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Anyone who’s ever embarked on a job search knows all too well just how sticky and awkward things can become.  For instance, that fiancé that you worship and can’t wait to spend your life with?  Maybe she’s taken it upon herself to go to bat for you in her family’s business.  While that’s considerate of her, the truth is, you’d rather live in your childhood tree house and eat peanut butter on crackers for dinner every night than have to work with the man who’s to become your father in law, right?  Further complicating matters is the fact that you’re supposed to appear gracious and appreciative for the opportunity; and while you are to a small degree, the truth is, no one asked your ‘soon to be missus’ to go to bat for you.  Now, you’re even more frustrated because you feel guilty.  “Most people would appreciate the faith another has in us, but the fact is, searching for a new job in your chosen career field is one of those things that is best handled by ourselves”, says Hound.com founder A. Harrison Barnes.  It’s quite different if you approach someone and ask for a kind word or to serve as a reference, but when it’s done without your knowledge, it can feel a bit overwhelming and well, frankly, sneaky.

So how can you graciously back out of this generous offer without appearing unappreciative?  The Hound.com founder says no matter which approach you take, you’ll need to tread lightly.  Your best bet is to keep the interview appointment and discuss how the situation came to pass with a face to face meeting with your would-be boss.  Explain to him that his lovely daughter, in her sweet way, was trying to help and that while you’re flattered she has that much faith in you and even more flattered that her family member has agreed to sit down with you, the fact is, you have other career paths you wish to pursue.  “You want to find that happy medium that includes the full truth, but with a respectful approach”, says A. Harrison Barnes.

Odds are, your soon to be in law will appreciate the ethical way you’re handling the situation.  You’re not putting him on the spot, you’re being honest and you’re being gracious.  These are all superb  qualities for a job candidate to have – but even better qualities for a future son in law to have.  It’s likely those qualities will resonate loud and clear.  And while you won’t leave the interview with a job (unless, of course, the interview goes well and you change your mind), you will leave with your head held high, your pride intact and the power of deciding which job opportunity is best suited for you.  And that, says Barnes, is the only way the search for the perfect job should be handled.

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