Recently I provided a sympathetic ear to a clearly frustrated line manager. Over the course of four weeks, this line manager had been negotiating with an individual who, whilst appearing highly suitable for a particular vacancy, found it difficult to attend the arranged interviews. After various postponements, a meeting finally did take place and, lo and behold, an offer and acceptance was achieved. All good, the frustrations were worth it...or so we all thought. The successful applicant then advised us that, tragically, his mother passed away on the day he was due to commence his new job.
This, quite naturally, required a delay in his start date. Then we were advised that his father had died on the newly arranged start date. We were stunned – just how unlucky can you be? Suffice to say, that in fact, no deaths had occurred at all. The applicant just didn't want the job!! Unfortunately, this is by no means an isolated incident. Why do some people find it easier to 'kill off' close family members rather than say, 'No thank you. I have had a change of mind and that role is no longer of interest'? I remember an incident where we were assisting a working holiday maker from Europe who had five grandmothers, who all died.
Yes, your recruitment consultant may be frustrated to hear that you are not interested in the job, but believe me, that is actually okay, handling rejection is just part of our day, and we will survive; it is part of our job. Likewise, your prospective new employer will be disappointed to have failed to secure your services, but they will also be much happier to have found out about your concerns prior to having you join their organisation, rather than after you have been working for a few months into the job.
In short, this is your career, and all concerned understand that you are fully entitled to make your own decisions about which interviews you attend and which job offers you accept. We can all work together more productively if you are clear and forthright about your goals and concerns. It's okay to say no.