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Old 17.06.2011, 10:36
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Job acceptance / refusal 'etiquette'?

Hi,

Can anyone give me some advice on the etiquette around job offers and accepting / refusing them in Switzerland?

I'm coming from a teaching background in the UK, which has a rather complicated set of unwritten rules surrounding the acceptance (or refusal) of a job offer. Breaking these rules can get you a bad name and, after a certain point during the process, you are obligated to accept the job if it is offered to you, even though you haven't signed anything.

Now my psychiatrist is encouraging me to make 'speculative' applications for (non-teaching) jobs. She says I mustn't concern myself over much over 'Can I do this job?' or 'Do I want this job?', the point of the exercise is to overcome the fear of applying for jobs after 18 months off sick, and my anxieties over applying for non-teaching roles.

By the same principle, if I should happen to be invited for interview, I am supposed to go.

However, what I am concerned about is what I do if (by some miracle) one of these speculative applications pays off, I get invited to interview and offered the job but, during the interview, realised that I don't want to work for those people / in that environment?

It's not that I want a 'perfect' job, but neither do I want to jepordise my recovery by accepting a job that I will struggle in just because I'm offered it (been there before, done that, got the t-shirt). But as I'm being told I have to just 'go for it' in terms of applying for jobs (and not worrying if I want them), I don't have the possibility of carefully screening my applications!

So what is the etiquette in Switzerland? Can you turn down a job you are offered? Or do you have to withdraw your application at interview?

I'm not getting unemployment benefits because I'm still on a 50% medical certificate and so my social worker has (so far) kept me on revenue d'insertion to protect me from the potential stress of being in the ORP's system... so I don't think I have to worry about the rules about not turning down jobs you are offered.

Thanks!
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Old 17.06.2011, 10:50
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Re: Job acceptance / refusal 'etiquette'?

Just politely decline. You're under no obligation to accept any job you are offered. A friend of mine applied for loads of jobs he had no intention of accepting, just to get application and interview practice. Employers will always compile a list of applicants with 1st preference, 2nd preference etc.
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Old 17.06.2011, 11:10
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Re: Job acceptance / refusal 'etiquette'?

May I point out: what's the benefit of this excercise really? An employer is tricked into believing you have interest in a job he actually is needing a competent candidate for. Considering and making a real job/career change where you have a different role than teacher is perfectly fine. You could learn something from this experience - different field/branch or role. If you are unsure of the career path I'd recommend internships or training. To the question: to turn down a job after an interview is possible.
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Old 17.06.2011, 11:53
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Re: Job acceptance / refusal 'etiquette'?

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May I point out: what's the benefit of this excercise really? An employer is tricked into believing you have interest in a job he actually is needing a competent candidate for.
I think the point of the exercise is that the last few times my psychiatrist has reduced my medical certificate and encouraged me to apply for jobs, I have ended up paralysed by lack of confidence. So she has suggested that to reduce this I focus purely on the application process (as opposed to the end result), to see if I can summon up the courage to apply!

To clarify, I am not intending to apply for jobs and then turn them down, it's just that because I am being encouraged to take risks and apply for jobs without being 100% convinced I can do that job... I wanted to know if there was an escape route should I get to interview and realise I've made a mistake. Of course, hopefully this won't be necessary.

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Considering and making a real job/career change where you have a different role than teacher is perfectly fine. You could learn something from this experience - different field/branch or role. If you are unsure of the career path I'd recommend internships or training.
Thanks for this advice. I am also applying for two different schemes (IPT and AI) which, if I am accepted, will open up the possibility of internships / training. But being a non-Swiss means that my chances of being accepted on these schemes are slimmer... We are taking the approach of having many irons in the fire at once and seeing which heats up first!
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Old 17.06.2011, 12:11
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Re: Job acceptance / refusal 'etiquette'?

Have the interview. If you decide you really don't want the job, contact them very soon afterward and withdraw your application. An interview is supposed to be a two-way process - them checking you out, and you checking them out.

People pull out, it's expected and understood by anyone with level of sentience above that of a concussed bee.

I thought in the UK the deal was that if you were offered the job and turned it down, you didn't get your interview expenses paid. But that was a long time ago.
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Old 17.06.2011, 16:45
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Re: Job acceptance / refusal 'etiquette'?

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I thought in the UK the deal was that if you were offered the job and turned it down, you didn't get your interview expenses paid. But that was a long time ago.
When I was finishing my teacher training we were told you had to pull out during the interview day if you didn't want the job... then you would most likely be asked at the end of the interview "If we were to offer you this job, would you be in a position to accept?" It was frowned upon to say "No." at this point - you should have told them sooner. Then, having given a positive response if you were offered the job you were expected to accept... or you ran the risk of being blacklisted.

