1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Can I turn down a job offer if another school offers me a job?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by janesart, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. janesart

    janesart New commenter

    I have read previous threads on this, but most of them are from quite a few years ago. Basically, I have two interviews in the next two weeks. The second one is my preferred school because it is a lot closer to my house and prefer the ethos and think it is more suitable for me as a person and a teacher.

    If I was currently in stable employment, I would just decide the first interview and only attend the second one, as I understand its unprofessional and wrong to mess schools about. I am currently doing supply, but I will not be able to carry this on for much longer because I haven't yet completed my NQT year. If I don't get a job soon, I will be unemployed.

    The schools I have got interviews at are in different counties and 30 miles away from each other. So surely the heads wouldn't talk? Also, one school is under a national academy chain so surely they would communicate to other heads in that group rather than the other schools, particularly those not in the local area?

    I live in an area where teaching jobs don't come up very often (hence I haven't managed to complete my NQT year yet).

    Say I get offered a job by the first school (unlikely, but possible), but attend the next interview a few days later and get offered a job at that school (again unlikely, but possible), surely I can turn the first school down, especially if there were multiple candidates at the interview. There are literally no other jobs in the area atm (spanning 60 miles around) so the chances of the other candidates accepting jobs elsewhere would be slim. I know this sounds very unprofessional, but I want to be in the right school to complete my NQT year. I don't want to mess the school around but if I decline a few days later, it's not like I've left it a long time to create chaos for the school. I don't see it as unprofessional that I am trying to find the best place for me to develop my career and a school that best suits me as a person and a teacher.

    Despite my two schools being in different counties and not under the same academy chain, would it still hurt my reputation? When I speak to teachers in schools where I have been doing supply, they haven't heard of the first school as it's quite a distance away and in a different county.

    Thanks in advance for your replies :) Please understand that I do not like being unprofessional, but I am in a desperate situation here.
  2. phatsals

    phatsals Senior commenter

    If you are made an offer don't accept it, tell them you are being interviewed by two schools. What you can't do is wait to be rejected from an interview before applying for another role - that wouldn't make a bit of sense.

    If you accept a job, you can't then accept a second one without causing grief. Save yourself the pain but be honest. There's always the risk they could take exception to being asked to wait, but that is the risk you take.
  3. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    In reality, there is nothing to stop you accepting the first offer and then telling them you’ve changed your mind if you receive a second (better) offer.

    Teachers get very hung-up on the whole ‘breach of contract’ thing, but in the real world, it happens all the time.

    I’m not saying it would be ethical, just providing some reality.
  4. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    In interviews you often get the question "if we offered you the job would you accept it?", generally towards the end. So that is a sort of invitation for you to explain what you have told us.
    If you were a really really strong candidate,they might offer you the job and add that they are ahppy to wait a day or so until you've had the other interview.
    This could also work as a bargaining chip.
    But equally, they might feel that if you are happy to look for a job elsewhere having seen their school, they don't want you there anyway.
    I feel a bit squirmy reading your comment about "well the two heads wont talk anyway", not because you want to make the best choice for yourself, but because it is an open attempt to not be straight,to hide something and try to get away with it. It's worth noting that yes,headteachers know headteachers for miles around, but it's also worth noting that actually something like this might be considered a triviality compared to,say,the school building falling apart. In short, maybe you are not that important for them to talk about you anyway.

    Aside-If jobs are so rare round your way, you might see the same people being interviewed at both. What fun. What mind games.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
    agathamorse, Piranha and JohnJCazorla like this.
  5. EBC

    EBC Occasional commenter

    Yes, go full throttle at the first interview, and when they ask, would you accept the job if we offered it to you, be honest and say that in a few days you have another interview. Youve liked this school very much but haven't seen the other one yet.

