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Conversation With A Startup CEO… How To React To A Candidate Declining An Offer

A really good guy I have known for many years, “Startup CEO”, was wondering if he was over reacting to the following scenario:

Startup CEO was introduced to an entry level “Developer” going through a career change by a peer at a local consulting group.

CEO and his team had a couple of in depth interviews with Developer. They wanted to make sure Developer was going to be able pick up writing code at a decent pace. And they were more than willing to train him along the way.

This was a win-win for both parties.

CEO calls up Developer and gives him an offer. They cover salary, benefits and “woo” him a little.

Developer tells CEO he has another offer. CEO says he understands and needs to have a decision in a couple of days.

Developer sends a short email to CEO saying he has taken the other offer.

CEO asked me if I thought instead of an email a phone call from Developer would be more appropriate.

On a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being rude, I thought the email was a 6 and CEO thought it was a 9.

Is this a generation thing… yeah maybe.

After thinking about it I came up with this answer… at a minimum reply with the tool that was used for the offer. If you get it via email then an email back may be good enough.

If someone takes the time on the phone (or in person) to walk you through everything then a phone call is the best way.

I get most of us have the “Minnesota Nice”, passive aggressive trait.

Saying no to someone is awkward but as I have said many times we live in a really large, small town and we will see each other again down the road.

My advice to Developer and those reading this is to call CEO back.

You would hope they would do the same if they were to reject you.


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