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Dating advice for candidates: Break up early and never burn bridges

Career Transition
Interviews & Resumes

Dating advice for candidates: Break up early and never burn bridges  

When it comes to applying for jobs and considering a potential next career move, one of the most important things to keep in mind—even in this candidate-friendly market—is the importance of maintaining good relationships throughout your interview process and never burning bridges you may need in the future. 

Be transparent

If you’re not serious about making a change, don’t string a potential employer along by getting too far into the process. Dating is an appropriate analogy here: It’s safe to assume any potential employer is likely “dating” in order to get “married.” If this is the case, it’s important for you as a candidate to be clear about where you stand in your job search and your level of interest. If you’re not at all interested in getting “married,” they need to know this earlier, rather than later. By doing this, you are emphasizing the importance of the relationship and your respect for the person(s) and the process. 

Go old school

Always, always send a handwritten thank you note, or even a few along the process. You’d be surprised by how many companies tell us they appreciate the gesture and how few candidates actually send one. Like dating, it’s nice for them to know you enjoyed and appreciated your time together. 

Break up early

Again, dating is a perfect analogy here: if you’re going to break their heart, do it now. Don’t wait until you’re almost down the aisle to tell them you were never really that serious in the first place. Continuing in a process you’re not actually considering only frustrates the employer, who might have already broken up with other great candidates in hopes of you being the one. 

No one likes a broken heart, and when you are in the market for a new position again down the road, you never want a scorned employer out there upset with you for breaking up. Even if it’s a hot market for candidates right now, respect always goes a long way and you’ll never regret keeping all your bridges in tact.

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