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Accepting a job and then getting an offer elsewhere - how does it work?

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Vanadesse, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. Vanadesse

    Vanadesse New commenter

    Just a quick question about what the situation is with accepting jobs. At the moment, I'm waiting to hear back at the end of this week about two jobs that I particularly want, though there's one that I want more than the other. So I'm just wondering what would be the way to go about the hypothetical situation I'm about to put to you, I'd love to get both interviews but I could get neither so it is purely hypothetical but I thought I would ask before being in the situation as I doubt I'd have the time then.

    Let's call them School A and School B. I did like School A and I would happily work there but I do feel that School B would be a much better school for me, I'd go as far as calling it pretty much perfect in fact. Both schools shortlist at the end of this week so I technically could be offered both interviews. School A, my second choice, has their interview on Monday and then School B has their interview at the end of the month. I was thinking today about what would happen if I got offered both interviews and then offered the position at School A. Obviously I couldn't turn it down in the hope that I'd get the job at School B because I could end up then having neither and I would like to work there, it's just I'd like the other school more. I could then accept the job and still go to the other interview and then be offered that job as well (I know, wishful thinking!) and obviously I would want that job far more. So how would I best go about it? Would it be a case of just accept the job and forget about the other one? I assume I wouldn't be able to give my answer over a week after the offer, can you accept a job and then contact them to say that you've found a position elsewhere? Personally that seems fairly unprofessional and I think that it could look bad on me, especially as both schools are in the same LEA and so I wouldn't like to do it unless there is a formal and accepted way to go about it. Like I said, I'm not in that position at the moment but thought I would ask just in case and also out of interest really.
  2. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    No. You will be asked in the interview if you're a firm candidate for the position. If you say yes, and they offer you the job, then you're right to say that this would be fairly unprofessional. You're likely to be offered the job the same day and they will expect an answer straight away.
  3. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Yes, it would be.
  4. I would say it's bad to leave them hanging as it shows lack of commitment, but I certainly don't see why you can't accept the position, but then take a position elsewhere if it seems better for you. You can't always 'aim to please', you have to think of yourself and your career. After all, you want a job that is more suitable for you. I think it would be unprofessional for a school to look down on you for finding a more suitable opportunity. The only risk is they might see you as using that job as a 'placeholder' to get to another one. But really,there are always better opportunities out there, and you'd be a fool not to always be looking for further opportunities.

    I'm just giving you another angle to think about. I do accept there are two sides to it and it's up to you and your judgement really.
  5. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    Once you have accepted a post then the contract of employment begins-this is initially verbal and followed up in writing later. This is why you need to be clear about what you are looking for in a post in order to respond appropriately. Do not accept and then pull out it is unprofessional . Do you thinking before saying YES.
  6. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    I am aware of one particular school in a neighbouring authority which has on two occasions in the past three years offered a post verbally to an NQT, and then retracted, on one occasion two months later and at the end of the jobs season when it was too late for the NQT to find another post. I wonder if Jenerena would also see this as acceptable? [And before you all panic, this is NOT what I would expect of any school, and is a highly uncommon occurrence].
    Once you give verbal acceptance of an offer, this is binding on both parties. Put out of your mind the prospect of the grass being greener in another school, and focus on being committed to the school whose offer you have accepted.
  7. Vanadesse

    Vanadesse New commenter

    It's not just the grass is greener, the other school is definitely a better school - it's had NQTs recently whereas the other one hasn't, it has more initiatives that I'm interested in and they would like to train someone up in SEN, something that I'm extremely interested in doing. It's also a permanent position over a fixed one year contract. So it is by far a better position to take, if there was a choice.

    I wouldn't want to accept a job and then just turn around and say sorry I've changed my mind, I've found something better elsewhere and that's that. I just wasn't sure if there was an official way to go about it in these situations as I obviously wouldn't turn down a job offer in the hope of a possible one later on that might not materialise but would prefer the second job, by far. Seems there isn't any such way but thank you for the replies anyway.
  8. PinkHelen

    PinkHelen New commenter

    If you think you would like to work at school A, then go along to the interview. Use the experience of the day to see if the school is really for you and allay any worries about their NQT program - ask all the questions that you might have. If you think during the day that either you wouldn't like to work there (once you've actually taught kids who go to that school, met the department and had a tour) or that you just can't ignore the gut feeling to go with school B (assuming you're very confident you could get the job there) then you politely withdraw from selection. The best you could hope for if you don't is that they may give you a while to consider their offer, but this is very unlikely. As others have said, once you verbally accept the offer it is a contract between you and them.
  9. Well you certainly have a point, but I had this discussion recently with members of my family and they both said that I have every right to retract and accept a position elsewhere. Of course it's the question of professionalism which is indeed a good point, and my family are by no means experts on employment or in the teaching field, but I have heard people say this and I have heard of people doing it.
    Unless you swear an oath though, I don't really see a verbal acceptance as binding at all. I'm likely to be mistaken, but I'd be interested to know this in case I find myself in a similar situation and make a pretty terrible mistake.

  10. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    Because once you accept a job, even verbally, you shouldn't even be attending another interview.
    If you attend interviews and accept jobs once you've contracted to work elsewhere you'll very likely end up with no job at all. Heads talk to one another.
    Then think carefully before you enter into a binding contract.
    It would be unprofessional to look for other work once you've accepted a post elsewhere
    You'd be fool to behave without ethics or morals and risk your career by doing so.

  11. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    Well they're wrong.
    So you wouldn't mind if you accepted a post then the school called a couple of days later to withdraw the offer because they'd found someone they liked better?

