I turned down a job offer, but now I want to accept it

A reader writes:

I have been interviewing for several months now and had two good job offers come in a week apart from each other.

Job # 1 could not give me additional time to weigh my options, so I declined job #1 and chose job #2. I declined in good standing, explained my understanding of their time constraints in filling the role, and thanked them. They seemed to understand my need for more time as well and it all appeared to end on a good note. I never want to burn bridges, and it is a really good company that may one day be in my future.

One week after choosing job #2, the offer was rescinded as the position was no longer available (budget and department restructure). I contacted job #1 asking to be reconsidered. I told them that in my need for more time to review my options, I declined the better choice for me and I asked to be reconsidered. The HR person thanked me for my email and explained that the positions (there are 2 openings) were still available, and that she would get right back to me with next steps. I was so relieved and so excited to begin working with them, now realizing more than ever they should have been my first choice to begin with.

But only 10 minutes later, her email was recalled by the corporate office, stating, “We do have some other candidates we are looking at for these two locations and are not ready to move forward with you.” I was devastated. I asked the HR person if there was anything else I could do to increase my chances and she said no, not at this time, but that she would contact me should anything change.

Three days later, still no word. I emailed the hiring manager who had been so excited to bring me on board, asking to be reconsidered and assuring her I had no doubt I wanted to work for her company. I got an out-of-office response. It has now been a week without a reply. Of course, it is also the holidays, but I am determined to win this company back.

I wondered if you might share your opinion. I know after my on-site interview with the team, there was a lot of excitement about offering me this position, and how great a fit I was. I think I disappointed them with my need for more time and it likely signaled I was not as confident as they were. In their defense, they had already given me a week to decide before I asked for more time. Maybe they are feeling they are second choice and fearing I would leave after finding something better.

In my defense, they found me a great fit, had expressed how excited they were with getting me into this role, and gave me an immediate offer. If they found me a good fit then, why not now? Have I angered someone? Is there a policy where I am considered “not for hire” now because I declined one job offer? Are they at a point with other candidates that they can’t turn back? If I was such a great fit in their eyes, why would they risk losing me to yet another offer?

I really messed up this one. I can’t believe the risk I took and lost, royally. How do I get this offer back? Is it ok to contact them again, and how long should I wait? Should I call instead of emailing, and should I contact the hiring manager or HR? Both are wonderful people to speak to.

Well , there are a few different possibilities here:

1. After you turned down the offer, they moved forward with other candidates, who they’re excited about. They might have an offer out to one of those people and be waiting for a response (or two of them, since you noted there are two positions), or they might simply prefer to pursue those candidates at this point (either because they’ve decided they’re genuinely stronger fits or simply because they’d mentally bumped them up after you declined the job).

2. They don’t think you’re enthusiastic enough about the job. It’s true that you seem very enthusiastic now, but you weren’t that enthusiastic when you had another offer on the table. You took a week to think over their offer, and then asked for more time, and then turned them down, and came back to them only when your other offer fell through. As a hiring manager, that reads as someone who’s not sold on the job. I don’t want to hire people who aren’t fully sold on the job, for all sorts of reasons: I won’t have confidence that they’re not going to keep looking for another job, or that they won’t be easily lured away, or that they’ll give the job their all. I’d actually be fairly wary of hiring someone in this situation — I wouldn’t rule it out, but it wouldn’t necessarily be a slam dunk either. If I had other candidates who I was excited about, I might just go with them instead.

3. Or, maybe you do still have a good chance at the job, but people are out of town and/or busy. As you note, it’s the holidays. You even got an out-of-office response from the hiring manager. If people are away, they’re not dealing with this right now, and it won’t be good for them to come back to work and find multiple messages from you about it.

From the outside, you can’t really know which of these it is. (It could also be a combination of two or even all three — who knows.)

But at this point, there’s not much else you can do, and you risk harming your chances if you continue to contact them because you’ll start looking more desperate for a job than interested in this one in particular.

You’ve let them know that you’re still interested, and now the ball is in their court. For your own sanity, I’d assume this job is gone and let it be a pleasant surprise if they do get back in touch with you.

Also, stop beating yourself up. You had to choose between two offers and you chose the one that you thought was the best fit. That company then screwed you over — because pulling a job offer after someone has accepted it is a really crappy thing to do, especially when someone has left a current job or turned down a different offer to accept it. You (presumably) couldn’t have predicted that that would happen, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over their crappy maneuver.

