company offered me a job, then yanked the offer, then re-listed the position

A reader writes:

After job searching for several months, I was offered a position that lined up perfectly with my career goals. It wasn’t a dream job but a definite stepping stone on the path to a dream job. My start date was set, my resignation was sent to my manager, and I was excited for some new challenges.

However, one week before I was scheduled to start my new position, I received an email telling me that the company was restructuring and they didn’t have a job for me after all and they were sorry if this caused an inconvenience and they would keep me in mind if future positions opened up. Of course I was shocked and upset. I was able to talk to my manager and keep my current job so I didn’t end up unemployed, but it was extremely embarrassing telling my manager and all of my colleagues and friends and family the devastating news.

I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity for a bit, then picked myself up and started my search over from scratch. Today I was browsing a job posting board and saw that the company that rescinded the job offer has reposted the exact same job. Same title, same description, same everything.

So now I’m confused. Is there a job now? Was there ever a job? Did they suddenly change their mind about me a month ago and chicken out of owning the choice or did the job actually disappear? Why wouldn’t they contact me to let me know they were going to fill that position after all? Should I reapply with the same resume and cover letter as if this were the first time I sent them? Should I reach out to them and reference the situation? Should I even want to work for a company so disorganized (at best) or deceitful (at worst)? Should I contact the job board and let them know the company has a history of jerking applicants around?

That’s awful. And it’s particularly awful that they didn’t bother to pick up the phone and give you the news that way when they needed to rescind the offer. That’s a phone call message, not a cop-out-and-email-it message.

Rescinding a job offer is a really big deal. You were particularly lucky that you were able to keep your existing job. In a different set of circumstances, your employer might not have let you do that. Or you might have already turned down other job offers. So they needed to call you and actually talk to you.

It’s not that no responsible company would ever do this. Sometimes the timing of a job offer ends up being really bad, and the job does get restructured away before the person starts. But they should have handled it differently. For example, in addition to calling you, if you were in fact now without an income due to their actions, they should have offered you at least a small amount of severance.

Anyway, as for the job posting you saw:

It’s possible that it’s an error. Sometimes jobs get reposted when they shouldn’t. And some job boards post jobs that they scrape from other sites, so they end up posting jobs that are no longer open.

But yes, it’s also possible that the company lied to you, and they’re not really restructuring and they just decided to rescind your offer for some reason and thought “restructuring” was an easy excuse. Or it’s possible that they told you the truth, but then their plans changed and they’re poorly enough managed that no one thought to reach back out to you. Or who knows, maybe they figured they couldn’t offer it to you again after yanking it away.

You definitely shouldn’t just reapply. If they want to hire you for it, this shouldn’t be a situation where you have to go through their process all over again. But you can contact the hiring manager for the position and say something like, “I wanted to check in with you because I saw the X position advertised again. I realize this might have been an error, but if the job is opening back up, I’d still be very interested in it.”

Then see what they say. If they tell you that yes, indeed it is open again, it’s fair for you to ask what happened — and to proceed with a lot of caution and some healthy skepticism until/unless the answers you hear make sense to you.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 246 comments… read them below }

  1. Specialk9*

    OP, I wouldn’t judge if you indicated interest, got them to extend the offer again, ask for a bit of a delayed start date, then rescind your job acceptance on your start date. All without leaving your current employ, of course.

    Let them scramble this time. :D

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I know you’re probably joking, but I wouldn’t recommend this because it could backfire spectacularly and hurt the OP’s reputation if it’s a small industry.

      1. Amber*

        Agreed, dozens of people at that company would hear about this and those people will eventually go on to work in other companies (probably ones that you want to work at one day) and it will hurt your reputation. Those people will forever know you as the person who did that. Don’t do this.

        1. Mike C.*

          It’s always weird to me how warnings about reputation are seemngly always one sided. This apparently won’t touch anyone involved with pulling the offer but if the OP does anything it’s etched on their permanent record forever.

          1. Nanani*

            Well for one, obvious, thing, LW doesn’t know the name of the person who made the decision. At most they have the name of the person they directly talked to, but not all the people in the hiring chain and definitely not enough knowledge of who messed up this badly. That is not the case from the other side, who definitely knows LW’s details to be accurate.

          2. Cringing 24/7*

            But these things should (and sometimes do) reflect on the company (although usually not the actual decision-maker). OP should mention this on sites like Glassdoor, so people can be aware of the weirdness surrounding this company.

    2. Manatees are the best*

      My suggestion would be for OP to write about their experience on a site like Glassdoor. That way potential future candidates will be wary and take precautions.

      1. AnonPM*

        Seconded. Potential candidates need to know that this is a possibility if they accept an offer with this company.

      2. Manager Mary*

        Absolutely agree. Where I work, we often have jobs filled less than a week after someone turns in their notice! On more than one occasion, an employee has left, discovered they didn’t like their new job, and tried to come back, only to be told we didn’t have a spot for them. :/ I would absolutely NEVER want to apply at a company that had done this to someone.

        1. Glassdoor is ok*

          I disagree that Glassdoor is questionable. Almost always, the overwhelmingly positive, “no cons that I can think of” are the fake ones. The ones that cite legitimate issues — late paychecks, no work-life balance, poor benefits, etc. — are generally reliable. Similar to Yelp, people are more likely to write if they had a bad time, but if there are a lot of really bad reviews followed by a couple GLOWING reviews, that’s reason to be skeptical. My old job would regularly post glowing reviews of themselves, often right after an ex-employee aired real grievances.

  2. Clorinda*

    Even if they offer you the job again, would you WANT to work for them? At best, they’re flaky. At worst, they have zero consideration for how their decisions affect employees. Could you ever sleep well at night if your income depended on this company’s competence and goodwill?

    1. Hills to Die on*

      I sure couldn’t, and I have worked at places that have layoffs 3 out of 4 quarters of the year, every year.

    2. Dan*

      I’d want some insight as to how the decision was made before I could decide whether or not I would want want to work for that company. Was it in HR gaffe? That’s one thing. Was it a Hiring Manager gaffe? That’s another.

      1. Lil Fidget*

        But how could the hiring manager that wanted OP before, not have jumped to correct this? Perhaps the new job is in a different department or something but I’m not sure how to chalk this up to an incompetent HR department.

        1. Meg Murry*

          Restructuring could also mean that the person who was going to be OPs boss was suddenly fired or demoted, and now they have a new person in that position and the new person either doesn’t know about OP’s previous offer, or the new person doesn’t trust the previous manager’s judgement and wants to start the process over again fresh. That doesn’t necessarily mean OP is out of the running, just that it got mixed up in the chaos. I could especially see this happening if it was a big restructuring, where someone a couple layers up left or multiple groups were moved around to different chains of command.

          1. my two cents*

            This seems fairly plausible, and also seems like something that could get cleared up in an email from the OP. Or a giant merger or selling of a division. I had left OldJob on my own and they were not going to replace my position. A few months later the Huge Merger No One Thought Would Happen finally hit, and the office was made redundant (within 3 mo of my departure) and closed another 6mo later.

          2. Yorick*

            Fired or demoted, or just moved to another position. Then the new hiring manager might not know that someone was almost hired for this position recently.

