Monday, September 24, 2007

Being Blacklisted in an Industry

I was just reading an interesting post from Nick Corcodilos in his "Ask the Headhunter" series on He is asked from an individual if it is possible to be blacklisted from an industry for turning down an offer after you have accepted it. This is something that obviously crops up quite a bit in our industry. And, unfortunately, I have had to deal with it from time to time myself. It is always a tough situation for everyone involved. And, when you add the open source component to it, it even brings out more potential repercussions for the person's career. I focused on this aspect in my one article entitled, "Tip Toe Through the Open Source Tulips".

As he states, and rightfully so, it is not the end of the world if you do find yourself in this predicament. The key is how you handle the situation. I can not stress how important it is to be honest throughout the process, and you must handle it with the utmost professionalism. The worst thing that one can potentially do for their career is let it careen out of control. Therefore, you must tackle it head on. Apologize profusely as soon as possible for putting the company in this predicament. And, as Nick points out, if you happen to have a friend or former colleague that might be a possibility to fill the vacancy, that assists your situation tremendously.

I encountered this scenario earlier this year. A candidate had accepted a position, and then after doing so, was offered another position a few days later. He decided the subsequent offer was a better fit for him, primarily due to the commute. As is to be expected, the company did not look fondly on this particular individual shortly thereafter. However, after I explained the potential repercussions that would be felt by this candidate moving forward, he quickly offered up a former colleague that he thought might be a fit for the role. Sure enough, it worked out, and this former colleague now works at this company. So, I must give him credit for tackling it head on and making the best of the situation. Luckily in this case, there are no ill feelings on either side as a result of his actions. And, it has progressed quite nicely into a fruitful symbiotic relationship.

All in all, many of you might find yourselves in this situation at one point or another in your career. It is always wise to do your best to protect your reputation as much as possible. That can not be stressed enough especially in the open source world. As I have mentioned before, you are essentially in a continual state of polishing your brand, that being yourself. It is very important that others in the community continue to look fondly at the brand you have created to benefit your career to the greatest potential moving forward.

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