If you are job hunting and care about your reputation, read this.

We’re looking for an accounts executive who doesn’t mind doing a bit of administrative support work. The position is advertised on WOBB, a popular job portal in Malaysia.

Last week we offered the job to an applicant and he accepted. The package meant a 25% increase over his previous salary and working with us meant he didn’t have to commute from KL to Kuantan every day. He seemed happy.

Then at 0625 on the morning of his first day, we received a text from him. Here’s his verbatim message:

Full marks for creativity, zero for integrity

Well my friend, we thank you for your apology and we’re sorry such a tragic event happened just when you were supposed to start a job that you feel is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I appreciate you may be telling the truth although my gut feeling is that you are not. We’ve heard similar, though less dramatic stories before. Just today, we had another no show. She finally answered our messages 5 hours after the appointed time to say she had car trouble yesterday and forgot to inform us she wouldn’t be coming.

We get 100s of applications for nearly all the jobs we advertise. And we go through every one of them. Based on a number of criteria, we shortlist the ones that we want to know more about.

As you can imagine this is a time consuming process and for a small business, time is a premium. We communicate with candidates via text or email and if we’re happy, invite them for an interview and set aside an hour to get to know them.

Of course emergencies happen, cars break down and candidates receive other offers. In such a situation, all any business expects is to be notified. It’s called common courtesy or professionalism.

Now the more forgiving of my colleagues consider you have a special talent to be able to come up with such a creative excuse.

But to me you are unprofessional, immature, disorganized and ignorant. You lack confidence, courage and charisma. I don’t know why you left it so late, perhaps you fear failure or are simply indecisive.

By preferring to create an elaborate tale or distorting the truth rather than informing us of your change of situation, you’ve shown us what sort of person you really are.

I feel sorry for you because you have missed a fabulous opportunity to grow as an individual, to contribute to the growth of your country, feed your family and mature as an individual.

I will be eternally grateful to you because you’ve done Fusionbrand a massive favour by not joining us. You were definitely not a good fit. You’ve also opened the door for someone else to take this opportunity to grow as an individual and contribute to our growth.

To those people reading this who are applying for jobs with any company, be professional, confident and courageous. If you change your plans or decide to decline an offer, simply tell the company that has invited you in for an interview that you have accepted another offer.

It really is that simple. Don’t ignore it and hope it’ll go away. Don’t ignore phone calls and shy away from such ‘confrontation’. You’ll respect yourself for doing so and your reputation will be intact.

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