one school from consideration was due to my interactions with the individual who would be my boss. I was not confident that I would be supported nor develop professionally compared to other employers/supervisors. Although bosses change, I did not want to head into a situation I already questioned. In that case, I knew when to run.
Have the confidence to realize that if you made it to the final round interview with one employer, you will make it through the interview process with others as well. And then have the confidence to walk away and the intelligence to know when to run.