You have just started a new job, accepted an offer, or are a finalist in a search, and then something happens to you, your family, or the new company. You need to back out of the position. What are your options for gracefully exiting without putting a big dent in your reputation? Are there some cases where it is a good idea to pull out of a situation?
It can happen to any of us when an unexpected event or change of mind makes us want to back out of an outstanding career opportunity. Several recent examples include the following:
- As reported in a press release from the California HIE, a recently hired CEO withdrew from the position after a very short time.
- In another case, a health system CIO candidate who had interviewed at a large health system and was viewed as one of the finalists dropped out because of relocation issues with family.
- Another health system CIO found out after being hired that the entire IT department would be outsourced to a vendor.
- A recent CIO hire found out during the first week on the job that the health system had merged with another system.
So how should you handle the delicate situation of changing your mind about an opportunity? Here is a list of options.
Option 1: Give Notice Quickly
If you have changed your mind, after careful deliberation, let your employer or executive recruiter know quickly so that they can find another right person for the position.
Option 2: Consider Feelings
Everyone involved will have feelings and opinions, which can range from shock to disappointment and even anger. Talk to everyone involved with the job; don’t drop out, withdraw, or leave by just sending an e-mail. Be open and transparent and leave them with a good impression of you as a fair and honorable person.
Option 3: Be Positive
Keep your comments positive, brief, and constructive. If you have anyone to refer for the position, leave them with some names. Remember that the healthcare IT industry is small and you want to build bridges for the future, not burn any.
Option 4: Remove Guilt
Move forward with your decision and don’t look back. You had reasons for dropping out or leaving and no one should make you feel guilty if you left them in a respectful way.
Option 5: Stick Around
If you are in a situation where the organization changed and your new job is not in jeopardy, you may decide to stay instead of leave. Your loyalty could prove to be beneficial and may offer you untold opportunities to be successful.
If you have second thoughts about an opportunity, evaluate all the information and make your decision. During a CIO search, it is better to let us know before the final interview and real estate visit. Sometimes candidates have waited too long to let us know that the spouse or family disapproved of the new location. Be respectful of the employer and your family in these situations and move on with grace and dignity.