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It was just in sight, that fresh new desk in that world-class financial institution or exciting tech start-up on the front line of the latest and coolest technology. The contract still smelt like a fresh offering from the inkjet. And then you lost it. How did you lose a job offer? Losing your child at the supermarket is normal, losing a job offer… now that takes some very special character traits, right? Actually, it might be easier than you think. These are the top ways to lose a job offer…

Each of the seven deadly sins are so deeply entwined that the differences often blur. Rather than fixating on the finer details, we seek ways to halt these tendencies we have and use them as fuel to drive our careers in a more productive manner.

Greed: You Want Too Much

With that offer printed out and the details of the benefits laid bare you realise that your new employer is super excited to have you on board and seemed happy enough to give you what you asked for… so you decide to push it a little. You ask what about the other benefits? You’ve already agreed on these points but you decide you want more. This behaviour will damage your relationship with your new employer and certainly make them think twice about having you on their team. If you want more you have to work for it. Prove yourself to your new employer and make sure your requests are in line with the value you are able to offer the business. If that’s not an option, it might be time to check your entitlement.

Gluttony: Don’t Ask for Things You Don’t Actually Need

Similar to greed, gluttony is greed taken to the extreme. Imagine your potential employer gives in to your every request but you also have another offer so you start a bidding war between the companies. One word, unethical. You are at the point where you are unashamedly asking for more than you are worth to the employer and you’re even asking for things you don’t actually need. Sure you have a unique skill set and a brilliant track record but don’t be selfish. Exercise proper judgement and remember that even the best employer will tire of your wasteful requests. You do not need six weeks’ worth of leave, your own office and four-ply toilet paper. If you know where to tow the line your employer will respect you for it.

Sloth: You Sat on the Offer For too Long

So that offer lands in your inbox and you’re pretty keen on the company but then you drag your heels and stall the process by not submitting the required paperwork. Firstly, why would you even do that? Secondly, if you are stalling are you even excited about the job, do you really want it? Of course, taking a job is a big decision to make and you need to make that decision with confidence and commitment but be sure you are asking for a reasonable amount of time to make that decision. Messing a potential employer around gives a bad impression from the very start, think about it, would you hire someone who is apathetic and seems to have no sense of duty? Be honest and open with your potential employer, sure, take your time to go through that offer properly but more than a week to do this might jeopardise the offer.

Pride: Mind the Ego

Again, just because your new employer is excited to have you on board it doesn’t mean you can swing your junk around like John Wayne. If you’ve been told that the company structure is predominantly flat; don’t insist on an over the top title. If you haven’t started the job yet; don’t announce it on social media. If your previous position contributed greatly to your street cred; don’t forget to acknowledge the team that you worked with. If you are that person who fails to recognise your own faults and misgivings, your ego will get the better of you and you will land up with an employer who is pretty disappointed with the lemon they were sold; that’s if they still want you after they’ve recognised this trait in you. The failsafe option: keep your ego in check and don’t make everything about you.

Lust: You Want to Run the Show

Okay, this one may not be quite so obvious. This sort of lust occurs when your ego and your ambition are in overdrive. There is a big difference between ambition and blindly pursuing what you want by any means possible, even if it’s not right for you. When you are so focused on the next, you may miss out on the now and completely miss the point of why you were hired and what your job is. A good manager will recognise that your ambition and growth will ultimately have a positive impact on your entire team, however, they won’t be willing to hire someone who wants the next big thing more than they want the job they have been offered. Earn your stripes first, show them you can do this job and then go after the big fish. The last thing you want is to jettison up the ol’ career ladder only to destroy your career by landing yourself in a position with more responsibility than you can manage. You may just lose this opportunity to someone who is living in the now and more capable of the job at hand.

Envy: That Green-Eyed Monster

More than lust, more than mere ambition, more than greed, envy is a sort of resentful yearning to possess something. You want your bosses job, that corner office and the R1 000 000 salary and you’re prepared to do whatever it takes to get it. Dante’s definition of envy was the desire to deprive other men of theirs. When envy is not kept in check, it drives you to act unethically. If your potential employer gets wind of how desperately you want to climb the ladder or wield power they may just question what lengths you are prepared to go to in order to get it. If they think for a second that you may be prepared to behave unscrupulously to do so or that once put into that position you won’t cope, they will question hiring you. Ensure that your conduct is above board at all times and you will flourish, this includes bad mouthing old employers, colleagues and clients. It’s not a good look, keep your envy in check.

Wrath: Fly into a Rage and You Will Make a Bad Landing

You are so salty over whatever may or may not have occurred at a previous company, with a manager or employer, that you go out of your way to burn bridges. A step beyond bad mouthing, you actively seek vengeance or revenge. Yup, we’ve seen this one before. Any hint of vicious behaviour will definitely affect your potential employer’s view of you. Regardless of how you frame the situation, if people catch wind that you have left any job with bad blood and an excess of anger, you will look bad. Remember there’s always three sides to a story; yours, theirs and the truth and instead of getting to the bottom of it all, most potential employers with forgo the hassle altogether and rescind their offer. After all, where there’s smoke…

The thing about the seven deadly sins of job seeking is this: if you commit any of them, you have lost every modicum of self-control and you really need to reign it in at the risk of losing your job offer. A job offer can be rescinded pretty easily and companies and hiring managers do rescind job offers if something smells funny. We’ve seen many examples of organisations changing their minds based on their interactions with a candidate after an offer is made.