Can You Change Your Mind After Turning Down an Offer?

If this manager was searching for a candidate, and a favorite reappeared on the scene, she'd snatch him up.

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Suzanne Lucas
I received an excellent job offer from another company about 2 months ago. I really liked the position and they were very eager to bring me on board.
I turned down the offer because I wanted more money (a part was greed, a part was overconfidence, a part was fear of leaving my job ... yada yada yada) and the company was going through some issues. It is publicly traded and the company as a whole is hurting, but the division making me the offer was standing strong.
I took a new position in my current company, and realize that I made a terrible mistake in not taking the other offer.
I know that the other company has not filled the slot; one of the contacts there keeps in touch with me.

Question: I want to reach out to the hiring manager and let him know that I remain interested in the position and would like to rekindle discussions. Good or bad idea?

Let's look at the facts:

Current status: Working at old company.

Best possible outcome of rekindling discussion: New job

Worst possible outcome of rekindling discussion: Working at old company.

See what we've done here? Shown that you are currently living the worst possible outcome. Why would you want to do that? The "you" in the previous sentence is really a general "you" because so many people do this. What if I ask this person out on a date and she says no? Then you won't be on a date, which you aren't now! What if I ask my boss for a raise and she says no? Then you'll be making the same salary you are now!

[See one thing job seekers should relax about.]

Now, granted, you don't want to just call the hiring manager up and say, "Yo, I'm ready to take that job!" You cannot go in assuming that they will take you. They may be thrilled or they may not be. Some managers take it personally when people reject their job offers or resign. They should not, of course, but they do.

Contact the hiring manager (either via phone or E-mail, depending on how your communications up to this point have been) and say you've heard from your company contact that the position is still open, that you are still interested, and ask if you can set up a time to meet.

Now, I'm sure someone is going to say, "But the worst possible outcome is different! The worst possible outcome is shunning from the industry." Yeah, I suppose it could happen and people could talk about how lame you are to make a mistake in your career. But, in reality, most people have made career decisions they regret. Most people understand that hindsight is 20/20.

[See why you have to take control of your career.]

Be prepared to explain clearly and succinctly why you made the choice you did. You need to explain what has changed and how you've arrived at this new conclusion. Be prepared to accept "no" as an answer, but be prepared to accept "yes" as well.

If I was still searching for a candidate, and one I loved reappeared on the scene, you bet I'd snatch him up. This hiring manager may just feel the same way.

Suzanne Lucas has nine years of human resources experience, most of which have been in a Fortune 500-company setting. She holds a Professional in Human Resources Certificate from the Society for Human Resource Management. She blogs at Evil HR Lady.