            It might not be quite as bad as it looks, although disorganization and such from the top of the organization can be a huge problem. I was at a university that got new administration who just loved to move things around, and our department went sharply downhill (all the productive faculty members left within 2 years).

          3. Triplestep*

            Entirely plausible, but then reasonable people at reputable companies let the hire go through, even if they have to retool the job a bit. They don’t risk hurting people’s careers and incomes and their own reputation by pulling an offer after someone has given notice.

            1. Eliza*

              There are situations where that might not be practical, like if the entire department the new hire was going to work in got outsourced or otherwise no longer exists, but the fact that they’re now advertising for the same position again suggests this isn’t one of those times.

        2. College Career Counselor*

          Sometimes there is miscommunication and someone posts the wrong job. I was a finalist for a position a couple of years ago (didn’t get it) and had a conversation with the search consultant I’d been working with.

          SC: I’d like to talk with you about a position at University X…
          Me: The one that was just posted?
          SC: Yep, that’s the one.
          Me: Was there a failed search? Because the job that’s posted is the one you told me last week was filled. I mean, I’m no expert, but starting the new director’s tenure off by re-posting the job they’ve just accepted is….awkward.
          SC: [heavy sigh] ….that would explain some of the emails and calls I’ve been getting today and is why I like to manage to manage the process myself.

        3. Dan*

          Well, that assumes the hiring manager knew what was going on, which may or may not be true. As I mentioned, this is a situation where I’d really like to know what went on behind the scenes.

        4. Yvette*

          Another department is possible. Lots of companies have departments with similar functions and similar jobs. Using the wording of a previous job may have been a way to save time.
          But I can totally sympathize with your annoyance and frustration.

    3. Antilles*

      I wouldn’t actually want the job, but I’d absolutely still want to call the hiring manager and follow up. If for no other reason than the fact that me calling them sounding confused forces them to directly explain that they were being a jerk (and, if they’re any remotely decent human being, feel at least a twinge of guilt even though they’re not likely to admit that to you or apologize).

    4. Raider*

      OMG it’s causing me anxiety that the OP is even considering applying again after they yanked the offer after OP had put in his/her resignation.

        1. Jules the Third*

          OP says NewJob, as advertised and from the interview, is a good career step.

          OP, is your career path or industry small and unusual? Unless there’s something odd about your industry, there are a lot of good companies hiring right now; you can get that career step from a company that doesn’t jerk you around. This one isn’t really worth your time, unless you just want to satisfy your curiosity.

    5. tangerineRose*

      At the very least, I’d need to know what happened. Unless there’s a very good explanation, I wouldn’t want to work for them.

    6. ThatGirl*

      As I was anticipating an offer (so, not quite as far in as this) I got the news that the hiring manager had been let go in some restructuring. That made me afraid they wouldn’t hire anyone for the position after all. I did end up with an offer, but it was an anxious week or so as I waited, and I found out later that they had been scrambling around figuring out who I was going to report to.

      Getting that far in, though… you might think someone would have alerted HR that they should put a hold on things, someone had to know it was coming.

    7. Artemesia*

      This. Don’t touch this with a pole. And count yourself lucky that they didn’t ‘restructure’ two weeks after you arrived. I know three people who accepted great jobs that were steps ahead of where they were and offered great raises and then had the jobs disappear within 6 weeks to 6 months of accepting the position leaving them high and dry and having left their previous position. One person was hired back but the other two were just out of luck.

  3. CBH*

    Hi OP I’m glad you are able to restart your job search. I know this is a great opportunity for you, but do you really want to work for a company, that for restructuring or cowardly reasons, put you in such an awkward situation?

  4. HS Teacher*

    I had that happen once with a job that waited three weeks from offer and acceptance to tell me they were rescinding their offer. In that time, I turned down other offers because it was the job I really wanted.

    It’s a horrible way to treat a potential applicant, not to mention it can harm your reputation in the community.

    1. SushiRoll*

      OP should put it on Glassdoor. I don’t think they could put it in the actual reviews section as they never did work there but they could put it as an interview review.

      1. CatCat*

        You can leave a candidate interview review. I did that once after getting ghosted (following a long phone interview and an in-person interview).

      1. OP*

        I wish! But it’s a tiny company and there would be no way for me to do so anonymously. I’m very early in my career and complaining publicly gives me anxiety.

        1. Sara*

          I don’t think that anyone in the industry will look down on you for sharing a true story about this company’s horrible actions.

        2. Bea*

          Honestly you don’t need to worry about it, complaining publicly isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You’ll get past this cruddy experience and feel better that it’s not traced back to a review down the road, this company is probably circling the drain anyways.

          1. Pollygrammer*

            I wouldn’t actually put in a review, as gratifying as it might be. Too much risk to relationships and reputation, with no reward besides a bit of gratification.

            1. teclatrans*

              I think Glassdoor is like Yelp — you have to know how to read for cranky people, personal vendetta’s, poor reviewers, and shills. But you can still glean a lot of info, especially when there are multiple reviews to compare and contrast. (That said, I think OP is probably right to not want to burn Bridges here.)

          2. Mike C.*

            Yeah, if you’re totally ok with this happening to others who might not be as lucky as the OP to get their old job back then I don’t see any issues with never telling anyone.

            1. aNon*

              That’s not on the OP though. If it happens to another person, that’s the company being a bad company but it’s not on the OP and they don’t need to put themselves at risk (however small or big it may be) to report this.

              OP, you got very lucky with how this turned out considering you could keep your job and if you want to just wash your hands of the whole situation, that’s completely acceptable. You aren’t obligated to warn people in a public forum that can be traced back to you.

          1. Anonna Miss*

            This. I would leave a very fact-based review on Glassdoor.

            “Had a phone interview – went great. In person interview – went really well. Got the job offer – I was so excited. Offer rescinded after I gave notice at old job – OMGWTF.”

        3. hayling*

          At some point you should definitely consider it. You can be calm and matter-of-fact in your review.

        4. Still Looking*

          The company might be able to figure out who wrote it, but since you don’t have a job there, it doesn’t really matter. If you stick to the facts in your review you won’t look publically bad to people outside of the company who won’t know who you are anyway.

          I did this with a company last year after they pursued me hard on multiple interviews and said they were prepared to offer then suddenly backed out with a one liner saying I didn’t have enough experience. That excuse was absurd to the nth degree. The recruiter tried to reach them for more detailed feedback, and they ghosted him. It was all kinds of not cool.

          I plan to do the same once the dust settles on my current search. I had a company do something very similar but stopping short of an offer. It left my references and I dumbfounded. I have been contacted by multiple recruiters for the same job since and have seen it reposted. Everytime someone tries to recruit me for this job, I tell them about my experience and ask if they have any other positions available because I’m still looking!

          I’ve posted about this last week and the week prior in the Friday open thread under this user name.

  5. Ann Furthermore*

    OMG. That is awful. OP, I’m really sorry that happened to you. I think all you can do is move on. I wouldn’t reapply, or even reach out to anyone. I would be very skeptical of a company that treats people so shabbily before they’ve even worked a single day there.