{ 82 comments… read them below }

  1. hayling*

    I agree with Alison – don’t beat yourself up. The people who should be kicking themselves are the ones from Job #2. It’s so awful to rescind a job offer.

      1. fposte*

        And I will retell the story of my colleague who had all her worldly goods in a Uhaul trailer and all her utilities turned off in order to move to another state only to find the job she was going to start Monday wasn’t actually going to happen at all.

        1. OfficePrincess*

          I was fully moved into an apartment out of state with a 12 month lease when the funding for the job I accepted an offer for fell through. That was a … fun … few months while I worked on plan B and plan C.

        2. Hermoine Granger*

          What typically happens if a new hire has relocated for a job offer and it’s then rescinded? Do they get like a mini severance for the inconvenience? Would they be able to file for unemployment?

          1. quix*

            No and maybe. You definitely aren’t getting severance. Most employers only do that for a certain level of employee, certainly not people who never made it in the door. Unemployment is going to be dicey and state dependent, since it looks at how long you were employed and why you left. And since you left your last employer voluntarily, and you weren’t employed for any length of time at your new employer, both would probably contest your claim, and you’re at the mercy of how the technicalities of the laws are written and whether you can represent them more convincingly to a quasi-trained unemployment arbiter than whichever of the companies on the other side.

            1. College Career Counselor*

              Sometimes there can be a mini-severance, depending on what kind of leverage there is. Admittedly, this is an odd case, but some years ago, a student of mine had signed a lease based on the job offer she had. Said company rescinded the offer, leaving the student on the hook for the three months’ rent she’d ponied up. Because the company had recruited through our office, my boss called them up and said, “this is NOT how you do business with us or our students” and essentially said that they were not welcome back to recruit unless they were willing to assist the student. She got them to cover the three months’ rent, and I’m happy to say the student found another job within that time.

              That was pre-recession, however; I’m pretty sure the same leverage is not available to career services offices now.

        3. ll*

          Oh, yeah! The company that was 1300 miles away that I went to… told to sell my car and get everything in order to move, then the owner told me he couldn’t guarantee me a job! So, I have been without a car over 7 years because of this, walking in two polar vortexes, etc.

    1. AnotherHRPro*

      It is awful that Job #2 rescinded the offer, but it can happen for a number of reasons:
      – something showed up on their background check that is causing them concern
      – funding/budget cuts
      – sr management has decided to restructure, redesign, outsource, place an internal candidate or any number of reasons
      Please know that companies do not want to rescind offers. It is costly for them as they have invested a lot of time and money in recruiting and selecting the candidate plus it can open the company up to some risk.
      OP – I think it is best to move on and assume that Job #1 won’t happen. If it does great, but don’t waste any more time or energy on it. Good luck with your job search.

      1. ll*

        Not always. I was hired at a $30,000 a year job in 2008. Walked into work on the second day and was told ‘The person that we first offered the job to has now decided that he wants it, so it’s only right that we give it to him’. ?? No. It is ‘only right’ that you tell person #1, who turned the job down originally, that you have hired person #2!

  2. BRR*

    You didn’t mess this one up. I actually admire your actions. A lot of people in this situation would have accepted #1 then left after a week if #2 made an offer which I think is a jerk move. I’m really sorry company #2 sucks. i would personally get a little peace of mind leaving a review on glassdoor about what they did.

    1. Laurel Gray*

      It’s amazing how many companies review budget and the structure of the department AFTER they have wasted several man hours, dollars and resources on recruiting for a position.

      1. Helen*

        Thankfully it didn’t get to the point of a job offer, but I had two interviews with a company who then let me know they didn’t have the money for the position. It was so annoying.

        1. AdAgencyChick*

          This happens far too often in advertising — the client won’t confirm what they want to spend, the agency doesn’t want to be caught short-staffed once they pull the trigger. So they interview people, get very close to making an offer, and then…bam! The client decides not to spend as much and the agency slams on the brakes for hiring. This happened to me, and it would have been sad but I would have gotten over it had that interview process not also caused my being outed to my then-boss as looking for a job. (Someone at that agency was BFF with my boss and blabbed everything. Not cool.)

