In an era where breaking up via text message is common, many find having to deliver bad news in a professional context terrifying. But while avoiding the unpleasant task of telling an employer you are not accepting a job offer may sound like a good idea, it isn’t.
The situation is so rampant that Lindsey Pollak, a consultant who addresses multigenerational issues in the workplace, was asked to teach college students attending recruiting events how to politely turn down an offer.
Pollak warns that “ghosting” an employer can have lasting repercussions despite the reason. Whether job seekers are waiting to hear about another offer, considering a counter offer at a current job, or just plain avoiding the potential future employer out of embarrassment, ghosting in a professional context will very likely come back to haunt them.
The rejected recruiter can harbor negative feelings about candidates or become aware of lies they told to wriggle out of the offer. The job seekers’ unwillingness to be honest with the employer can tarnish their reputation, especially in industries where professional communities share information.
The best advice for job candidates is to be up front during negotiations. They should show enthusiasm for the position but tell the interviewer about any factors that may affect their decision to accept a job.
The Art of Self Promotion
Many individuals find discussing themselves distressing, but being able to talk about professional accomplishments is key to a successful career. Experts offer advice that will help even the most modest workers make sure their good work is noticed.
Compile data.Employers respond to numbers. Quantifying accomplishments can help an employer evaluate an employee’s worth.
Pick the right time to promote yourself. The time and place to discuss accomplishments is not during a company meeting. However, one-on-ones with a supervisor and yearly reviews are times to demonstrate one’s value.
Be honest about expertise. While no one likes a braggart, modesty is not much better. An honest appraisal of one’s worth is integral to self-promotion.
Discuss team dynamics. Detailing an individual contribution to a team project is a good way to demonstrate value to an employer.
Experts warn that self-promotion, though warranted, should be modulated. Downplaying other team members’ contributions and taking credit unfairly is always a poor strategy.
Writing Lessons from Jeff Bezos
The richest man in the world doesn’t rely on public relations staff or attorneys when communicating to his shareholders. Instead, Jeff Bezos uses his own highly developed writing skills, unlike many CEOs who rely on others to convey both good and bad news to stakeholders.
Bezos has been writing Amazon’s annual letters that address shareholders’ concerns and company news since 1997. Jean-Louis Gassée, a blogger for the tech industry blogging platform Monday Morning, says Bezos’s communication gifts are apparent in these letters as the Amazon chief is “writing well, affirmatively, with grace, and not infrequent humor.”
In fact, Bezos takes writing—the painstaking process of writing—to heart. He has come to believe that a written document is superior to a PowerPoint presentation when he addresses his shareholders.
“We write narratively structured six-page memos […] the great memos are written and re-written, shared with colleagues who are asked to improve the work, set aside for a couple of days, and then edited again with a fresh mind. They simply can’t be done in a day or two,” Bezos writes.
Bezos’ letters to shareholders show his profound understanding of his business. One year, he wrote about Amazon’s engineering feats, unafraid to use technical terms to explain a process in detail. Still, as a savvy writer, Bezos also appealed to his readers’ needs before their eyes were “glazing over” by reminding them that those very engineering accomplishments were responsible for increasing Amazon’s bottom line.
Drafting, rewriting, editing, and audience awareness are Bezos’ secret to good writing—a refrain that is likely familiar to business communication students.