4 Things To Do If Your Job Offer is Rescinded

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
May 18, 2024 at 3:46PM UTC

There’s a new trend in the hiring game, and it’s not a pleasant one: some companies are rescinding recently delivered job offers. For candidates, this is alarming. And it’s enough to harm the reputations of the employers who engage in the practice. But often, it’s beyond your control. 

Unfortunately, if you were going to be hired as an at-will employee, it’s beyond your control. The same goes for positions you haven’t yet accepted. And there could be a variety of reasons why it’s happening. For example, the company could be dealing with restructuring, and there’s no longer a need for a particular position. Or, it’s having new financial difficulties and doesn’t have the budget for the role. In other cases, it could be because of something on your end — for instance, the employer noticed some online behavior that doesn’t align with their values or they caught something in a background check.

So, what do you do if your job offer is rescinded?

1. Ask for an explanation.

If you haven’t received an explanation for the decision, reach out to the hiring manager to ask why it happened. They may be completely forthcoming and regretful, or they may not be. It could very well be outside of their control, so don’t take out your frustration on this individual. They could prove helpful to you in the future, and you don’t want to burn bridges. It’s also possible the position is on hold for now — and if that’s the case, ask for a timeframe — and you’ll be their first call when it opens up again. That doesn’t mean you should wait around, though.

2. Give yourself a minute.

It’s natural to be disappointed and even a little resentful. This is to be expected. Give yourself a minute to be upset and take care of yourself and your feelings after this happens. You deserve a short break before you get back on the horse and take your next steps. 

3. Explore the possibility of getting your previous job back.

If you already resigned from your previous role, is there a possibility that you could get it back? It may be a long shot, but it’s worth exploring, particularly if you had a good relationship with your former employer. They might be happy to have you back.

While a job offer could theoretically be rescinded at any point, if you can, avoid resigning until you’ve signed your new contract to add a layer of protection.

4. Focus your energy on applying.

And then, as unappealing as it may seem, you need to start applying again. Take what you’ve learned from the experience into your job search. While you may not have had any control over what happened, you may have a better idea of how to spot red flags in the hiring process now. You should also ask targeted questions in the interview to evaluate the likelihood of this experience repeating itself — while always maintaining professionalism.

A final note: Employers can usually rescind a job offer for nearly any reason, but there are a few cases in which it is illegal to do so. For example, an employer may not withdraw a job offer for discriminatory factors (race, age, gender, sex, etc.). If you believe you’re being discriminated against, you should seek legal counsel.

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for someone whose job offer was rescinded? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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