In May, Michael Armstrong of Southern Co. called two students he’d recruited from a Southeasten public college to wish them a happy graduation and fix their start dates in the fall. The calls went to voice mail. Then the emails came in.
Each student thanked him for the opportunity, but declined the jobs they accepted months before. Other, better jobs had simply come along, they wrote, leaving Mr. Armstrong, campus recruiting lead for the Atlanta utility, with spots to fill.
One of the strongest graduate hiring seasons in recent memory has had an unpleasant byproduct for campus recruiters, who say their college hires are jilting them at the last minute. The trend has vexed hiring managers, flustered students and left colleges torn between helping graduates get ahead and staying in the good graces of companies that recruit on campus.
“We want to believe that an accepted offer is an agreement,” said Gordon Miller, who retired last month from his role as senior recruiting manager at Procter & Gamble Co., where he has observed a rising number of students reneging on offers. Students who back out after accepting rationalize that they’re “looking out for their best interest,” he said. ( Scott Isenhart, who currently heads P&G recruiting in North America, said he hasn’t noticed an uptick in students backing out of offers.)
Turning down any job offer, much less reneging on one, would have been unthinkable for most college graduates a few years ago, when post-grad employment was harder to come by and many fresh graduates went underemployed or jobless...I don't think I've heard about any reneging on job offers, but I have heard as least one story of a candidate turning down a job offer because they wanted another position. Readers, what's this B.S. chemist job hiring season been like for you?
(I presume that Ph.D. chemist-level hiring sees very, very few offers get reneged on - chemistry is a small field, and people have long memories. I'm a champion grudge-holder*, and I'll get other people are as well.)
*something I'm trying very hard to work on, I note.