    1. Lil Fidget*

      Yeah I somehow have a gut feeling that this company wouldn’t reach back out to OP anyway, even if s/he did re-apply. Unless the re-posting really was a mistake, it sounds to me like they decided way to late in the game that they didn’t want to hire OP, for whatever reason. If their original story was true, I would think they would have reached out to OP right away, and if there was uncertainty about the position being wanted or not, they could have requested a delayed start date (with pay!) while they figured that out – if they were really enthusiastic about bringing OP on board.

    2. MLB*

      I agree. If you reach out to confront the company, they will either lie to you or provide an answer that will not be satisfying to you. Consider yourself lucky that you dodged a bullet because this company sounds awful and move forward.

  6. Peggy*

    It’s also possible that the job was “restructured” in a way that someone in-house had to move into it rather than an outside hire. It’s possible that it was posted in error, or posted for a short time to fulfill an obligation to open the position up to the public when really, they already have someone moving into the role from within the company.

    That’s not an ideal situation either and it certainly doesn’t help YOU, but it may not have been a nefarious situation and it may not have even had anything to do with you!

    1. Penny*

      That’s my thinking as well. I live in a government town and the feds require that jobs are posted publicly even if they already know they’re hiring someone internally.

      1. Triplestep*

        Private companies do this as well. I once had an interview with a hiring manager who made it clear that I was completing against one of her direct reports. I was only there because her manager was forcing her to compare him to outside candidates. What a waste if a perfectly good excuse for sneaking out of work that afternoon.

        1. Peggy*

          Very true. A friend once emailed me about an opening at my company that he stumbled across online, and asked if I’d refer him. I had to tell him unfortunately, that was the public posting for my coworker’s role, she was moving from a temp contract worker to a full time hire and they had to post it for a set amount of time and accept resumes/interview candidates. But the temp was a superstar and the job rec was opened specifically so we could hire her, so we knew no one was going to edge her out during this process.

          1. Triplestep*

            Yup, this happened on one of my teams, too. Right now I’m applying to a role I highly suspect is tailored to an internal candidate at the company. It should require a higher degree, and one is just “preferred”, and only one year of an industry-standard software.

    2. Kathleen_A*

      Another possibility I thought of was that some of the people who were involved in the OP’s original…”hiring” have been restructured out of a job. In which case, it could be that whoever made the decision to hire her and then rescind the offer to her might not be the one who’s posted the job now.

      1. LBK*

        Yeah, or the position has been re-orged so that the role falls under someone else – so the hiring manager she spoke to genuinely doesn’t have that job available anymore because it no longer falls under her purview to hire for, but someone else still needs to hire for it. We’re doing some juggling like that at my company right now, and a person who might have been hiring for a position a month ago now has nothing to do with hiring for that role.

      2. Ophelia*

        It’s also possible – if the company is fairly large – that there are multiple positions with the same title in different departments, so that, combined with the restructuring means this is a genuinely “different” job. Doesn’t excuse the company’s failure to communicate appropriately with the OP, but might be an explanation.

  7. Dan*

    “they were sorry if this caused an inconvenience”

    There are times where the “if” should absolutely not be in a correspondence. I realize that the “if” is there in most cases to avoid the presumption that something was a problem when it really wasn’t, but this is one of those times where it’s proper to assume inconvenience and own it.

    As to whether or not OP should want/not want to work for such a disorganized company, that’s a judgement call. It also matters who sent the rescind, and whether the repost was an error or not.

    The thing is, at many companies, HR can operate in a vacuum, and may not be a reflection on how the rest of the company operates. (In fact, my current company is so large, I wouldn’t know the rank and file HR people if I passed them in the hall.)

    Or perhaps the company overall is great, but a particular manager just sucks. (Yes, one would still have to work for said manager for the forseeable future, but there is still such a thing as “getting your foot in the door” and the long term gain is worth the short term pain.)

    At my current employer, one of the guys who was on the interview panel just rubbed me the wrong way. Sadly, we was going to be my future boss. I rolled the dice and figured that was a high turnover position and I could suck it up in the short term.

    He left the company less than a year after I started, and I since transferred to a different department. All in all, I’m glad I rolled the dice.

    We all want to use the hiring/onboarding process as a litmus test as how a place will be to work for, and the reality is, I haven’t seen much correlation. That said, I’ve declined/withdrawn from a process when I truly didn’t want to work with/for a particular person, or the interview process was so messed up that I didn’t get a sense of what the job really entailed, how much it aligned with my expectations, or whether I could be happy there in the long run.

    1. Snark*

      “this is one of those times where it’s proper to assume inconvenience and own it.”

      Yep. You don’t shank someone in the back and say “Sorry if that hurts.” Reasonable guess is it does. Carry on as if.

    2. Anion*

      Yes, what they did to the OP really sucks, and OP deserved more than a “Sorry if it inconveniences you,” email. I’d think you maybe dodged a bullet, OP, but I’d also be very interested in the response if you do reach out.

      And I’d reach out if for no other reason than for all you know–and I hate to even suggest it, but hey, it’s possible–that email was sent in error or by someone who wanted their friend to get the job, and they expected you to show up on your scheduled first day. It’s a long shot, yes, and I hope it’s not the case, but stranger/worse things have happened, as we’ve seen here. (Wasn’t there a letter about something like this, where somebody was hacking HR’s emails or something?)

      1. Anion*

        To clarify: the email was sent by a rogue agent, and your supposed-to-be boss and department had expected you to show up, is what I mean. Or the rogue HR person told them you’d emailed and said you weren’t taking the job after all. (I think I phrased that confusingly above.)

    3. OP*

      My thought exactly and I specifically included their phrasing in the quote here. I understand that things happen occasionally but that line was insulting.

    4. ArtK*

      “If” is one of the hallmarks of a bad apology. It’s weasel-wording. Check out what the folks at Sorry Watch have to say about this kind of thing.

      1. When it rains...*

        It’s horrible! OF COURSE it caused an “inconvenience”! What an understatement.

      2. Chaordic One*

        I had never heard of this website site before. Thank you for mentioning it. It’s good.

    5. AdamsOffOx*

      The “if” is lawyer fodder. Nobody is ever allowed to admit wrongdoing or accept responsibility in writing for anything.

  8. Snark*

    Did anybody just hear a resonant thwonk? I think an HR department just walked into a Glassdoor.

  9. Anion*

    Yep, it happened to me once. I was offered the job at the end of the interview on a Friday, and told to call Monday morning to see when I should come in for training. I quit my other job, called Monday morning, and was told, “I’m sure you understand, we have other candidates to interview.”

    They called me back on Tuesday and told me to come in and start work after all; I did, the next day, when they plunked me at a desk with no training at all (it was a receptionist/typist job, but they didn’t even tell me the departments or who was in them, or introduce me to anyone–the typing was fine but I’d never even worked with a multiline phone like that, and nobody could hear me when I tried to call the warehouse because the speaker was on the wall), and then came to me two or three hours later to say it clearly wasn’t working out.

