If you have been on a long job hunt, you would probably be extremely excited when finally a good job offer comes along, and you will be eager to accept it in the heat of the moment.
However, what happens if a better one comes along right after that? Or even worse, what if you receive a job offer in your dream company.
When such a situation occurs, there is not an easy answer for your troubles.
If you decide to renege on your job, you need to carefully weight the pros and cons of the situation beforehand.
To help you get through that difficult situation, we are going to explore the following questions:
- What is reneging on a job offer?
- What are the risks and consequences of reneging on a job offer?
- When can you renege on a job offer?
- How to decline a job offer after accepting it?
So, if you are ready to learn more about that, let’s dive in.
What is reneging on a job offer?
By definition, reneging means “backing out of a promise or contract”. See the following example to get a better understanding of it:
You have received and accepted a job offer from Company A, but suddenly you receive another offer from Company B, which is much better. If you decide to decline Company A’s job offer for any reason after already accepting it, it is called “reneging”.
However, there are a variety of reasons why you might want to renege on a job offer, and reneging is not as rare as you might think. In fact, 1 in 4 jobseekers has reneged on a job offer at least once.
What are the risks and consequences of reneging on a job offer?
Walking away from an offer you have already accepted is not as easy as declining one, as you have already entered into some kind of contract with the company.
Let’s take a look at the most common risks and consequences of reneging on a job offer.
You may burn some bridges with the company which initially hired you
The first risk you would be taking with reneging on a job offer is you're potentially burning bridges with the company.
That’s because the process from them posting the job opening to actually sending you an offer is quite a lengthy one, and it is also filled with lots of documentation.
Most job offers get more than 100 candidates, but luckily, most companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) for pre-selection, so no harm there.
However, even after the-selection, hiring managers still have to conduct interviews with at least 20 candidates to find the best fit for the company.
And if the company has hundreds of job openings, these interviews translate into a few weeks, or even months of hiring time.
Additionally, don’t forget that each step of the process requires some great amount of paperwork on their side, including for them to prepare your job offer.
So, it should not come as any surprise to you, if after reneging on the job offer you never hear from that company again.
You might find it more difficult to get a job within the same professional field
Not only that you would burn bridges with the company that gave you an offer that you reneged on, but you might also burn some bridges you did not know about.
You need to keep in mind that hiring managers talk to each other. And they like to talk about their best and worst candidates.
By reneging on a job offer, you might find yourself in the hiring managers’ mouths for all the wrong reasons.
You might miss out on opportunities for career advancement
Another risk you might be taking is for you to choose the wrong company.
You never know which company would turn out to be the better one, and it would be really sad for you to burn all your bridges with the company that gave you the initial offer, and replace it with another one that seems better at first sight, but turns out to be toxic.
To make the best decision, first ask HR about advancement opportunities for someone in your position. You might find some great prospects in the company, and decide not to renege on the job offer.
You might expose yourself to litigation
Last but not least, you might find yourself facing legal consequences.
Some contracts include clauses that bind you to fulfil your contact’s clauses.
If you are considering on reneging on a job offer, make sure you first read carefully any documents you have signed, and make sure that you will not be exposed to litigation.
When can you renege on a job offer?
In most cases, reneging on a job offer is a bad idea, and you should try to avoid it.
However, if you are keen on doing it, make sure you have a good reason for it.
Check out the three best ones.
When you go through a sudden and significant life change
The best reason you can have for reneging on a job offer is going through a sudden and significant life change.
It might be anything physical or psychological.
But if you feel that you need to take a step back and give yourself time to process the events, no one would blame you for reneging on a job offer.
When you discover that the company culture is toxic
In an ideal world, you would be able to spot a toxic company right from the start.
However, most times you can’t do so, and it would take you some time.
The company might have made a good impression on you during the interview, but if during the tour of the company you see some clear signs of toxic environment, you should consider reneging on the job offer.
When you are 100% sure that the other offer is the better choice for you
Before you make your final decision, make sure that you are actually choosing the better company.
Don’t just look at the surface, but check if there are any factors that might impact your work.
If you see any problems within the second company that offered you a job, you might want to avoid reneging on the job offer from the initial company.
How to decline a job offer after accepting it?
But if you are keen on reneging on the job offer, and you have a good reason for it, you would want to make it right.
To do so, you need to follow just a few simple steps.
Show that you are grateful for the job offer
The first thing you would want to do is show your gratitude for receiving the job offer in the first place.
HR managers spend a great deal of time and effort on each candidate, so the least you can do is show them that you appreciate it.
Explain your reasons
The most important thing about reneging on a job offer just right is to be brief, direct, and professional.
You would not want to go into too much detail, but make sure you express regret and lay out the facts.
Express interest in future job opportunities
Last, in order to avoid burning any bridges with the company, you should let them know that you are interested in working with them in the future.
That way, they might feel less like they have wasted valuable company time, and they might offer you a great opportunity one day.
We are all done, now you know what are the risks and consequences of reneging on a job offer, when you can do it, and how to do it right.
Let’s go through it all really quickly one last time.
The risks of reneging on a job offer include:
- Potentially burning bridges with the company which initial hired you
- Potentially burning bridges with other companies as well, as hiring managers discuss candidates they have interviewed
- Potentially missing out on opportunities for career advancements, in case the initial company had great opportunities for career growth
- Potentially exposing yourself to litigation, if you signed a contract with some specific clauses
And when you should consider reneging on a job is after:
- You have gone through a sudden and significant life-changing event – no matter if it is physical or psychological
- You discover that the company culture is toxic
- You are 100% sure that the other offer you have received is the best choice for you
But if you are keen on reneging on the job offer, make sure you:
- Show that you are grateful for the offer and the time invested in you by the hiring manager
- Explain your reasons briefly and professionally
- Express interest in future job opportunities so that you would not burn all bridges with the company
Think through carefully if you want to renege on the job offer you received, and take the best decision for yourself.