Welcome to the de minimis edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a young accountant wants to know how to reject a firm in the most professional way possible. Is it best to give them the Band-aid™ treatment or can you simply not call and hope they get the hint?
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Returning to the rejector:
I have two FT offers from mid-size firms. I know which offer I want to accept but my question is what is the best/most professional way to “reject” the other firm? Is it better to call or email them and how should I word it?
These two firms are competitors and they both know I have interned with the other. My second question is should I try to leverage the firm I want to accept from and negotiate a higher starting salary? I’m not sure I even want to bother if there is a possibility of “burning any bridges” with either firm if I’d only get an extra grand or two. I just graduated and this is my first time in this situation. Any advice from you or the GC community would be greatly appreciated.
Here’s the thing – rejecting a firm isn’t like rejecting a human being. They don’t have feelings so don’t be afraid to be honest. Sure the person you speak to may sound disappointed but trust me when I say that they’ve heard it all before. That said, sending them an email with an image of your photocopied ass attached is not advisable. Your message can be communicated by either phone call or email and can give as little or as much detail as you like. You can keep it vague, “I’ve decided to accept another offer,” decline any pressing by your rejectee or you can go into detail, “I chose Firm A because [insert reason],” as long as you don’t feel like this is your opportunity to share thoughts on everything that is wrong with their firm. The person listening to you will appreciate your honesty and you can feel good that you’ve kept a professional decorum throughout the process.
What you don’t do, is this:
I recently learned [a recruit] cancelled his second round interview with us- said he broke his ankle and went to the ER- but was seen out partying that same night by one of our former interns.
This was sent to Adrienne by an HR professional at a firm regarding a potential recruit. Granted, this person may not have gotten an offer to begin with but considering the tact involved with this rejection, the firm is better without this loser.
As for trying to use one firm against the other to leverage a higher salary, this is hardly the time in your career to play hardball over your salary.
Bottom line is that you can reject a firm in a direct. professional manner and who knows, the contact may serve you in the future when/if your current situation doesn’t pan out. Or you can be ‘fraidy cat and tell them your mother is sick and you’re re-examining your life choices. That will your professionalism somewhere in between toddler and pre-pubescence. Choose wisely.