    To this day I have no idea what happened with that. I’m not dumb, I mean, I didn’t hear the guy say something like, “I hope you’ll be working with us,” and misconstrue it, but he seemed totally surprised that I thought I had the job. He specifically told me to call him on Monday morning to find out what time I should come in to start training, but did I misunderstand that somehow? I was barely nineteen, so all of my previous jobs had been “hired at the end of the interview, call to see when you’ll come in for training etc.,” but maybe he meant it in a different way? And if they were interviewing other people, why would he have told me to call him on Monday after a Friday-after-closing interview?

    It was just all very weird and upsetting. I wasn’t disappointed to not work there, but it did suck to be unemployed (I didn’t even know I could ask my current job if I could stay/come back). I found another job fairly quickly, but still. I still think of it as probably the most bizarre interview/job experience I’ve had, or at least one of the top two or three.

    1. sap*

      This one sounds like them. You don’t fire someone 2 hours into a job because it’s “not working out” unless they’re like bodily functioning in the lobby or cursing at everyone, so… I doubt there were TWO unreasonable actors there.

      1. Anion*

        Lol, I was definitely not doing that, I was just sitting there at the desk typing forms and answering the phone, and trying to figure out where calls were supposed to go and how to connect them, to the best of my ability. I felt totally lost and alone, and had never actually worked in an office before. It was pretty awful.

        Now that I think of it, I wasn’t shown where the bathrooms or break room was, either, which makes the whole thing seem even weirder; I guess they never expected me to really stay. (And I think the owner handed me a twenty when I left, heh–I’m pretty sure I didn’t fill out any tax forms or anything, either, though I could simply have forgotten that part.)

        Thanks! It’s good to know I’m not crazy thinking this was all very strange!

      2. essEss*

        When I was in college, I had the same thing happen to me. I was interviewed for a job at a eyeglass company (for a “dispensing optician” role), got a call that I had the job. A couple days later I was called and told that I didn’t actually have the job yet because they needed to do more interviews. Got a call a couple days later that I had the job. A couple days later they said that they needed to do another phone interview with me. Finally they said I had the job and told me to show up on X day at Y time to start. I showed up, they looked surprised They put me in a back room with training manuals and had me spend 2 hours reading the manuals on how to do proper fittings and dispensing. The district manager was in the store that day but he didn’t say 2 words to me. The store manager came in after 2 hours, told me that the district manager said that I wasn’t working out and they escorted me out of the store and told me that I wasn’t needed. They wouldn’t give me ANY specific reason no matter how many times I pleaded with them to tell me why I was being fired.

      1. Anion*

        You know, that never occurred to me before, but yeah, they did, didn’t they? Like they expected me to just know how to do all of these things, and I was very clear when I interviewed what my experience was (typical teenage-kid jobs, phone jobs, that sort of thing). So how I was expected to know how to handle a multiline phone and magically know how to connect calls or notify people they had calls, even, I don’t know.

        1. Drive it like you stole it*

          Even if you’d previously handled a multi line
          phone system they all have their quirks and differences. Someone would still have to show you how that specific one worked before setting you loose.

          1. Anion*

            Yes. The most I’d dealt with to that point was call-waiting! And some of those multiline systems can be really complex; looking back I think theirs was fairly straightforward, but it seemed really complex, made even worse by the fact that I was literally trying to connect to people I hadn’t met in rooms I hadn’t seen and had no idea where they were, and in one of those rooms they couldn’t hear me.

      2. Jules the Third*

        Dear god, I hope temps get shown the bathroom and handed an employee directory…

        1. Anion*

          Lol, so do I, unless they want to have a real problem on their hands. That would definitely be something to let a person go after a few hours for, though, wouldn’t it? “Sorry, Ann, but we don’t think it’s going to work out. You, uh, you peed in our potted plant in the corner there.”

        2. Shinobi*


          Yeah I got in trouble working as a temp at one job because there was a dress code that no one had bothered to mention to me? That was fun.

          But I also had a lot of good temp gigs where I sat in front of the phone (after someone had shown me hwo to use it because they are all different) and read harry potter.

          1. Anion*

            SMH. Who yells at a temp for that, without first making sure they were informed? The psychic abilities some companies seem to expect…

          2. essEss*

            Oh yes… Similarly I had a temp job that I wanted to make a good impression so I showed up half an hour early. They put me to work but kept making passive aggressive comments about my being late. I finally went to the boss and asked why they kept saying I was late when I made a point to be early. Turns out my temp company told me that it started at 9, I showed up at 8:30, but the office had expected me at 8 so they weren’t planning to keep me because I was “unreliable” until I called the temp agency and they confirmed to my manager that they had told me 9.

            1. Anion*

              Ugh. At least you got it sorted out–but you’d think they would have asked why you were late like normal people, instead of just making little comments.

    2. Bea*

      I’ve ran into some psychopaths who think you absorb their jobs and equipment by mind power itself.

      The fact he told you they’re still interviewing and then the next day was like “hey yah come on in” makes it sound like he hired two people. That Monday was probably started out by another person being fired after 2 hours.

      This would haunt me too! I’m still reminded of the idiot who hired me on as a temp and demanded we never ever leave scissors on our desks because the warehouse crew may grab them and do harm to one another (w.t.f), he then let me go three days in because Someones Daughter could do my job and was cheaper than what he paid the temp agency…

      I walked to my car in a daze but my temp agency called within minutes to tell me someone else had called to get me after their first choice was a flop. I was at that place for over a decade and still remember the guy who thought someone was gonna be murdered by some office scissors.

      1. annakarina1*

        I left a part-time job of three years for a full-time job, and got fired three days into it because I couldn’t handle the overload of work they gave me. I had told them I was mostly skilled in administrative work, but they gave me a lot of accounting work, little to no training for it, put a lot of pressure on me, then let me go on the third day because they didn’t think I was a good fit. I was pissed, and too embarrassed to go back to my previous job, so I ended up living on unemployment for a year while working temp jobs, going on tons of interviews, and struggling on welfare until I started library school and got paid intern jobs, and haven’t had many gaps of unemployment since, in my current job for a year now.

        1. Bea*

          There is a place in hell for people who think throwing people into accounting casually is going to work. I was eased into it over the course of 6 months and that was accelerated and I’m a numbers junkie so it clicked.

          I’ve been asked to train the most random people in full charge bookkeeping in a week or so. Fml

        2. Anion*

          That is awful, I’m so sorry that happened to you! Like Bea says, there’s a special place in hell for those people, or anyone who refuses to give new employees (or older ones) any support like that. Starting a new job is scary enough without having to do it with no training or help.

          1. annakarina1*

            Yeah, they let me go because they said I wasn’t moving fast enough or learning fast enough. It was the first week! The person who “trained” me for about a half hour was this sourface receptionist that treated the process like a drudgery, and I found most of the people to be snobby artsy types who were very ignorant of the local neighborhood (I had mentioned passing by the housing projects on my way to work, and one acted as if he didn’t know what they were, so there was a major ignorance of class disparity) and just seemed up their own ass. I was just so desperate to get out of my long-time part-time job that I jumped at this chance, and it ended up bombing. I do regret being way too eager to leave my previous job, which was really four days a week with filling in for others, so it was practically a full-time job with no benefits and low pay.

