After my education in electrical engineering, I worked for more than twenty years at R&D departments in the telecommunications and semiconductor industries. Initially as a development engineer, many years later as a project manager and department manager.
Then, after a reorganization my position in advanced development was cancelled, I made a change to a business line closer to the market. My new job was Innovation Manager. Although the role seemed perfect to me theoretically, in practice it proved to be very hard to me to feel at home in this department. Communication with my boss was difficult and my projects changed frequently.
Despite my long service to the company, I began to look around me. There should be nicer jobs in the high tech. Yet it was impossible for me to get such a job. The talks with potential employers were difficult and I came in second for the funkiest jobs over and over again. Because I felt worse about myself the situation at work became unbearable. After an escalation, I signed a termination agreement and stipulated outplacement.
That was a good decision because after some time I regained my energy and self-confidence and I was ready to apply for a new job. Soon I had two nice offers. The first meant more or less a continuation of my previous career, the second something completely new. I chose the second: a dynamic commercial position in a small company. I was in for it! After a short time it proved to be a big mistake: it is a complete mismatch. Would it make sense for me to contact the company that made me the other offer?
The headhunter answers:
It looks certainly smart to approach the company you initially turned down. The company, after all, had a job and was seriously interested in you. Whether the job is still open is the question, but even if this is not the case, there could be other jobs for which you can qualify.
Essential is your story: explain why you have chosen initially for the other function and not for them. This may indeed for some hiring managers lead to the consequence that you are ‘finished’ for good. However, in today’s job market this attitude can lead to undesirable situations because the supply of experienced professionals is low.
What matters is that you try to explain your motivation for the job and the company has become stronger. You can say you’ve made a huge error in judgment. You hit it off so well with the management of the company, the business was presented so rosy, and the offer was so tempting that you could not refuse. You can mention the procedural aspect that you got the right offer from the other company and that the formalities were settled immediately, while you were still waiting for their offer. If you could turn back time you had made another choice.
The fact that you spoke extensively with the hiring manager when you rejected the offer at the time may now work in your advantage. Then you also mentioned the timing of the offer and the choice of the new, the ‘adventure’. He will be able to show understanding for this for sure.
If the doors to this organization will not re-open you have no other choice than to start the whole process again. In any case you will have learned that you should think carefully before putting your signature.