          Anyway, for the OP, I’m hoping very much that you hadn’t already given notice to your current job, if you are working somewhere else. If this company pulled a *written* offer — ie, one that would cause you to resign your job — they deserve to be outed for crappy practices. Pulling an offer at any stage before it’s been put in writing and agreed to by both parties is not fun, but I’d argue it’s par for the course; pulling after the offer is in writing is grounds for being blacklisted by other good candidates in the future, IMO.

          1. misspiggy*

            I do find this aspect of US employment practice hard to fathom. In the UK, a job offer, once accepted, counts as a contract, even if made and accepted verbally. Employers have to have all their ducks in a row before making an offer, or they would be in legal trouble. Yes, this does depend on the resources of the jobseeker to take legal action, but in practice it means that very few employers indeed screw people around like this.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Think of it this way: If they waited until you started and fired you on your first day, that would be perfectly legal, because of the at-will employment doctrine.. So therefore it’s legal to do it before then too.

              That said, if the employer operated with deliberate fraudulent intent, there could be recourse. There’s a legal concept called “detrimental reliance,” where you’d argue that you relied to your detriment on their offer (if you could show that you’d lost money, moved, etc.). However, courts haven’t generally sided with those claims in this context, although that might be changing a little bit.

            2. blu*

              I see this kind of comment a lot and while there are certainly changes that are sorely needed with the employment market/employee rights, this misses the point of at will employment. The flip side of this is that both companies and employees working in the contract environment are generally stuck with one another for 30, 60, 90 etc days even when it’s not working out. I’m US based, but have supported our overseas division and there are flaws/downsides to both types of systems. Just something to keep in mind.

              1. esra*

                Speaking from up north, we often have contracts but the first 90 days are probation. I think it’s a better deal than your at will employment laws.

              2. sstabeler*

                that’s a mistake in drawing up the employment contract then, not a fault in employment contracts themselves. Simply insert a provision in the contract allowing for termination of the contract by the employee or employer with either X days notice, or for certain offences immediately. problem solved.

              3. Artemesia*

                The risk here is pretty much all on the side of the worker who may give up a solid job to be yanked around like this. I know two women who accepted very good jobs that disappeared due to reorganizations within weeks. Both were exceptional people who luckily were able to cope but it was tough. One was taken back by the old organization (very very lucky as that was rare in this organization) and the other became a ‘consultant’ and luckily was able to make a living — many are not when put in this position.

                There are virtually no benefits to the worker of ‘at will’ policies.

            3. Apollo Warbucks*

              But most jobs come with a 3-6 month probation period that means it’s a lot less hassle for an employer to terminate someone in that period and there’s no legal protection for unfair or constructive dismissal for the first 24 months of employment so really this situation could happen in the uk too.

        2. Noelle*

          I once spent probably 15 hours on interviews for a position, only to be told that they didn’t actually have an opening. There was an hour long phone interview, a 2 hour in-person interview with the hiring manager, a test done in the office, another four hour interview with all the senior managers there, and then the hiring manager asked me to do a research test – by doing opposition research on him. Only an asshole would judge candidates based on how much dirt they could dig up on him, it’s like you’re shooting yourself in the foot either way. So, I was not surprised that they lied about the job.

      2. mt*

        I have had to do this just recently. We had an open position and did the internal interviews. During the interview process the discussion started about restructuring the department, since the best time to restructure is when you have limited headcount that would be affected. We are ready to offer the open position onternally, but we are waiting for final approval to restructure. It sucks but it happens.

        1. Observer*

          There is a difference between making a change right before making an offer, though, and AFTER it’s been made and accepted.

          1. Artemesia*

            No kidding. I still 40 years later am grateful that my husband chose the job he did all those years ago even though it paid a bit less than the other — as the other job was deleted 6 weeks after they hired someone for it in a large re-organization. This sort of thing is just cruel. I don’t know if the guy they hired had left a job for it but if he did then even crueler.

    2. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      One thing OP does not state – was it a VERBAL offer from #2, or one made in writing?

      And her mistake (assuming it’s a “she”) was rejecting offer #1 before she knew #2 was “in the bag”. Had she called #2 and they said, “we changed our minds”, and not rejected #1 – yeah, I know of the time constraints, but — there would have a chance for her.

      Always have to play that game carefully.

      1. Brett*

        Sounds like #1 required an answer before #2 was done with their timeline, making it impossible to wait on #1.