            I learned my lesson, and was way more careful about the kind of jobs I signed on to in the future. And I have always had a knee-jerk reaction of hating hipsters and rich snobs, so it isn’t a surprise that I never fit in well with those job environments, but always got along better with salt of the earth regular people at other jobs.

        3. EvilQueenRegina*

          That sounds like the temp job I also lasted three days in with an accounting firm in 2005, although there was something odd going on there.

          Basically it became apparent that I, one temp, had been hired to take on the role left by two full time temps who had abruptly ended the job on the same day (I did wonder if there was a story there but I never found out what it was). Their regular agency, Agency A, had been unable to supply any candidates at the time and so they had gone through my then-agency, Agency B.

          When I was being introduced to people, it was “This is EvilQueenRegina, she’s doing what Spike was doing” or “she’s doing what Xander was doing”. When I’d done the post on the first day there were invoices from Agency A for a Spike and a Xander. However, as there was someone else called Spike in the team I initially thought the invoice related to that Spike, until I heard him on the phone introducing himself by a different last name. The person training me had tried to suggest that I didn’t do the post on the first day even though it was going to be my task, and I later wondered if that was why.

          On the third day there was this real atmosphere when I walked in and I was told I “needed to speed up”, before being told in the afternoon that I wasn’t being kept on because “they needed someone really fast”. One person who had been there less than a week (and had been kicked out of the system so others could use it for an hour, at that) is never going to be as fast as two people who had been doing it for ages.

          My previous temp assignment was no longer available to me. At the time I felt I had no means of flagging it with the agency as I had also found out that Harmony, the recruitment consultant at Agency B who placed me, was dating the Spike who was still there. (Later I wondered whether the fact that it was her who placed me had been a red flag because of her relationship with Spike and some HR type person had felt it was inappropriate, or even that they had some kind of contract to specifically use Agency A).

          I’ll never really know, and chose to shut the door on it, it was 13 years ago now anyway, not long after I finished uni.

          1. Anion*

            Yeah, that’s weird all around–and the expectation that you’ll be able to just zip along as fast as people who’ve been doing it for ages is ridiculous. I did data entry for a while, and got to a point where I could enter a form in the system in like thirty seconds (it was just three or four minor bits of info), but I certainly wasn’t that fast in the beginning, and never expected new people to do it that quickly!

            I bet they did have some kind of contract with Agency A, too, though. I know the place where my husband used to work had one with a particular agency.

            1. EvilQueenRegina*

              They also acted weird and jumpy when I’d asked whether an empty desk was somebody’s who wasn’t there that day, or just an empty one. I’d thought it was an odd reaction, but thought no more of it. Afterwards I thought the empty desk must have been the one used by one of the two temps.

              It wouldn’t be the only time I’ve known somewhere have a contract with a specific agency. A friend once had an issue where she’d started a long term temp role, and she’d started through one agency, but while she was there things changed and the employer set up a contract so all new temp roles had to go through a different one. They had tried to create a new role for her through the second agency, but she had to wait a few weeks to start so that they didn’t have to pay a fee to the first.

      2. Anion*

        I never thought of that before, but that’s a really good explanation–that they’d hired someone who didn’t work out the day before. Or, they hired a person the day before who couldn’t be there that morning for some reason, so they figured they’d have that dumb kid come in and cover the phones for a few hours, and they’d get rid of her by lunchtime when Real Employee came in.

        And yeah, the guy knew what my work history was–I was nineteen, I’d mostly sold concessions at a movie theater and on the beach, and taken orders/dispatched drivers for a restaurant delivery service; nothing in an office at all. (The delivery service job was actually pretty responsible and required some skill and intelligence–I was basically managing the place at night–but still wasn’t an office job.) So how he thought I was going to just use osmosis to know everything in an office with like ten departments is beyond me, and nobody else was exactly going out of their way to be helpful.

        And omg that’s ridiculous/hilarious about the scissors. My dad hires a lot of parolees/ex-cons at his job (he manages a factory–he likes to give them a chance and they’re usually pretty reliable thanks to parole conditions) and to my knowledge he has never been worried they were going to shank each other with scissors on the factory floor! That’s some serious-level weird right there. I wouldn’t forget that, either, and thank goodness the temp agency had another placement for you after that nonsense.

        1. Bea*

          My long term job afterwards was mostly old timers my boss got from work release programs and they stuck around. They were pissy and got into arguments but never stabbed each other that’s for sure!

          1. Anion*

            Heh, I’m pretty sure my dad’s never had a stabbing-with-scissors or anything else happen! He’s mentioned a few guys who didn’t get along great but yeah, no full-fledge physical fighting, much less stabbings with office equipment.

            One of the guys he hired as a parolee has been there so long he’s a manager now himself (years after his parole ended), and has a wife and family; my dad is super proud of that/him, and I’m proud that my dad gives them a chance (except certain types of offenders, the kind who have to register. He won’t hire them. There are too many women in the office, even if he didn’t personally have an issue with that type of crime. Anything else, fine, but not–generally–that type of crime) and helps many of them turn their lives around.

    3. Specialk9*

      I had a weird similar situation, where the woman interviewing me kept talking as if of course I had the job and had to do X, Y, Z. I was so confused – I (correctly) thought that wasn’t how interviews and job offers went. I tried to clarify, and she became angry at my presumption and proceeded to lecture me for my ignorance. Later, working for a better dept at the same company, I finally asked my new manager what was up with that, and he just rolled his eyes and said that manager was (in a politer way) a total dingbat. So yeah, bullet dodged. I’ve never had such a bad interviewer since.

      1. Anion*

        Ugh! Glad you ended up in a better dept. away from her! Who interviews like that? And especially then gets angry at an interviewee’s quite reasonable confusion and lectures them, instead of thinking perhaps they explained something poorly or have been unclear?

        I’m not surprised she’s a ditz. IME it seems to (usually) be the people who are not especially smart who are always convinced they’re perfect geniuses and anyone who doesn’t understand their ramblings is stupid, instead of thinking there must be some sort of miscommunication. Dunning-Kruger rears its ugly head once again. (Obviously that’s a generalization and not always true, just I’ve found it to often be true.)

    4. Faintlymacabre*

      For the record, I do not think that is what happened here, but how funny would it be if you’d just gumptioned yourself into a job?

      1. Anion*

        Hahahaha! Oh, I wish/hope that might be the case! I’ll be one of those grumpy old women saying, “I just called up and acted like they’d hired me, and made them give me a start date! Gumption works, kid! pretend you work there!”

  10. Fergus*

    A little bit off topic but related. I had a company give me a start date. The FSO called me to check my clearance. For some reason and I don’t know why went to the in house recruiter and told him I was extremely unprofessional and rude. I was not at all in that conversation. The HR dude then wrote me an email reprimanding me for something I did not do. I was supposed to start the next day. I just didn’t show up for the job. I, in no way wanted to work there after the HR person thought it was ok to reprimand me as an employee, and I wasn’t even an employee the day before my start date.

    1. Anion*

      Wow, not even a “FSO said you seemed kind of snappish on the phone, was there a problem?” Just berating you, without getting your side of it?

      Sounds like the FSO wanted a friend in that job instead of you.

