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What Would You Do: Would You Go For The Offer?

From Career Tips, 2019 Volume 10, October 2019

First, here's the case study

Charles was a recent FSA (Fellow of the Society of Actuaries) seeking a new leadership role. A recruiter who had placed several actuaries at Industrial Life reached out to him about a position in their actuarial department, telling him she thought he would be a very good fit to their culture and operation. Although it wasn’t exactly the role he was seeking, it had enough positive attributes to be worth exploring.

Charles arrived for the interview, and was having a good discussion with Frank, the department head and hiring manager, when he realized that the specific job really wasn’t what he wanted. He was tempted to reveal this to Frank, but he had heard that in any interview you should always go for the offer. After all, there’s nothing to turn down until you actually receive an offer, and you can always negotiate once the company has decided they want you.

If you were Charles, would you tell Frank you’re not interested in the job? Why or why not?

What would you do?

Next, here are YOUR responses

Charles should disclose during the interview that the job description has turned out not to be what he is looking for. I believe Frank will appreciate the candor, and ideally ask Charles what job would better suit him. If there is such a job available, Charles will have positioned himself very well to be considered for it. If not, Frank would likely remember Charles favorably for not wasting his time, and bring Charles back in to interview when the appropriate job opens. Charles wouldn't be turning down an offer, and may position himself for the job he really wants, while Frank would appreciate the time savings, as hiring people is very time consuming, when time often translates to the bottom line.


I would not tell the interviewer that the job is not a good fit. Both parties took time out of their day to schedule the meeting. Charles had incurred costs getting to the interview site which would have included transportation. It's better to receive an oral offer first which you can then decline afterwards.


The “go-for-the-offer” approach might work to Charles' disadvantage in a future search. If he doesn’t want the job and doesn’t intend to “settle” for it if offered, then he or she should say so, thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration, and move on. I don’t see a downside to doing this.

Finally, here's what really happened

Charles decided to tell Frank that the job being described wasn’t really what he wanted. Frank asked what Charles was looking for, and they proceeded to have a good discussion about opportunities at Industrial Life. In fact, the position under consideration was a good stepping stone to the type of position Charles wanted, as the most recent actuary in that role had recently been promoted to a similar role.

Frank continued with the interview schedule, and before the end of the day sat down with his boss, who was equally impressed with Charles, and they raised the compensation level for the role to the maximum they thought they could afford, and extended Charles an offer.

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