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Ethics of accepting then declining

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by brickinthewall, May 4, 2012.

  1. I have an interview next week at a school quite a distance away. I would take the job if offered as I am on a maternity contract which ends in July.
    However there are also two jobs locally where I hope to get interviews and would prefer either of those jobs over the one I already have an interview for.
    However it would be a high stakes game to turn down the first job if offered as I am unemployed as of 1st September.
    I know it used to be considered unethical to accept then decline a job. However in these days of heads throwing around capabilities, undermining pay and conditions by converting to academies and generally increasingly acting like bullies, has the game changed. If a head seems themself more as a chief executive of a business than a headteacher, then shouldn't prosepctive staff be allowed to be a bit more cut-throat when it comes to the job market?
    A couple of colleagues agree with my view. Would be interested on the perspective of others.
     
  2. I have an interview next week at a school quite a distance away. I would take the job if offered as I am on a maternity contract which ends in July.
    However there are also two jobs locally where I hope to get interviews and would prefer either of those jobs over the one I already have an interview for.
    However it would be a high stakes game to turn down the first job if offered as I am unemployed as of 1st September.
    I know it used to be considered unethical to accept then decline a job. However in these days of heads throwing around capabilities, undermining pay and conditions by converting to academies and generally increasingly acting like bullies, has the game changed. If a head seems themself more as a chief executive of a business than a headteacher, then shouldn't prosepctive staff be allowed to be a bit more cut-throat when it comes to the job market?
    A couple of colleagues agree with my view. Would be interested on the perspective of others.
     
  3. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    It is still unethical. You are imposing, through your generalisations about Heads, upon this Head (whom you have never met) a series of characteristics in order to justify your proposed course of action.
     
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Well done on getting that interview next week!
    Two sets of advice.
    Firstly, for general interview tips, hints and ideas, go to the Welcome thread and open the two Interview clickables in there. Plus, you should read:
    Safeguarding and Child Protection - the questions, NOT the answers.
    and, of course:
    * * * * * Teaching a lesson at interview * * * * *
    Secondly, for advice regarding your ethical dilemma . . .
    If you get offered Job A, and then decide to accept it, you must then withdraw from Jobs B and C.
    You cannot do what you would most wish to do: accept Job A, as an insurance offer like UCAS, and then go to Job B/C, get that, and then turn round and reject Job A after all.
    A school has gone to the expense and effort of advertising and interviewing. It offers job to candidate X. If X decides after a few days to turn it down, then they offer to Y. But alack! alas!, candidate Y in the meantime has accepted another job offer...
    This is what schools fear.
    Most schools will offer the job by phone that evening or the next day, and expect an immediate answer to allow them to rush an offer to Y if X turns it down. Some schools offer on interview day in the flesh, and expect an immediate answer. I know of several schools who put a written offer letter in front of the candidate and get them to sign an acceptance there and then! I have done it myself with an outstanding candidate in a shortage subject.
    The very most that you could hope for would be 24 hours to think it over, I'm afraid. And you should be aware that some schools actually ask you at interview if you would accept the job if it were offered you.
    If you DID break a verbal contract (turn down job A after accepting it . . .) not only will your name be Mud, but also School B would be justified in withdrawing their offer when they heard about it, as you fraudulently led them to believe that you were able to enter into a contract with them (i.e. accept their offer) when in fact you were contracted to School A . . .
    So left with no job at all . . .
    So those are the practicalities of accepting then turning down the job. You might end up with no job at all.
    Now for the ethics.
    It might help you to assess the ethics of the situation if you turn it round.
    Suppose that you went to an interview, were offered the job, accepted it. Then a week later, the school contacted you to say: "We have just interviewed someone else for the post, and we like him better than you. So we are withdrawing our offer to you, and offering the job to him instead. Sorry!"
    What would your view be of the ethics of the situation then?
    This is not the answer that you hoped for, I know! You have to decide:
    a) how desperate you are to actually have a job in September :)
    b) how likely you are to get Job B or Job C
    Over to you!
    Best wishes
    _______________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    For the full TES Weekend Workshop programme please visit www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars or contact advice@tes.co.uk for one-to-one sessions.
    I shall be contributing to the Moving into SLT seminar on 5th May.
     
  5. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I bet they do. All heads are nasty, manipulative, evil ********, eh?
    Nice generalisation there. As Theo says, if a school were to offer you the job, then a week later withdraw the offer as they'd found someone they liked better and justified it by saying 'In these days of people accepting jobs and then pulling out when they fancy a different one, generally acting completely unprofessionally, the game has changed...' you'd be angry, wouldn't you?
    You go right on generalising there - I think you'll find that (a) most heads do not see themselves as the 'chief executive of a business' but as a headteacher,using scarce resources to try to appoint staff to teach children. Behaviour like yours is simply more likely to lead to increasing use of fixed-term contracts, as heads become more wary of 'chancers' like you.
    I'm actually offended by your attitude.