    2. Super Secret Squirre*

      I have had one – ONE – clever hardworking government security officer. Otherwise it seems like a job for people who washed out of other jobs. Which is ironic given the importance of the work.

  11. PB*

    “They were sorry if this caused an inconvenience.”


    My dry-cleaning being done on Monday instead of Friday is an inconvenience. This is a life-changing, career-altering move that could have led to you having no income for a period of time. What an awful thing to do to someone, and the way they’re brushing it off like it’s NBD is making me fume.

    I wouldn’t apply again, OP. I’d consider this a bullet dodged.

  12. Jennifleurs*

    I once had a similar thing happen but earlier on in the process – I’d been for an interview (at one day’s notice, halfway across the country), and the next day got an email which said this:

    “Unfortunately, we have undergone some internal changes which means we will no longer be looking to fill this position.”

    When I responded and said, um, the job has just been reposted (I got an alert for it) they replied with:

    “Apologies for the confusion, there has been a misunderstanding on my part.

    We have sourced a selection of candidates that we will be assessing and interviewing over the coming weeks, who have experience with us previously or have extensive experience in SEO copywriting / industry specific copywriting. Unfortunately, this means that we will not be taking your application further as we feel these candidates would be better suited to the role that we require in-house and in the time frame that we require. Naturally, the job adverts will remain live until we come to a definitive decision.”

    So, had the guy actually misunderstood, or had he just been called out? I’ll never know.

    1. Anion*

      Wow. Pretentious and insulting. I think he was called out; I don’t see what he could have misunderstood there. What a creep.

    2. essEss*

      I had a buddy who had been offered a permanent job in another country in another department in his company. He had traveled there several times to meet with the boss at that department, completed all his leaving from his current department and had already signed a lease on an apartment. Then they suddenly pulled the “we’re restructuring and implementing a hiring freeze so you don’t have this job any more, and we already filled your previous job” on him.

  13. OP*

    Hi, OP here. Just a few more details to flesh out the situation: it’s an extremely small business (5-10 people) in a small/interconnected industry. There was no HR, just the owner of the business and her assistant. The assistant is the one I had all of my email interaction with both before and after the interview process.

    I did end up emailing again with a short note acknowledging the situation with my resume reattached. No response yet but my hopes aren’t high. As a few people have pointed out I’m not sure I could feel confident enough in a future offer from them to accept, but I thought I’d give them the chance to explain if it really was all a misunderstanding. And maybe make them squirm to see my name pop back up if it wasn’t.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      The fact that it’s a small business is a pretty big red flag. It’s far less likely to have been a miscommunication and we have definitely seen plenty of horror stories here about how dysfunctional small companies can be.

      1. RVA Cat*

        Dollars to donuts they’re family-run, too. I’m guessing the offer was rescinded because a relative wanted the job but then flaked out.

    2. beanie beans*

      Oh man, if it’s that small, I would steer clear of that company! Although I’d be curious what their explanation was! There would have to be some serious explaining and lengthy apologizing for me to even consider taking another offer from them.

    3. Nea*

      A 10-person shop without HR that treated you that rudely? RUN AWAY SCREAMING. They’ve shown you what they’ll be like to work with. Believe them.

      1. AMPG*

        THIS. The only forgivable way something like this happens is when a company is large enough that some wires got crossed somewhere. In an office this small, the only reasonable conclusion is that it’s full of Evil Bees.

        1. The Vulture*

          Yep, everyone was too busy swatting evil bees or BEING evil bees that LW got thrown under the stampede of frantically moving feet & hands.

        1. Close Bracket*

          [Please actually do this, and report back.]

          [kidding of course, don’t actually do that.]

          1. Batshua*

            I would pay good money for someone to do this as a prank, but it would have to be someone who wasn’t invested in this particular job and industry, because it’s gonna get them branded as someone who’s totally unaware of work norms.

    4. Raider*

      NOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooo. Run. A 5-person to 10-person business is not “restructuring.”

      1. The Original K.*

        I had the same thought! Like, how much restructuring could there be with 10 people?

    5. Fiennes*

      I know it’s not much consolation, but I really think you dodged a bullet there. If the management would jerk you around like this for your job offer, they’d jerk you around in other ways too.

    6. GreyjoyGardens*

      Oh no. Do not pass go, do not collect $500, do not look for another job at this company ever again. A small company with no HR and no doubt everything is at the whims of the owner is all too often a breeding ground for toxicity and Dunning-Kruger all the way down.

      Being that this is a small, close-knit industry, while it’s tempting to leave a scathing review on GlassDoor, that might not be a good idea this early in your career. Word tends to get out anyway. Though if someone asks you “Would you work for Teapots, Inc.?” feel free to tell them what happened to you and let them decide.

    7. LBK*

      Yikes – yeah, the org being that small throws a lot of reasonable explanations out the window.

    8. crochetaway*

      Oh, small business? I would def not take that job then. Like all the previous commenters, stay far away. Hopefully, your job search goes better this time around!

    9. Call centre worker*

      I was going to comment to say that the restructuring and identical-looking job being posted soon afterwards doesn’t seem implausible to me as they could have multiple jobs with the same title and JD in different departments, or poor communication with their recruitment dept. However a company that small doing “restructuring” seems unlikely!

      I would keep in mind though what Alison said about some job sites scraping possibly out of date vacancies off other sites though, if it wasn’t the same site you saw it on the first time.

    10. SpaceNovice*

      As the other commenters said–this is a small business and is a reflection of how your bosses will treat you. Run away!

    11. Bea*

      Restructured a 15 person company…..nope nope nope, these people are dumpster fires and they’re broke!!!

      1. Bea*

        Ps they are clearly lying liars but this is not SOP for this size of company. The crazy hate for small companies around here is starting to give me anger pains.

        1. Specialk9*

          It’s not crazy to be wary of any organization that doesn’t have professionals making sure they’re complying with labor laws. It’s not “crazy hate” to have experienced the fact that without said labor law professionals, some illegal and unethical stuff can and often does happen. I’m glad you’ve had a good experience with a small business or two (or are the owner) but there is nothing crazy about the concern.

          1. jo*

            It depends on your industry and its norms. I wouldn’t be wary of “any organization” within my industry that is small, because the vast majority of them are small, and there are so many professional and social connections among the people in them. The owners are careful of their reputations, and it would be seen as paranoid and out of touch to give them side-eye just for being small. Stuff like compliance with labor laws (and with basic professional norms!) isn’t likely to be an issue because word of mouth will quickly damage any company that isn’t on the level. There’s even an industry site that lists known shady operators (though it’s geared more toward prospective clients than workers). The OP may not feel comfortable actively badmouthing this employer or posting on Glassdoor etc., but s/he can and should be matter-of-fact about this experience if the company’s name comes up in conversation later.

            If this had happened to me, and my next job interviewer asked me why I was job searching, I wouldn’t hesitate to say something like, “I was actually supposed to be working for Org X by now, but they pulled my job offer after I had already given notice at Org Y. I’m fortunate that Org Y was understanding about my situation, and I’m still looking to leave them only because I want to move my career in a different direction.” Or if I didn’t say it in the interview, I’d probably mention it after starting at my new job. “You know, I was supposed to be at Org X by now, but [insert story]. I’m so glad I ended up here instead!”

