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Got the Job offer but decided not to take it?  - Article Image

Got the Job offer but decided not to take it?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Got the Job offer but decided not to take it? How to say “TBNT” (Thanks but no thanks) and keep the door open for when you’re next job-seeking.

  1. So, you’ve been offered a job / have multiple job offers on the table
  2. You’ve either secured the role on your own or via a Recruitment Agency
  3. You’ve decided not to proceed with the offer/s.
  4. What is the best way to say TBNT (Thanks but no thanks) to a job-offer?

A few real-life examples of rejections by candidates of job offers that could have been better handled:

1.  No-show: I got a text from a candidate on the day that they were supposed to start their new, full-time job as an Occupational Therapist. “Hi, I have decided to go travelling and so will not be starting my new role today.” After I fell off my chair and picked myself up to call the client and braced myself to deliver this news, she said, “Hi, I assume you’re calling about XYZ’s text about not starting today?”. Again, I fell off my chair. Not only had this candidate not given us the courtesy of pulling out well in advance so that our client could tap the runner-up candidate on the shoulder and offer them the job instead, but had left it until the morning that they were meant to be starting their new job – not even thinking about all the training and induction that has been set-up for their first day. Wow! Unprofessional and lacking in courtesy.

2.  Counter-Offer: A candidate got counter-offered by their current employer after they had accepted the job offer from our client (Side note: this is not a worry, we understand that this happens. What we also understand is that increasing the salary package doesn’t change the intrinsic reasons why you started job-seeking in the first place. And if you have to resign for your employer to see the value that you add to their company, then that’s food for thought. Most candidates who accept counter offers are therefore generally job-seeking again in 6-12 months’ time). Now back to this candidate – they emailed the Admin Services Manager at our client site instead of giving us, the placement agency the courtesy of a call or email to let us know this. So, when the client called us to say, “Hey, ABC has pulled out of the job offer”:

A) We didn’t know about this

B) It did not leave a great taste in our mouth

Considering we had been intrinsic in getting the candidate this amazing opportunity, it would of been better if they had let us know of this decision ASAP so that we could of managed this issue with our client.

3.  Radio-silence: We delivered an offer to a candidate who had been engaged through the whole process of recruitment. Excellent! The client’s excited, the candidate’s excited, the placement agency is excited and then – Kabooom! Radio silence. After telling us that they would discuss the offer with their partner and would let us know their decision by the end of the week and nothing. We have to this day never heard back from this candidate. Strange but true. We were concerned that something serious had happened to this candidate (e.g. an accident or other mishap) which rendered them unable to contact us, so we tried everything to get in touch. Nothing but continuous radio silence. They did however update their LinkedIn Profile eventually to say that they were starting work with another employer.


All the above situations can be handled with grace by communicating with the agency or employer.

Situation 1 of the no-show: If you’re not going to accept a job because you’re going travelling or any for another reason, please let the agency and employer know ASAP so that they can then consider alternative short-listed candidates. If you do need to for whatever reason leave it until the morning of the start date, then pick up the phone and speak to the agency and/or employer. In the case of agency recruitment, they have managed this whole process for you from the start, so please give them the courtesy of including them as this process reaches a conclusion.

Situation 2 of the counter-offer: If you are going to accept a counter-offer from your current employer, please give the agency the opportunity to again manage this situation if you have been represented by them. If you have secured the role directly with the employer, then please directly call the hiring manager and let them know of your decision. There is no loss of face here, just grace in a situation that most potential employers are familiar with. Potential employers don’t have a problem hearing “no” from potential recruits, they have a problem with the delivery of this message.

Situation 3 of Radio-silence: This one can again be easily managed by saying “thanks but no thanks to the agency” if you’ve been represented by one or the hiring manager if you are directly dealing with the employer. Not saying anything only leaves all parties to get worried that something has happened to you. And when the employer or agency realises that there is no mishap or accident that has rendered you unable to email or pick up the phone to call, then it doesn’t present the job-seeker in the best light. Just let them know you’re not accepting the role as no feedback at all on a job-offer is rude, any which way you cut it.

Remember the golden rule: “Treat others the way you would like to be treated”. Put yourself in the employer or agencies shoes for a minute and then act accordingly, with respect and courtesy.  

If in doubt as to how to say “thanks but no thanks” to a job offer, please feel free to consult with a professional, specialist agency such as Medijobs Australia so that they can add value to your job-seeking process by allowing the potential employers doors to remain open to you if and when you ever want to revisit them.


All the best with your job-seeking.