    3. illini02*

      You know, I don’t know if its a jerk move. I’ve had to do something similar. I interviewed for Job #1 in July. They said they would be making a decision by August. August comes and goes, and I hear nothing ,and they keep saying how they haven’t made a final decision. In this time I do the smart thing and continue to interview. I have a great interview with a great company, and I was pretty confident an offer was coming. Problem is, they were based overseas and the office was closed for some holiday or something, so they couldn’t make me the “official” offer for a bit, but I was basically told I had it. Job #1 finally offers me the job in mid to late August, and they will only give me like 5 days to decide (offer was made on a Wednesday, they NEEDED an answer Monday), even though I asked for at least a week. Monday comes, I accept it, and I’m supposed to start the following Monday. A few days later, I get the offer for a better job (with better pay and benefits), so I have no choice but to back out. I don’t consider myself a jerk for it because either I was already their second choice, or they gave me an unrealistic time frame. I made the decision that was right for me, which is what you have to do out there. I wish it could have went down differently, but I don’t think it makes me a bad person.

      1. BRR*

        See I don’t think 5 days is an unrealistic time frame (I do think places should give a week though if the candidate asks for it). There’s a difference between I need time to think it over and I want to wait on this offer because I’d prefer a different job. I also disagree with you saying you had no choice but to back out. I think it’s a jerk move once an offer is made and accepted to dissolve the agreement. Some places send out rejections after a candidate has accepted and it might be difficult to make an offer to their second choice and can possibly mean starting the entire search over again. This is especially the case when someone quits after a week for a better offer they were waiting for. Plus at that point the company has invested a lot more time and money in you.

  3. Katie the Fed*

    Oof that sucks.

    I think you need to change your thinking about this job. I get the sense you still think of it as your offer and you just have to convince them to give it back to its rightful owner – you. Unfortunately, I think you need to treat this as a ship that has sailed, and maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    I’m sorry this happened. Job #2 is terrible.

  4. Laurel Gray*

    Hi, long time lurker that made actually contributing and not just reading a new year’s resolution. (name from a character in one of my favorite movies, not the wine co)

    I have to say that this is definitely one of those cases where you probably should mentally move on and if they contact you, great, and if not, oh well. I mainly say this because I think them giving you a week to think it over was sufficient enough. I’m sure at the time you knew the salary, benefits, vacation etc as well as expectations of hours, work etc. To turn me down and then come back a short time later asking for a chance, if I was the hiring manager, or actually ANY person part of the hiring process, I would assume that something that you thought was better fell through even if you never disclosed.

    We always compare hiring to dating and it works both ways. The company was the original one who was rejected so they (probably) moved on with other candidates, just the same way we are expected to when we don’t hear back after applying or are told in the interview stage that a company will not be moving forward with us. In your case, I hope the hiring manager has some good news when they do come back in office. Either way, good luck with your job search in the new year OP!!

    1. Mockingjay*

      “We always compare hiring to dating.” Oh my gosh. What a perfect metaphor.

      Now I am looking at job hunting in a new light. Sometimes you click, sometimes you don’t. Thanks for a new perspective!

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        Comparing hiring to dating is not a perfect metaphor… but, this reminds me of the young high school girl who turns down a prom date, hoping someone else will ask her and then learns that “someone else” asks SOMEONE ELSE.

        She then calls Mr. Rejectee who either has moved on and is going with someone else, or just isn’t interested in going to the prom anymore.

      2. INTP*

        Someone needs to write a He’s Just Not That Into You about job searching.

        If they want you, they’ll get in touch with you. You don’t need to call them, email them, connect with the hiring manager on LinkedIn because the snotty HR people don’t realize how perfect you are for the job but the hiring team totally would.

    2. Jax*

      I have to bite my tongue and stop myself from advising my coworker to pull her emotions back from first dates and try to look at them like job interviews. She gets overly invested and rushes in, scaring the guys away.

      (Says the old married lady who has to listen to Tales of Online Dating, Volumes I, II, III, and IV every workday.)

      1. Natalie*

        I’m a younger, not married lady who dated online (met my boyfriend online) and you’re completely right. Two other huge downsides, that also work for job hunting – if she’s getting super emotionally invested right away, she’s not taking a clear eyed look at each individual person and determining whether or not they are a good person to date. She may also run into someone more than run-of-the-mill shitty out there, and those types combined with someone desperate or too invested is no bueno.