  12. Vanadesse

    Vanadesse New commenter

    Why shouldn't I? I don't see why I couldn't go for the interview, even just for the extra experience even though I already have a job. There's no rule that says that I can't and just because I may have entered into a verbal contract, that contract is to take the job, not to not have any other interviews.

    It's not quite that simple these days though is it? Especially for NQTs. In a time when it is quite difficult to find a teaching post, especially your first teaching post, you'd be a fool to turn down a post in hope that you'll get one later on when you could well end up with neither if you do that.

    I'll find out if I'm shortlisted for the second school before I'd even have the interview, let alone be offered the job so I wouldn't have been looking for work, just taking interviews that I'd already been offered.

    It would certainly be annoying and I wouldn't be happy about it but until I've signed a contract, I would just accept that and keep on applying elsewhere. It happens, I've seen it happen to a couple of friends before.
  13. welshwizard

    welshwizard Established commenter Forum guide

    Heads want to appoint teachers who want to work in their schools. You have a choice to accept a post or decline and move onto the next opportunity-that is what career decisions are all about. Signing a contract is irrelevant as a verbal contract begins your contract of employment and if you choose to breach that then the governing body have the option of pursuing legal redress for cost of advertising due to misrepresentation.
    Heads have very long memories and good local contacts I recall a teacher who did exactly this a few years ago. They were then up for another interview a few years later with the same Head who had moved schools. Did he get the job? No!
  14. MizUnderstood

    MizUnderstood New commenter

    We were told by our training provider that doing this is virtually employment suicide, ESPECIALLY for an NQT post.

    Like another person said, if you don't think School A is the school for you, then don't accept a position - end of.

    Headteachers communicate with each other all the time about things like interviews, they will literally phone each other and say "I know you've got a job coming up we've just interviewed X, Y and Z and although for us there was a better candidate we think they were great and would be well worth you interviewing" I know someone who hadn't even applied for a specific teaching job and got one this way, he was headhunted and invited to apply for a position that was only being advertised internally!! With even just a week between interviews it would be likely that School A would have to re-advertise and re-interview as some of the other candidates from the day might have found other jobs or perhaps didn't like the school. Your name would be absolute mud in the headteachers meetings, in fact until you sign a written contract with School B I would even be worried about them thinking twice after offering you the job and then hearing you had already taken a job elsewhere. I think people forget that the 'rules' of teaching jobs are very different to other employment sectors. DO NOT underestimate how much this would upset the Head of School A and how much it would affect future applications at other local schools.
  15. MizUnderstood

    MizUnderstood New commenter

    Forgot to say - the headhunted guy had applied for a position in the same school a year before and hadn't even been called to interview!

    Slight mistake in first post - it wasn't an internal post it just hadn't been advertised prior to them ringing him!
  16. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    Don't be so ridiculous. Do you think schools have time to waste interviewing candidates "for the experience" when they're not free to accept the post? Once you have a job you notify the other schools that you are no longer free to attend interview and you wish to withdraw your application.
    Yes, it is difficult, but unless you think you'd be unhappy in a school you are wise to accept what's on offer. You are not then free to look elsewhere.
    You're not free to accept an interview once you've accepted another job elsewhere.
    You are seriously telling me you know at least a couple of people whose verbal job offer was withdrawn because the school found a candidate they liked better? All offers are subject to satisfactory references but I simply don't believe you really know people whose verbal offers in teaching were withdrawn like this. It's not how teaching works.

    As other posters have said, mud sticks, heads talk and the kind of behaviour you're proposing is both unethical and career suicide.

  17. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    It is career suicide.
    But I don't think it's unethical - it's entirely normal in all other fields of work.
    It's just not how teaching works in England (and, IMHO, a demonstration of what pawns we are in the system and not "professional" at all, and how our unions have sold us down the river for political advantage at some point or other).
  18. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    It's unethical precisely because it's not how teaching works. People expect employers and applicants to work within a code of conduct and it's unethical to work outside that - ie attending interviews where you aren't free to take the post if you're offered it. It's more commonplace in other jobs to explain that you are applying to other places and are open to other offers. This is assisted by the fact that you often don't hear on the day whether you've been successful and you aren't tied to specific notice periods. I still think it's pretty dishonest in any line of work to accept a job then attend a second interview with the intention of ditching the first one and forcing the employer to advertise all over again, but it isn't the career suicide it represents in teaching.

    I don't see what the unions have to do with this at all.
  19. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    The unions have signed us up to about the most restrictive employment conditions I know of - about the only thing I can imagine is worse is professional football with its very narrow opportunities to change employer.
    Now if we had professional footballer pay rates, I wouldn't be worried about it...
  20. Vanadesse

    Vanadesse New commenter

    Like I said, it isn't a case of not thinking that a school is one that I would like working at, it's just not necessarily the best school. And I don't feel like you can be all that picky at the moment to turn down a decent job in the hope of a better one and I certainly wouldn't. I'd rather turn down the possibility of the better job for the guaranteed decent job.

    Just to say, I wasn't proposing to do anything, I actually asked if there was an official way to go about it, not how much trouble would I get into by doing it. If it came down to it, I wouldn't turn around and back out of the first job if I was then offered the second job. As I said in my very first post, I don't think that it's very professional to do and isn't something that I'd want to do. I was just wondering if there was an official way to go about it or whether it was just a case of just take the first job and forget about the second, even if it would be far better. Obviously there is no way to go about it and so if the situation does arise, I'd just take the first job and forget about the second.

    No, that's not what I'm saying. What I said was that I know a couple of people who have had their school withdraw the offer, for reasons that I do not know but knowing the people, I highly doubt that it was because of references. I'm not saying that a school has withdrawn an offer because they found a better candidate, I highly doubt that would ever happen, I'm just saying that it's not impossible that a school does withdraw an offer, for one reason or another.

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