Have to say neither of my teaching job interviews went through that rigmarole... but that was what they told us at university! Hence my concern.
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Old 17.06.2011, 17:35
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Re: Job acceptance / refusal 'etiquette'?

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When I was finishing my teacher training we were told you had to pull out during the interview day if you didn't want the job... then you would most likely be asked at the end of the interview "If we were to offer you this job, would you be in a position to accept?" It was frowned upon to say "No." at this point - you should have told them sooner. Then, having given a positive response if you were offered the job you were expected to accept... or you ran the risk of being blacklisted.

Have to say neither of my teaching job interviews went through that rigmarole... but that was what they told us at university! Hence my concern.
In Switzerland the talk on salary usually comes at the end, so you just have to want more than they will pay!
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Old 17.06.2011, 18:10
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Re: Job acceptance / refusal 'etiquette'?

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In Switzerland the talk on salary usually comes at the end, so you just have to want more than they will pay!
The danger of that is.. if they wanted you badly, they might just pay it! I tried it once and it backfired..
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Old 17.06.2011, 18:30
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Re: Job acceptance / refusal 'etiquette'?

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The danger of that is.. if they wanted you badly, they might just pay it! I tried it once and it backfired..
Sounds like it was worth taking & looking for a better job with even better pay!
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Old 18.06.2011, 17:45
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Re: Job acceptance / refusal 'etiquette'?

V, looks like your psych wants you to merely overcome the anxiety of trying the job market again and weaning off the system that has supported you here for a while. It seems to me that no matter what job, eventhough you justify the fact you refuse it with whatever reasons, your psych still sees the benefit of you making your own experiences, having team of people to work with, mingle and have some company, with a pay at the end, too. But that's just my take on this.

In the situation, when refusing a job offered to somebody would be seen by many people as a luxury, I wouldn't refuse for too long, so the system that is supporting you does not lose its patience.

Just do it. Then take a look and figure out if it was a good move or not. Do not project and paralyse yourself before you even make that step. Good luck, for sure. Let me know if we can help in any way, you know I am in the area.
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Old 18.06.2011, 18:51
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Re: Job acceptance / refusal 'etiquette'?

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In the situation, when refusing a job offered to somebody would be seen by many people as a luxury, I wouldn't refuse for too long, so the system that is supporting you does not lose its patience.
Support the System that Supports You - lifted from the Aussie Social Security slogan.
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Old 18.06.2011, 21:17
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Re: Job acceptance / refusal 'etiquette'?

The job market is exactly that - a market. You go there and haggle. Employers will over-promise on the positions they offer and you will (slightly) polish your CV... you meet and try to find a match. I have had interviews where I found out that the job that sounded good on paper was in fact crap. I have no problem at all to tell an employer that I am not interested anymore after an interview.

Besides:

A company will usually interview some 4-5 candidates in the first round for a position. In other words: 75-80% are turned down after an interview. I have applied for jobs just as you are supposed to: For the training. It's the most normal thing. You sometimes get an interview and that's great training. If your profile doesn't fit but you are still invited, this usually means one thing: They already know who they want to hire, but for formal corporate bs reasons do they need to interview at least x candidates. They then invite the most unlikely applicants because you can then easily argue why your candidate was best... So: Don't worry that you are behaving unethically - trust me, they do as well and really don't worry about wasting your time either.

I for example was forced to apply for jobs by the RAV once while I was unemployed for one month. I already found a new job starting the next month, but the RAV insisted that I made ten applications per month while being fully aware that there is absolutely not way I would find another job within three weeks that would start earlier than next month... so you are not the only one who applies without the intention to get a job.
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Old 18.06.2011, 23:40
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So, I remember reading in a Swiss newspaper about the IV (InvalidenVersicherung, insurance against inability to work due to illness) paying for the bad mental health condition due to fear of loosing a job. I wondered at that time what else country is so supportive...
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Old 19.06.2011, 07:56
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Re: Job acceptance / refusal 'etiquette'?

The IV (AI in Suisse Romande where I am) does sound very good... but as a foreigner I can only apply for the professional reintegration, not the living allowance (which is fine as I want to go back to work). The information on how it works is rather hard to follow...

According to my psychiatrist, they are cutting back on who they give it to. She says she's known people with schizophrenia be turned down. Not sure which branch she's referring to though.

But yes, it's much better than other systems. Like occupational health in the UK, for example...
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Old 21.06.2011, 21:30
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Re: Job acceptance / refusal 'etiquette'?

I've had a couple of interviews here now and each time they've asked me if I decide over the next couple of days that I'm no longer interested in the job/it wasn't what I envisaged to please let them know. So, just respond politely and give them a sensible reason (so if you ever apply there again they won't immediately throw your application out!)
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