     
  6. Thanks all.
    Yes I was just seeing if the game had changed in recent years due to changes in the way schools are run.
    Middlemarch - no need to be offended by me questioning this. Perhaps you could save your ire for Headteachers (even if they be relatively small in number) who have acted in such a way to lead people to even question the ethics of this situation. You can read about them on the `workplace dilemmas' thread.
     
  7. Having worked in the "cut-throat" world of industry misleading a potential employer would be career suicide. How can you expect to be treated well by an employer if you can't be honest with them? Yes, it's very frustrating to have to be certain that you will accept a teaching job on the day (or withdraw from the process) but until things change we all have to play by these rules.
     
  8. Given that most job offers are provisional until references and CRBs are processed, this is not - to me -quite such cut-and-dried territory as Theo and Middlemarch suggest.

    And it would be completely honest to state on an application form what your notice period is with the newly-appointed school.

    But potential career suicide to try it!
     
  9. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Depends whether you are speaking from wide experience of appointing large numbers of staff in a range of institutions!
    Best wishes
    _______________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    For the full TES Weekend Workshop programme please visit www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars or contact advice@tes.co.uk for one-to-one sessions.
    I shall be contributing to the Moving into SLT or Headship seminar on Saturday 19 May.
     
  10. I guess this might boil down to at what point are we entering into a contract. Is it when we say `yes' to a phone call from the headteacher or is it when we actually sign a contract? As Poor Tom points out, that initial verbal offer can be withdrawn by the school if they do not like your reference. Why can the individual not change their mind if they subsequently find out something about the school that they do not like?

     
  11. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    In all the non-teaching jobs I've had the contract is entered once you've have signed on the dotted line. Since this normally happens some days after the interview you had time to weigh up all the pros and cons of the job and make a fully reasoned decision.
    In teaching you either make the commitment during the interview when asked "If offered would you except?" or soon after the interview when a verbal offer is made and your reply expected? As other posters have stated this doesn't give you much time to consider your options.
    I've often wondered why this is the case in teaching posts. Is it traditional or is there a particular reason I've failed to see?
    But whatever the reason thats the way its done and once you've accepted the offer you are duty bound to honour it even if you do get a better offer later on.
     
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    However . . .
    It is not unknown (ask around!) for the contract not to be supplied until the legal limit, which is 8 weeks . . . after you have started work!
    Bit late then to decide that you are not going to accept the job after all.
    When you accept on the phone, both sides have entered into a verbal contract which is binding in law. You wouldn't expect them to turn round a few weeks later and say that they had changed their mind (unless there is a legal reason for this - you did not comply with the conditions attached to the offer, for example), and neither would they expect you to withdraw.
    Part of the problem in teaching is that there are only 3 resignation dates and 3 starting dates, in general, so there is a lot less flexibility for getting an alternative candidate if somebody goes back on a contractual agreement.
    Best wishes
    _______________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    For the full TES Weekend Workshop programme please visit www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars or contact advice@tes.co.uk for one-to-one sessions.
    I shall be contributing to the Moving into SLT or Headship seminar on Saturday 19 May.
     
  13. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    Thank You for answering my question Theo, 3 resignation and starting dates are unique to Teaching so it makes perfect sense now.
    I wish that I had asked the question sooner now.

     
  14. squashbabe49

    squashbabe49 New commenter

    Hi
    I am in a similar situation to you! I have an interview for a job about 40 minutes away and since accepting that interview, I now have another interview at a school which is more local. However typically that is after the other interview. Like you I don't know whether if offered I should accept the more distant job or turn it down and risk being unemployed in September or should I wait for something more local???

    Help!

     
  15. I was in the lucky position recently of being offered a job on the Wednesday, after the interview on Tuesday, and they agreed to hold the offer open until after another interview on the Thursday. I accepted the first offer on Thursday afternoon*. But that would only work if the dates were that close...
    You don't have to agonise yet, anyway, until you're offered the more distant job. But attending the second interview after accepting the first job might be embarrassing. Mrs Poor Tom once met a teacher from the school she had accepted a post in at an interview for a local school...[​IMG]

    You do have to look after yourself....

    *Relieved to have been turned down by the second school.
     
  16. scienceteacha

    scienceteacha New commenter

    I'm sorry, but people who whinge about the 'dilemma' of having 2 job offers irritate the pants off me! Many of us would give our eye teeth for ONE job!
     
  17. If there was a personal/family issue which now prevented you from relocating for a job you initially accepted verbally, would you be ok to decline? This is the situation I find myself in now :(
     
  18. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Yes, normally the school would understand.
    But to be blunt, they would CURSE you, since it is now after 31 May, so it had better be good and evidenced.
    Best wishes
    ________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    For the full TES Weekend Workshop programme please visit www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars or contact advice@tes.co.uk for one-to-one sessions.
     
  19. Thanks Theo, it really is the only option I have.

    Would the school be within their rights to know exactly what has happened? Obviously being a personal/family issue it isn't something I particularly want to speak about.
     

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