  5. fposte*

    Yeah, job #2 did a bad thing; I’m sorry that happened to you.

    I’m thinking, though, about your telling #1 that you made a mistake rather than disclosing that job #2 disappeared. I don’t think you need to bare your soul to job #1, but that made me raise an eyebrow a little. I don’t think it’s likely to matter, but I’ll be curious to know where people come down on “that was sufficient” to “should have disclosed the lost position.”

    1. AnonyMouse*

      Personally I think it’s fine. Maybe not everyone’s style and I can definitely see why you might raise an eyebrow at it, but especially given that the OP now seems genuinely enthusiastic about job #1, I don’t think there’s any moral obligation to mention the lost offer. And I do think that works both ways – if company #1 in this scenario moved on to other candidates after the OP rejected their offer, I definitely don’t think they would need to to tell those candidates that they weren’t the first choice (I’m not always a fan of this kind of comparisons between the actions of employers and job seekers, but they can be useful sometimes).

      1. fposte*

        It’s really a small thing in the scope of OP’s situation, too. I’m leaning toward agreeing with you, because the OP isn’t doing it to disguise a situation that reflects poorly on her–it wasn’t like they rejected her because they found something in her background or fired her after a day. I just needed to think it out for a little.

    2. Rex*

      Yeah, that made me wonder, too. Maybe OP thought it was best to not outright say “you’re my second choice,” but I wonder if Job #1 saw her alternate explanation as not ringing true, and that is part of why they are not moving forward with her, compared to how they might have approached it if she had come clean.

    3. Artemesia*

      I thought this too. Maybe they thought you took that job then quit which would not be a good record for them taking you. That job disappeared still makes them second choice — but it is not as bad as someone who quickly quit a job.

    4. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      I think it can go either way.

      I don’t think the OP was obligated to reveal all about why she wanted the job now, but there’s a chance it might have helped her with Job #1 because that’s at least a solid and not flighty reason for jumping between maybe, no, and okay changed my mind yes.

      In my world, taking longer than a week to decide about a job offer doesn’t happen. I’m sure there are other worlds where it is normal, but for me it would be so odd it would raise new questions about the candidate’s personality and decision making ability. OTOH, I don’t mind being second choice. Nobody says “omg, teapots, my dream job when I grow up”. So…… more information would have been better with me but, Monday morning quarterback. Could go either way.

      1. AnotherHRPro*

        At my company a candidate needing more than a week to decide if they want to accept would be odd and not looked upon favorably. By this time the candidate and the hiring manager have invested a great deal in each other. Sure, the candidate may have other offers (or is hoping for other offers) but the company may have other candidates that are just as qualified and that will except the job immediately. It would be a red flag if someone needed more than a week. And in this case, I would be hesitant to hire someone in the OPs situation. It can seem like a) she is indecisive and/or b) she really isn’t that interested in my company/job.

      2. Kyrielle*

        Yeah, and other places, more info means “oh, we’re second best, she’ll jump ship within a month” – and they would never consider her again. (Which maybe isn’t realistic, but it happens.)

      3. INTP*

        Yeah, in my experience it would be very odd unless there were another offer on the table. And maybe the tech industry is different from most, but I never saw an employer turned OFF because a candidate had other offers on the table. Good candidates have options, most employers realize this and aren’t waiting for some soulmate employee who wouldn’t dream of working anywhere else. Saying that you need a week to decide says you either have other offers on the table that you aren’t being up front about or you aren’t into the job.

    5. AndersonDarling*

      I was wondering this too.
      Unless there was a relocation involved, asking for more than 1 week for consideration would be unusual. I’d bet offer #1 figured out the OP was waiting on another job offer and was miffed because she didn’t admit it. It may have been better to just say there was another offer on the table, say why it seemed like a better offer, then give all the reasons why offer #1 was also an awesome offer and a great opportunity. Job #2 had a unique opportunity, but it didn’t work out. And in the end Job #1 is also perfect match. At least that would explain why you asked for so much time to consider.
      But you never know, being honest could backfire too. It is a terrible spot to be in. Lets hope it all happened for a reason and the really perfect job is going to call soon.
      Job #2 are super, grinchy, jerks.

