Reneging on a job offer

For starters, congratulations on getting a job offer! That means you have proven that you are a competitive and valuable candidate. This process can be long and stressful – from creating your application to interviewing several times with many different people – and you made it through! The first thing we suggest to do is know all of the facts and consider the offer before accepting anything. If you can negotiate anything make sure you are going into that discussion ready before agreeing to anything. Ask questions to get all the information you can to make an informed decision. Once you are sure you want the job, then you can move forward with accepting the position.

You Accepted the Offer But Then Something Popped Up or Something Better Came Along?

This is a tough spot to be in, which is why we always recommend taking your time before accepting any position and being a strong advocate of your needs. Remember you don’t have to accept every job offer you receive and you should also be vetting them to make sure they are up to your standards. Be sure to review your “non-negotiables”, your checklist of things that you can not or will not budge on.  If an offer doesn’t fulfill these needs then it might not be the right choice for you. The hiring process is just as long for employers as it is for you and they may be relieved in closing a search after hearing you accept the position. They may have some personal reactions to anyone rescinding an acceptance.

Rescinding Your Acceptance = Reneging And There Can Be Consequences to This!

By reneging now, you may have sacrificed future opportunities with that employer, recruiter, or close partner organizations. This may leave a bad impression on the hiring team who may have put a lot of work into getting you to the final stages of the interview. Sometimes it is hard for recruiters or hiring managers not to take it personally when a candidate reneges on an offer. If you have signed a contract, there may be larger consequences that are outlined in writing.  The smaller the industry you are working in, the higher the chance that you will be impacted by this decision.  Recruiters move around and there is a chance they will remember your name and block you from moving forward in any process they are involved in. There is a small chance that the company that you join will find out and that can have negative implications on your reputation, depending on where you are companies and people talk.

As a UW Husky, you are not only damaging your own professional reputation but also putting other UW Students and Alum in a negative light. Employers may take this bad experience as a reason not to engage with any UW students in the future, leading others to miss out on great opportunities.

The Best Game Plan

  • Ask for more time before making a decision.  Sometimes employers are open to an extension and are willing to accommodate you.
  • If you are waiting to hear back from a more ideal position, let them know you have an offer already with a competitor. Check-in and share so that they may speed up their process, especially if they really want you to be a part of their team.
  • Once you have accepted an offer, withdraw your other applications from other positions; this lets them know that they can focus their energies on other candidates and it also takes away any temptation to renege on the offer you’ve accepted.
  • Remember, if a dream position is open now you can always come back to that work in the future with even more experience and skills, making you a more competitive candidate for the role. Keep on networking and sharpening your skills so that you can land that dream role or dream position later on in the future.