        2. jo*

          Yeah, from the comments here I have to guess that in some industries, small companies often = bad management, but that hasn’t been my experience in my industry. There’s a whole segment of my industry (literary agencies, within book publishing) that is almost entirely made up of small (even tiny) businesses, and those tend to be more collegial environments than the gigantic agencies.

          The company OP applied to was probably 1) run by at least one total jerkface, or 2) a nepotistic org where a relative or friend made noises about wanting the job OP was offered, or 3) outrageously disorganized and/or financially all over the place. Its size isn’t irrelevant here, but company size isn’t something you can make generalizations on without any other information.

        3. Kate 2*

          What Specialk9 said. I have worked for 1 extremely professional family-run small business, 1 extremely UNprofessional small business, and 1 somewhere in between. Having an HR, even just 1 person to say “That’s illegal”, makes a HUGE difference. At one small business the bosses were totally unaware that demanding an hourly employee work unpaid overtime was illegal, as just one example of how little they knew about labor laws.

          1. GreyjoyGardens*

            I think that with very small companies, the owner is key. If the owner is decent and competent, and especially if there is even one HR person, the company is likely to be at least OK to work for. It’s when you get an owner who is bullying, personality disordered, incompetent, flaky, etc., and/or the company employs toxic family, that the organization becomes toxic; in a small business, the owner’s personality and capability dictate everything, for better or/and worse.

          2. Michaela Westen*

            Even without knowing it’s against the law, a good manager will know it’s unethical.

    12. MissDisplaced*

      I’m sorry this happened to you.
      It’s very possible the job posting renewed automatically, so I don’t know how much I’d read into that. My former company used to leave them up for months and months even when the position was cancelled.
      But it still stinks that they cancelled the job after you’d given notice.

    13. Ellie*

      The first company I worked for was like this… only 10-20 employees, the owner’s wife did all the HR work, and the owner himself was a coward who couldn’t fire people face to face. The place did great work but was so badly run! My best guess is they liked you, hired you, then there was some panic about funding/payroll that meant they weren’t sure if they could hire you after all. Now the crisis is over and they really do need someone in that position, but they’re to embarrassed to contact you again… or maybe I’m projecting, but that original email plus no response now says cowards to me.

      If it’s a small industry I’d just let it go, preserve your own reputation, and look for a better place to work. You don’t want to work for a place that would do this (the place I worked for went under btw).

        1. GreyjoyGardens*

          Owner’s wife, owner’s daughter, family friend…(I’ve seen all of these) when a company’s HR department is family, RUN. Chances are either it’s “my family right or wrong” or good ol’ Dunning and Kruger have taken over.

    14. Stitch*

      I could TOTALLY see this happening at a literal mom-and-pop place I used to work at. “Mom” was always promising things and smoothing over concerns, and “pop” was always shooting the breeze and pretending nothing could ever go wrong. So it wouldn’t surprise me if “mom” decided that they needed a new hire and did all the legwork for it before “pop” decided they were fine as they were and stopped the process. They were toxic in general, but when two or more people have equal hiring/firing power and they aren’t on the same page, it’s a problem.

  14. crochetaway*

    I had something super similar happen to me right when I was beginning my career. Except my current job was at a collections agency where if you gave them 2 weeks notice, they’d show you the door that day. So I quit my job on a Friday, due to start the new one on the following Monday. Then Friday evening, 2 hours after I quit my job, I got a phone call telling me that a merger that my job depended on didn’t go through (all of which was news to me, I had no idea my job depended on a merger).

    So I didn’t have a job on Monday. Or an old job to fall back on. I got a very similar ‘sorry for the inconvenience’ from them too. And the hiring manager actually said: ‘don’t you have something else lined up?’ Er… in case of the job that I had already accepted fell through, who has something else lined up???

    Thankfully, I called my old manager and they took me back, but it was a very scary weekend.

    That company did later offer me a job, like months later they called me out of the blue to offer me a job, but I had not only moved on but was in the process of moving to a different city. Nor would I have accepted that job if my circumstances had been different.

    No advice, just shitty commiseration. Sorry, that happened to you OP. I agree with Allison, reach out to the hiring manager, to see what’s going on, but I wouldn’t take the job.

      1. Irene Adler*

        That stinks.

        I would have accepted that job they offered months later, then taken a powder. Let them have a taste of their own medicine.

        1. crochetaway*

          I was not nearly that vindictive then. Haha! It was 10 years ago and I was a pretty naive kid then.

    1. sap*

      “don’t you already have something else lined up?” Is such a bizarre question. Like, would it have been fine for you to call them on Monday and tell them you’d actually decided to go with the backup offer you’d accepted?

      1. crochetaway*

        Right? I remember saying to the guy ‘Uh, no, because I thought I had a job.’

        My big lesson there was, I never got an offer letter, and considering this would have been my 2nd job post-college, I wasn’t sure how common they were. (FWIW the job I had after that one also didn’t do offer letters). So I didn’t think to ask for it. Now, I make damn sure I get an offer letter.

        1. Lil Fidget*

          TBH, in the US at least a letter doesn’t really protect you either. They can still change their minds, even with a letter. Although it will certainly cut down on the confusion of whether you were literally offered a job, which is a point of confusion in a few of these comments!

          1. Autumnheart*

            I’ve had that happen to me. I was verbally offered the job, given a tentative start date, and told that an offer letter would go out that afternoon (Friday interview, so projected Monday receipt of letter). When Tuesday or Wednesday rolled around and no letter had arrived, I reached out to my recruiter (who I’d kept in the loop about this as per SOP) and *they* had to track whoever down and find out that oh yeah, never mind about that offer, it’s not gonna happen.

            This was during the dotbomb era and the industry was going through a lot of upheaval, but suffice to say that the lesson to not consider it official until you actually have a desk (although apparently even that isn’t foolproof!) has stuck with me. I interviewed and contracted for several start-ups, and their professionalism and follow-through in hiring and contracts were pretty terrible. Once I was one of about a dozen people hired for a two-month-to-hire contract for a company that is actually still around, whose FTEs were ridiculously overworked. One month in, they brought us all in and said, “Sorry, we’re letting you all go,” and we had nothing but to get our stuff and leave. They simply reneged on the contract and the recruiting agency just had to eat the loss—they certainly didn’t have the time and cash to sue. It was bad enough for me, since I was unemployed before then, but three of the people had been specifically headhunted by that company for their skillls, and convinced to leave their full-time positions to go work there. Canned after 6 weeks, at a time when you could expect to spend 6-12 months looking for a new job.

            It’s been 16 years since then but it doesn’t seem like start-up culture has changed very much.

            1. Autumnheart*

              Oh, and then that same company had all those positions listed again within a month, which was really typical behavior at the time. You’d get hired for a contract, they’d let you go the minute their financials took a dip, and then you’d see your same position posted a few weeks later but forget about ever being hired back. The company I work for now is the only place I’ve ever worked that not only strives to rehire contractors that they have to let go, but makes a point of converting contractors to FTEs when the departments are allowed to increase headcount.

        1. Breda*

          Still! A polite person would have removed themselves from consideration once they accepted another job.