    Honest, but also keeping them interested in you.
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. davidmu

    davidmu Occasional commenter

    You want to complete your NQT year. If offered the first job I would advise you to take it. This give you the qualification you need. Most jobs are advertised a minimum of 10 times during a career so even if you lose out on the second job it simply delays that possibility. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!
  7. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Agree with the posters above but it is quite possible to stall on the first offer, though it's easier to do it for a few days than over a week.

    As is often pointed out on these forums you should never accept without discussing pay first. But what if you don't ask that at the interview but instead only start the protracted negotiations after the event and before you commit (verbally, any paper confirmation is months away)? Similarly there are a whole raft of HR policies that should be checked over pay/appraisal/working day/extra 'volunteering'....etc. And given that most HR in schools is bleeding useless then a lot of stalling is possible.

    "Miss @janesart , If you were offered the job then would you accept it?"
    "Oh are you prepared to offer it now? I thought you'd want to discuss the other candidates first? I do like the school but there's a lot of questions I need to ask about before I can answer that and it seems pointless to go over them all now"

    All this advice is very cynical but it's about time that the MATs who extol there strong business practises realised that they need to extend this into recruitment rather than relying on the old systems where pay and conditions were guaranteed before the interview took place.
    Piranha and Rott Weiler like this.
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    If you haven't seen pay and conditions, it would be quite reasonable to say that you are still interested "subject to agreeable pay and conditions" - which would, as JJC says, perhaps give you a stall until after the second interview. However, if it turns out they're offering STPCD or equivalent, you wouldn't have much in the way of grounds to turn it down. That tactic might work better for someone more experienced where there might be more of an issue of where on the scale they will be paid (however they would also need to be sure that the second school would confirm salary etc on the day, as delaying any further on a decision would be really difficult).

    The other thing you could possibly consider is accepting the second school's invitation to interview with a rider: "I should perhaps warn you that I have another interview on <date>; although I would very much prefer your school*, I would be foolish to turn down a post if offered then." In the (perhaps unlikely) case that you are very much their preferred candidate, they might find a way to interview you early.
    *mention the ethos reasons and not the location ones here
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  9. AnotherDayTowardsRetirement

    AnotherDayTowardsRetirement Occasional commenter

    Stop worrying about what schools may think of you and any (perceived) reputational damage. This is your life and your career and you must put yourself first. Just accept the1st job offered to you, and if you get another job offer soon afterwards that you fancy more just accept that job too and apologise to the 1st job for changing your mind. Don’t tell them why you’ve changed your mind, just don’t sign the contract !! This is your life and your career. Schools will not chase you for breach of contract. It is about time teachers stopped worrying about schools might think about you and start standing up for yourself. If more teachers toughened up there would soon be a shift in the balance of power between employers and teachers.
    Pomza likes this.
  10. janesart

    janesart New commenter

    Thank you everyone for all your replies! It's such a difficult situation so thanks for all your help!
  11. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    I once had a school change the date for an interview when I said I already had an interview on their original day. (I was a cheap NQT back then...). I would have preferred the second job, but a firm job offer was better for me than risking further unemployment.

    So it might be worth contacting your preferred school...

    I know one person who accepted a job then changed her mind because of a second job interview. To be fair to her they put her under pressure to accept a job that was at least 2 grades below the post she applied for and understood to be the interviewed post. She had a few seconds to decide at the end of the interview. With union help the school agreed to settle for her paying the costs of readvertising the Post. They had threatened to sue for a terms wages...

    On another occasion, the winning applicant was called in. He saw the rest of us a few minutes later and wished us luck. He had asked the school if they would wait until his interview the following week. They refused. The senior staff could not believe someone would turn down a job offer at their school...

    So, you have to choose. No harm in asking preferred school to bring interview forward, or first school if they would wait, assuming you get offered that first job..

    But if jobs are rare, I would strongly advise you to accept (unless having seen the school you think you would be absolutely miserable)

    Good luck
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
    agathamorse and JohnJCazorla like this.
  12. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    I’ve only just caught up with this thread. It would be great to know what happened @janesart?
    sabrinakat likes this.

Share This Page