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Do I have to accept an offer if made?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by nbp101, May 20, 2019.

  1. nbp101

    nbp101 New commenter

    Hi All

    This may sound like a very obvious question to ask, but if, having been put through to the final stages of an interview and been asked if I am still a serious candidate, can I then withdraw my application after this point?

    Can I request time to consider the offer or must I accept before leaving?

    I ask as 2 positions will cross over in their timings and it's sods law that the job I really want will likely only be shortlisted as I am sat in the afternoon session of the interview ((assuming I get this far).

    I am aware that ethically this is not accepted, but legally, am I comitted?

    Thank you
  2. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    Could you say something like "I really like your school, but may I consider the offer for 24 hours as I need to talk any changes over with my family in detail."?
    I don't know whether you really need to accept it at once. I think it would be fair if you were given 24 hours, but not much more than this.
    Good luck.
    JohnJCazorla and nbp101 like this.
  3. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    You can ask for 24 hours to consider it, but they don't have to allow it.
    They can demand a decision straight away, so they can then let down the other candidates.
    phlogiston, bonxie and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    As others have said, you can ask, but as it's so close to resignation dates, schools will be keen to appoint straight away and know they have a teacher for the class in September. Much depends on how keen they are. If they really feel you're by far the better candidate they may be prepared to give you a little time to 'consult with family', but also they'll be worried about losing their second choice too who could also have another interview and be unavailable.

    This is what makes teaching interviews somewhat different- with certain resignation dates and worry about needing a teacher to stand in front of the class on that all important first day of term. Other jobs have some leeway as to starting dates and and of course there is a definite 'recruiting time of year' as opposed to being spread out across the year.
    Sundaytrekker likes this.
  5. wilmamendonca

    wilmamendonca New commenter

    Can one withdraw after accepting the offer (written intent letter) but not yet signed the contract? With multiple offers possible, the one job offer that you really want may come after the intent letter for another job is signed.
  6. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    No you can’t. Your training provider shouldn’t even provide s reference really as you aren’t available to accept a job once you’ve accepted another.

    Then you’ve got the moral issue.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  7. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Likewise, you shouldn’t even apply or attend an interview once you’ve accepted another job as you can’t contractually take up the job being offered.... its wrong to put the new school in that position
  8. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Ah, now this all used to be the case for sure. However, there are some caveats.

    With no pay portability, job offers are subject to agreed terms and conditions. A mere offer of a job is insufficient - it must offer the pay point and agreed terms.

    In addition, we had a trainee arrange an appointment with a headteacher and then ask him to release him from the agreed future job as he wanted to take up an offer elsewhere. The headteacher indeed released him.

    A number of schools have started to delay the offer for some time. And so candidates are now also delaying their acceptance. These cases are at ends of the spectrum. A school hiring a drama or PE teacher might take their time. A lone physics or mathematics teacher might say, I need to weigh up my finances and require X amount of time to make a decision as to whether what you have offered is sufficient.

    Otherwise, yes, you should not mess them about.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    What is this ‘multiple offers’ of which you speak?

    You go to an interview. It will be a field of people who have not yet been given jobs by other schools. They will ask you if you want the job. If you say ‘can I think about it?’ they will probably say ‘No, because we are terrified that if you refuse, someone will offer our second choice candidate a job and we’ll end up with the third who clearly couldn’t feed ducks, let alone teach.’

    Equally, once you have accepted a job, you cannot ‘reconsider’ even if you meet an ex-teacher from said place who tells you ‘for the love of God, don’t go there!’

    This is not a profession where you end up with two or three choices and then find the one most suitable for you. Think of it as people jumping out of an aircraft and grabbing at parachutes.
  10. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    At this time of year, it's particularly difficult for schools to say that they'll give you longer to think about it, as their second choice may well have another interview coming as well. (In fact, it may be that the two posts you have applied for will have substantial overlap in shortlists.) Things can move swiftly at this time of year - I know of one school that ended up interviewing a B list as their first shortlist all got jobs before the interviews.

    It might be acceptable to put a caveat in at the "are you a serious candidate" stage - it one interview I attended, we did this as a united front, on the grounds that we had barely seen any pupils. That was the one where they told us after the interviews that as one candidate had been prevented from attending by illness, they'd like to wait until they'd had a chance to interview her. At that point, one candidate said that he had an interview at a neighbouring school the next day, so might no longer be a candidate - it works both ways!

    But at the end of the interview day, if you say "can I have longer to decide?", they might say no. And if you say yes, then you have accepted, and it definitely be ethically wrong to pull out. I have a vague memory of a case where someone pulled out from school A for a post at school B, school A told school B, and they rescinded their offer.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    At the very least, the head you have ****** off will contact your new school and let them know how badly you have dumped them in it. This is not a good start to your career with them. They will probably be so desperate at this stage of the year they will take you anyway, but your card will be marked.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  12. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    I had an ex colleague who went for an interview and accepted the job. She then discovered they were paying her nearly 10 grand less, as she didn't think of salary negotiation. She'd already resigned from what was our school and the HT accepted it. I will add she went for the interview in June and had to request early release. When she found out about the salary, she wanted to go another interview through an agency. The HT told her to forget it as she'd already accepted a job. She was not happy, but at least she'd preserved her reputation and moved on from the School she went to after a couple of terms with a clear conscience.

    My point? Do not commit to a post unless you are sure - but equally, do not hedge bets.
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  13. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    You don’t have to accept an offer right away because if you do and you change your mind, you’ve entered into a legally binding contract with that school. Thank them for the offer and tell them that you will be in contact within the next 24-48 hours to let them know if you accept- I would never leave it longer than that as the school could easily retract the offer.
    Piranha likes this.
  14. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Answering "yes" to this question does not commit you to anything, though I am not sure about "if we offer you the job, will you accept it?". I think the answer "as long as the terms are satisfactory" will be a good one. Probably, by the end of the interview, you will know if you want the job, and you should already have decided what salary you will accept, so it can be agreed quickly. If not, then asking for a day or so to think it over is reasonable, as suggested above, although the school does not have to allow this. I think they should.

    If and when you do accept, you need things in writing, including the salary. As a start, and email from you confirming your acceptance and the agreed salary is a good idea, but I would want to get confirmation from them before resigning. We have seen too many threads in which somebody has accepted a job either without agreeing terms or without evidence of the agreed terms.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    If you say yes to a job, its always be on the understanding that the contract terms are acceptable. If a school sends through T&Cs which are not (maybe hours, pay or holidays) then that’s grounds for refusing to accept. It’s rare, because schools all work on largely the same rules and respect pay scales. But a verbal offer is only binding on either party as long as the final written details of the offer can be agreed upon. They do references, we read the small print.

    if I found another job elsewhere, I would be quite upfront about it. I’m pretty sure most schools would understand my decision.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.

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