    6. Zed*

      I wondered if not knowing would make job #1 think the OP was really flighty. As far as they know, she couldn’t make up her mind, then once she finally made a decision (and here it sounds like she chose job#2 purely because they gave her more time to decide, not because it was a better fit) she very quickly changed her mind and came back asking to be considered for job #1 again.

      If I were doing the hiring for job #1, knowing that the other offer fell through would at least partially explain/justify what otherwise might seem like very odd behavior.

    7. illini02*

      I don’t think its bad to tell them because of the reason the job is gone. If you just rejected it and then came back and said “surprise, I’m back” It would look bad. but this is a situation where you were told you had a job and then it was taken away. Now I’m not saying job #1 has to talk to you, but sometimes the context of why you are coming back can matter.

    8. INTP*

      I do think that the OP should have disclosed the lost position. If I were the hiring manager at Company #1, I would read three possible scenarios into the explanation the OP gave:
      1) The job fell through, and they aren’t being honest about it.
      2) They started the new job and hate it. Maybe it’s because the job is truly awful or a bait-and-switch but maybe it’s also because the OP is tough to please.
      3) They started the new job, are failing at it, and know they’re going to get fired soon.

      Being open about the reason is better than any of those. Actually, it’s even better than the explanation given taken 100% at face value, because who wants an employee that needs more than 1 week to make a decision or blames their wrong decision on someone else not giving them enough time?

      (OP, I don’t say any of this to pile on you, it’s very hard to know what to say at what point in the hiring process. That is just how I would read into the explanation as given in the letter.)

  6. Artemesia*

    I would assume this ship has sailed and move on. It was really crappy of job 2 to do this to you but it happens. My husband moved for my career and it took him a year to find something. This was 40 years ago. He finally had two good job offers at the end of this year and selected one; the other job he didn’t take lasted 6 weeks when the firm re-organized and dropped the department. So if he had taken that job, he would have been out of work after only 6 weeks after all this time. I know a number of people who have quit jobs for promotions elsewhere that evaporated quickly when large corporations re-organized and dropped the function locally. IN each case the employee was not inadequate — stuff just happened. Sorry this happened to you but it did and so now you need to find something else. It will be a miracle if they come back to you, so assume it is done and move on.

  7. RLM*

    I will say this–as a hiring manager, a week is quite a bit of time to consider an offer. To take a week, then ask for more time, decline…then come back and say “I changed my mind” would be a red flag to me in terms of your actual desire for the job and your level of commitment. I don’t like being rushed to decide; but a week was not exactly rushing you. Job #2 is definitely to blame for how they handled the situation (WHO rescinds job offers???); but you did take a risk and happened to be on the losing side this time. Good luck.

    1. Student*

      As a hiring manager, I’m sure you also realize that companies can take months to decide.

      That puts candidates like the OP in a bind when two good opportunities look viable, but are just far enough out of sync that you can’t do a direct comparison within the week that you are given after the first offer comes out.

      1. illini02*

        Agreed. The problem is that companies want to take forever to return calls or give you information, but expect you to make these life decisions in a very short amount of time. How long was the process from when they applied and then got an offer? A month? 2 months? But they only get a week to decide?

        1. some1*

          I think the difference is that as a candidate, by not withdrawing yourself from the interview process at any time (application, phone interview, in-person interview, maybe more in-person interviews, maybe tests and skills assesments) you are indicating that want the position. The rest is just details — I can understand wanting a couple days to weigh other offers or potential offers or try to negotiate salary, but a whole week seems excessive.

        2. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          They are completely different processes. A company isn’t going to take months to actually decide on hiring Mary. If they take a long time it’s because they may have hundreds of applicants to go through, some to phone interview, some to first interview, some to second interview (etc) and could have multiple people at multiple levels who have a vote in deciding which candidate to make an order to. It’s never “do we offer Mary a job or not, can’t decide, let’s put it off for awhile”

          Once you get to offer, a candidate should have all of the information she needs to make an informed decision relatively quickly.

          Don’t forget that there is probably a second choice candidate (at least one), who is also waiting to hear. If the original candidate took a month to say no, second choice candidate is still waiting, and is out a month that she could have been working at new job. Not to mention the co-workers to be out that extra hand for a whole extra month also. These things don’t happen in a vacuum.

          1. illini02*

            I understand that, and I have hired people, so trust me I’ve been on both sides. But just like a company is evaluating many people, a candidate is probably applying to multiple places. I’m not saying an indefinite amount of time is necessary, but if you really want a candidate, I don’t think giving a couple of extra days is unreasonable either.

