Job Searching Networking and Career Advice

Decline a Job Offer Professionally: When to Rescind

Natasha Serafimovska

Career Coach, Professional Resume Writer, Freelance Writer


Your job search has finally paid off! After countless job applications, numerous emails, and several interviews, the hiring manager and other stakeholders have decided that you’re the right person for the job! All you have to do now is accept the offer and walk into the sunset, right?

Not quite. While we may be excited to accept the job offer, it doesn’t mean that any job would be the right fit. What if you receive a better offer right after you’ve accepted this one? Or, what if you discover that your new employer has treated its former employees poorly? 

There are several reasons you may want to decline or stall a job offer. However, it can be tricky to backtrack if you’ve already accepted the job. Here we look at how to rescind a job offer professionally and offer an example email to get you off on the right track.

Why Employers Rescind Job Offer: Common Reasons

Job Offer Letter

An employer can rescind a job offer before you make a decision. There can be several internal or external reasons for this. 

Internal:

  • They went over budget with the offered salary
  • They emailed the wrong candidate
  • They hired for an eliminated position
  • They double-hired for the same position

External:

  • The candidate’s references didn’t confirm what the candidate shared about themselves
  • There was false information listed on the resume
  • The candidate has a criminal record
  • The candidate has an offensive social media presence 

Importance of Declining a Job Offer Before You Start

If you no longer want to take the job, you should decline the offer as soon as possible. Once you accept a job offer, your employer will stop all their recruitment efforts to prepare for the onboarding process. It would be unfair to keep them waiting until the starting day.

Instead, try to maintain your professionalism throughout your communication with them. Contact the hiring manager as soon as possible and explain your situation without too much detail. Then politely decline the job offer and wish them the best of luck. You never know if you will come across the same employer or person again, so you should always part ways on good terms. 

When Can You Reject a Job Offer?

Ideally, you’d reject the job offer before you sign any contract. Once you sign the employment contract, you have to check the terms and conditions to see if there are any legal limitations to declining a job offer after the fact. While the employer may not sue you, you’d still expose yourself to unnecessary risk.

How to Rescind a Job Offer Professionally?

Follow the Legal Procedure

It’s always good to follow the legal procedure to the T. If you need to share your decision in writing, do it professionally and within a specific time frame. Read through the terms and conditions of your employment contract and follow the rules outlined there. 

Inform the Recruiter in Time

Nothing looks more unprofessional than accepting a job offer and not showing up on your first day at work. Likewise, don’t wait for weeks to decline a job offer either. Instead, let the recruiter know your decision as soon as you’ve decided. Doing this will give the recruiter time to go to the second candidate on the list without starting the recruitment process from scratch.

Briefly Describe the Actual Reason

Since you’re inconveniencing the recruiter, you should explain why you declined the offer after saying yes. If there’s any change to your circumstances, then mention that briefly. Remember that you should be as honest as possible without insulting the company. So, if you’ve received a better offer elsewhere, just mention that you’ve received a different offer that is a better fit skills-wise. 

Send a Formal Letter

When rescinding an offer, it’s always best to give the recruiter or hiring manager a call. Nothing can top the personal rapport you can build with someone while speaking to them directly. However, make sure that there’s also a written record of your rejection. After the call, send the employer a formal letter declining the job offer and thanking them for the opportunity. 

Show Your Gratitude

Regardless of the reason for declining the job offer, express your gratitude for being given the opportunity. After all, the employer took the time to interview you, get to know you, and was ready to welcome you into their team. 

When Employers Can’t Rescind Job Offers?

Employees across all states in the U.S. (except for Montana) offer employment at will. ‘Employment at will’ means they reserve the right to let people go at any point without any reason. That said, employers aren’t allowed to rescind a job offer based on discriminatory factors like age, race, sex, color, or national origin. 

If the employee suspects that is the case, they can file a Charge of Discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Template Sample to Rescind Job Offers

Your Employer Name and Address

Your Name and Address

Date

Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs. [Last Name],

Thank you very much for offering me the Senior Account Manager position at [Company Name]. This offer is a fantastic opportunity, and I loved meeting some team members during the interview process.

Unfortunately, after much consideration, I regret to inform you that I’d have to decline this job offer. I adore your work in the [industry space], but I have chosen to accept another job offer that is more closely aligned with my skill set and aspirations. 

It was a pleasure getting to know you and learning more about the inspirational work you do. I hope our paths will cross again in the future. 

Yours Sincerely,

[Your Full Name]

Frequently Asked Questions on Rescinding a Job Offer

Can I Cancel a Job Offer After Accepting?

In most cases, yes. Since almost all employers in the U.S. offer employment at will, they can terminate your employment whenever they wish. Similarly, you can decline a job offer whenever you want. An exception would be if you’ve already signed an employment contract and there are legal limitations regarding how and when you can give your notice.

What Do You Say When You Rescind a Job Offer?

Keep all communication professional and concise. It’s always best to stay on good terms with anyone you encounter in your professional life. When you rescind a job offer, thank the employer for the opportunity, give your reason for declining the offer, and wish them all the best. 

Can I Decline a Job Offer After Signing the Contract?

The short answer is yes, although it’s not very professional. Once you sign a contract, there are legal terms and conditions that bind you to the employer. However, it’s very unlikely that a company would take legal action against you for declining a job offer. That said, you may ruin future opportunities to work at that company. 

Conclusion

When you’ve been job hunting for a while, getting a job offer can serve as much-needed validation for your efforts. The right job offer can be a life-changing experience that sets us up on a new and exciting career path!

However, not all jobs that come our way are right for us. Sometimes, we can receive a few job offers at a time, and it’s only natural that we’d have to decline some of them. Or, we may simply change our minds and decide to stay where we are. Either way, we must reject any job offers professionally and with grace. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is also the best approach we can take to protect our personal brand and career. 

Write A Comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.