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Shopping – Not Always a Good Idea

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About a year ago, I wrote an entry for this blog on holiday tips for the job seeker. One thing I mentioned was using the post-holiday sales for wardrobe development, both for teaching and for interviewing. This topic, however, has nothing to do with retail shopping. Instead, I refer to what I call “job shopping.”

The fall Education Interview Day at our institution was a couple of weeks ago. I overheard an administrator exclaim to an interviewing “candidate,” “I hired you last week!” The candidate shared that she, indeed, had been hired by the administrator’s district, but had been advised to take her pre-scheduled interviews “for practice” rather than cancel them at the last minute. Fortunately, that advice did not come from the career services office. Whoever advised this candidate is dead wrong.

Several years ago, the “shopping after hiring” topic came to my attention through a group of administrators and career services professionals in my area. Some colleagues in another metropolitan area were having a rash of hirees requesting release from contracts or signing contracts with other districts because they had a “better offer.”

Such action by a person already contracted is ethically and legally improper and could be grounds for revocation of a license. The Ethics Statement of the American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) is very clear on this matter:

“Candidate obligations include:…Accepting an offer of employment in good faith, signing only one contract, and, upon signing, cease interviewing and other job search activities.”

As a career services professional and member of AAEE , I have always advised candidates this way, and I even go one step further. A letter of intent is, in fact, a contract. I find that districts vary considerably on the importance placed on the letter of intent, but my interpretation is that the “intent” is “intent to sign a contract.”

Be an ethical job seeker. Stop your “shopping” once you have signed.

--Kent McAnally, Director
Washburn University Career Services, on behalf of AAEE

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