            1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

              Or, what if it is an out of town job and the candidate needs time to check arrangements before accepting? It’s not as if one week is some kind of rule, but the time isn’t connected to however long it typically takes companies to make a decision.

              I don’t hire people from out of town, and I don’t usually hire high level people who probably have to take longer while they are figuring out if the stock options they get in one place are as good as the next place. Or people who need to have their lawyer look over the contract.

              The people we hire make decisions on their offer, typically, in 24 to 72 hours — not because we pressure them but because that’s just what they do. If someone needed more than a week, that’s going to be odd in not a good way for us. A job offer stops our process. We can’t afford to stop the process for an extended period of time and I don’t think a week to decide is stingy.

              All of that said, it’s literally never come up at least in the last five years and barely before that that I can remember because, people decide in 24 to 72 hours without our having to pressure.

    2. some1*

      Yeah, I’m confused on that part. Did the LW keep Job 1 hanging for a week because she was waiting to see if she’d get an offer from Job 2, or did she have offers from both but still wanted more time to think it over after Job 1 gave her a whole week?

  8. Masters Degree Searcher*

    Thanks for this post—it happened to me too! I got a government contract offer, tried to negotiate pay, they never got back to me, then reposted the job; I wrote a review for them on glassdoor so here’s to hoping someone’s informed about their shady practices. Plus, they’re only ranked 1.5/2 stars there.

    What worked for me was applying to 56 more jobs. I just finished a phone screening for another govt contract role (which pays more than the rescinded offer). They are searching fast, and forwarded my cv to their contractor; my current role finishes in 2 weeks which is perfect/scary (insert verb of choice).

    Sometimes things are out of your control and life throws you for a loop. Keep going, redirect your sails; it gets better—I promise : )

  9. Ella*

    It’s unfortunate things happened this way but it sounds to me like you have done all you can at this point and to do more may hurt you. I’m out there looking too and I would try and come to terms with if it’s meant to be, you’ll hear from them. Maybe after the new year, everyone is back and there’s a chance they will reach out but I would move on at this point.

    And one thing to consider, you didn’t take the job after a week and considering another position. Your regret seems to have come from losing out on job 2… could the way you feel now be a reflex from the job offer that was pulled, not so much that this was the perfect fit? Just an observation, while job 2 is heinous for what they did the people at job 1 may be simply reacting to your ambivalence throughout.

    Just saying, I almost just accepted a low paying job for of fear there would be nothing better. Maybe something better is around the corner for us both. Good luck.

  10. Mena*

    “…I am determined to win this company back.”
    Um, careful with that thinking. It sounds like this is out of your hands at this point. It really isn’t in your control and you need to accept this and wait to see if you hear from them.
    And you may not … you didn’t come across as wildly enthused to work for the company and they may be looking at others who are.

  11. GeekyCheek*

    I just had a great company I was looking forward to working with also rescind a job offer. Sorry OP, it really sucks.

  12. DBmondial*

    You cannot have predicted the 2nd company’s actions- unfortunately it does happen. It happened to me in October. I moved my family from Asia to Europe for a new job and ten days after arriving the Singaporean company rescinded their offer with immediate effect and no compensation because they had ‘some internal issues at head office’. My only advice is chin up get out there and make it happen whether it is job 1 or something new. Good luck!!

    1. Nashira*

      Oh my god, that’s horrible. Bad even when it’s for a move from one state to another, but an intercontinental move? I’m so sorry.

  13. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    I might also add – my experience is old-time, so you can regard / dis-regard at your will.

    Some years back, the IS/IT world was jumping – and career advancement was done often by jumping to another job. A resignation was also followed up with a counter-offer.

    – 1) NEVER NEVER resign from a current position until you have a formal employment offer letter in hand.

    – 2) If you have two job offers – never accept, nor reject other job offers, unless the one you’re going to accept has given you a formal employment offer letter.

    Always get that letter in hand. Until you get it in hand, you have no formal job offer.

    The reason for the offer letter in hand — it makes it more difficult for a company to rescind it. If you resign from a current situation and this happens, the new company is responsible for your unemployment claim. And if you and the company have formally agreed – and signed letters, etc. they’re unlikely to pull the offer. Sure, there may be some union / staffing rules – but in such cases, they wouldn’t offer you the job if it were going to be immediately eliminated.

    1. AndersonDarling*

      Wow! I never thought about how the “new” employer would be on the hook for unemployment if they rescinded a written job offer. Thanks for sharing!

      1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

        That is – if you quit one job to take another, and then on day 1 you’re told “we weren’t serious, we were only kidding, etc.” In my profession, the “standard operating procedure” is you receive a letter with an offer of employment. You can then inform your management – hear out and consider any counter-offer – this process is usually quick. If that doesn’t happen, you go to your new company and sign agreements.

        You are now a new employee of your new company. Should you reach termination with your first employer, show up and the employer says “we’re rescinding” — they’re on the hook.

        If you’re just out of school, and this is a first job, and this happens – no, they’re likely not.

        If they rescind the offer due to some problem with your application (read = you lied on your resume, or on an application and you got caught) , no, they would not be responsible for it.

        Examples I’ve seen of this – claiming to have a degree you don’t have, claiming to have experience you don’t have, and the killer-diller of the 21st century = you have no authorization to work in the United States.

        Very few companies will lure you away from a current situation and offer you a job in writing, then pull the offer on you.

  14. Brett*

    Not sure this was noted yet…
    But if you received an “out of office” email when trying to contact the hiring manager, that could explain the entire delay in getting back to you. Assume there is nothing left to do, but there is a good chance no decision has been made at all on re-offering because the hiring manager is out of office.

  15. Audiophile*

    It’s eerie how much I can relate to this.
    In 08, I turned down a job because I was waiting to hear about another job and they couldn’t give me any more time. And when the other job didn’t materialize quick enough, I attempted to accept the previous offer. They of course had no interest in hearing from me and I don’t blame them.

    I beat myself up for a long time. Then I realized it wasn’t worth it. I just mentally moved on, as difficult as it was.

  16. Chris Kilgore*

    I just feel like making a comment. Maybe this isn’t the right place for it. If I quit my job. I will talk to the owner of the company and ask him if I can come back, If things don’t work out with the other job. On one hand I love my job. ( I run CNC grinding machines.) On the other hand. I want more money. As of Dec. 15th 2015 . I will have worked for them 30 years. The wages have not kept up with inflation. I feel cheated. After all this time. I have done things on the manual grinders the cnc dept. cant do. Because I can do it faster on the old “Cincinnati” machines. back in 1990 I made 5o,000 with all my over time. bought a brand new s10 nothing on it truck for $6,500 . I was to young and stupid to know that was a lot of money and should be saving more of it. Now I know what to do with the $40,000 a year I earn. what’s with this. 25 years later I should be making at least $50,000 a year. on 40 hours. I loaned that truck to a friend. he crashed it. I got $800 for it. Bought a new Colorado truck. more nice stuff. piece of junk out the gate. (another story) $18,000 almost a half a years wages. for a truck. (year 2007. still driving it. if I bought a new truck now like I want it would cost $30.000. I want to get paid more.
    I only get paid $19.36 an hour. I called my old boss. told him I would come there for $22.00 an hour. he told me to come there and talk to him. I can do it. he didn’t even blink when I told him $22.00. I don’t want to do it. It is not what I want to do. but I want the money. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want a job I hate . where time just drags on. it is so slow. I don’t feel like working over time at all. But that is how I feel where I am at. I want to learn something. I want a challenge. I want my old job back where. they just put what ever on my cart. Then I figure out a way to do it. reamers for an antique locomotive steam engine. we don’t have a blue print just make it work. I’m like cool. That is a good job. I have in 30 years. been told my tool didn’t do what it was supposed to do. except one time the machine operator didn’t know what he was doing. told me this wouldn’t cut hot butter. I sent him a note. Sorry I didn’t know it was a “butter cutter”. I thought it was for cast Iron. sand blasted it made it look like he wanted and it worked fine.. Point is. Hey there are some people who need a “better job” . I am looking for a new job. as of December 15, 2015 I don’t know what to do. I have only filled out 3 job applications my whole life. I have never been turned down for a job. except that one guy who I hung up the phone on because he was rude to me.

  17. Ace*

    This is happening to me….. It’s just been a month I’m starting a new job… A job offer comes from another company, before evaluating it’s value I declined it….but now I want it…..what can I do to get it???

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