    2. Fergus*

      I consider jobs like this the girl who kept asking to go out with you, you say yes, and then she blocks your number, she’s a flake and run.

        1. Specialk9*

          Lol has this even once *ever* happened to you or anyone you know IRL?! That sounds like anti-woman urban legends that go around on 4chan.

      1. zaracat*

        Which could be because in the meantime she did a google search and discovered that you were an undischarged bankrupt with a a history of ripping other people off financially while somehow mysteriously managing to keep a house in an exclusive beachside suburb, and that you run an online business selling BSDM equipment which puts that weird convo about your black belt and how breaking your leg didn’t really hurt into a WHOLE new light. (true story)

            1. zaracat*

              not so much LDS as “scares the crap out of me, so no, I won’t be going for that drink after all”

            2. President Porpoise*

              You mean LSD? LDS is the actual acronym for Mormons, which makes this super funny to me.

  15. ohyeah*

    I would never ever work for that employer under any circumstances, that’s like going on a second date after being assaulted on first date, but I would inquire about the now-open-again position, if only to make them squirm. They probably won’t respond.

    Oh and GLASSDOOR GLASSDOOR all day long. Absolutely.

    1. Corporate Cynic*

      Agree – I’m all about making people squirm if they TRULY deserve it (as these loons do). But I would call so that they don’t have time to react!

  16. Seattle*

    I had to rescind a job offer once. The candidate was absolutely awesome but my non-profit has a shortfall that almost lead to us closing and we couldn’t take on more staff after all. I felt terrible, although at least it was for part-time work she was planning on doing on top of her regular job so she hadnt quit anything. I still check in with her every time we have a relevant job opening to see if she’s interested but she ended up taking a job in another state.

    1. TootsNYC*

      I had to cancel a freelance booking about a week before it was to start because they’d folded that entire line of business.

      I felt so awful that I cold-called around to people in similar positions at other companies and asked them if they needed someone or could think of anyone who needed a freelancer for the same timeframe.

      One guy said, “actually, yes, I desperately need someone.” He was the third person I called. He hired her, and it turned into a full-time job.

  17. RVA Cat*

    “a shortfall that almost lead to us closing”
    Since this is such a small company, I’m thinking if the offer hadn’t been rescinded, sooner or later the OP’s paycheck was going to bounce.

  18. Folly*

    OP, I’m wondering how much time passed between the company yanking the offer and the re-posting. I applied for a position and never heard back (no phone screen, no nothing). The job positing disappeared soon after. Six months later, I saw the exact same job posted again. I almost didn’t apply, thinking, ‘They have my resume already and are not interested in me.’ BUT, I was a good fit for this job and it didn’t make sense that I was even screened (yes, I was THAT good of a fit). So I applied again …. was called within 24 hours, phone screened, went on three rounds of interviews, was offered the job and accepted.
    Once on board for a bit, I asked about the previous posting. It seems that the position was posted and then executive management decided that the hiring manager for that position needed to be fired, was fired, there was some restructuring, and then the job was reposted and I was hired.
    I realize your situation is a LOT worse since they rescinded (which speaks badly of them, especially for not feeling like they owed you a conversation and some degree of explanation). But there may be something that happened that is now resolved … ??? Alison’s advise is good … reach out to your last point of contact and ask ‘this looks like the same position I received an offer for … can we re-visit this?’
    Who knows??
    (but a strike against them for how they handled rescinding your offer so proceed with caution)

  19. Who the eff is Hank?*

    I’m so sorry this happened to you, OP! I had a job offer rescinded because the previous person in the role, who had retired, decided they didn’t want to retire after all and the company took them back. I’m lucky that I had been to other interviews around the same time and was given an offer by one of those companies a few weeks later (I’m going on year 3 with them!).

    If I were in this position, I’d call the hiring manager and ask about the new job posting and if the position is actually available. Even if you don’t want to actually work for this company, you might get some closure.

  20. JoAnna*

    My husband was job-hunting in January, and he was given a verbal offer for one of the positions he interviewed for. He accepted the verbal offer, but decided to wait until he had received and accepted the written offer before giving notice at his current job. It’s lucky he did, because after more than a week went by with no written offer, they finally told him they had “re-evaluated their workflow” and decided not to hire someone after all. We suspected that they lost a major client or project or something. So, whew, bullet dodged. And luckily he found a much better job the next month.

    1. Specialk9*

      OP, this is the blunt version of what all of us are dancing around. We’re pissed on your behalf!!

  21. Macedon*

    Don’t touch them again. Not with a ten-foot pole, not with a poking stick. Their cavalier response under the circumstances tells you enough about them, even assuming the job re-post can be innocently explained.

    Nothing short of profuse apologies and some degree of financial compensation can follow withdrawing the offer of someone who has accepted it and acted on it, without committing any kind of wrongdoing on their end. They imperiled your livelihood, then casually floated the possibility that, hey, maybe it was just a liiiiittle bit inconvenient. Only a smidge.

  22. Mom MD*

    Could something have come up on your background check or a reference didn’t pan out?

    That terrible and I’m glad you kept your current job.

    1. SarahTheEntwife*

      I mean, it sounds like this company is horribly mismanaged so who knows what they’re doing, but don’t you normally do references and background checks *before* the final job offer? Especially reference checks?

  23. spek*

    Sorry this happened to you. I know it sucks – I relocated 500 miles for a job, moved all my things and rented a new apartment, and on my first day a VP from another division noticed my disability (I had been hired under a veteran’s program and had provided HR with a letter from my doctor stating I could perform the job with reasonable accommodation) and said I could not work there and sent me home. Only when I had a lawyer call them the next day did the GM intervene and tell me to come to work. You were lucky to be able to get your old job back. It’s a good lesson that no matter how much the job sucks, be a professional when you leave and don’t burn the bridge, no matter how much better a “Take this job and shove it” would make you feel.

      1. Spek*

        Not much else to say. I interviewed with my boss in my home town. We discussed the job and my disability. He needed someone to manage a remote site in another city. I got a written offer that included relocation, etc. I moved and on my first day, the remote site sent me home. Called my boss and he promised to take care of it. No other communication all day (I was at work and sent home all by 9:00). Contacted a lawyer the next day, and even though we are in an At Will state, there was still a good faith issue based on relocation and offer letter, and disability discrimination would probably also come into play. But he had an opening move before going through all that…he called and asked for address for service and within 3 hours I was back at work. I ended up with them for 4 miserable years, but the pay was good.

  24. GreyjoyGardens*

    The LW noted that this is a small and close-knit industry, so I don’t know if leaving a scathing review on GlassDoor is a good idea, especially this early in LW’s career. I hate to have to say this, but IME, small/close-knit industries can get away with a lot *because* they are close-knit.

    But don’t be tempted to go back to this company! It sounds dysfunctional, and given that there is no HR, it sounds like a bad risk all around. Small companies with no dedicated HR – not even one person who combines HR with office management – have the greatest potential to be dysfunctional, again IME, because they are pretty much at the whim of the owner (and all too often, the owner’s family! I’ve seen small “family” businesses operate as a kind of de facto sheltered workshop for the otherwise unemployable).

    Maybe because I’m old and cynical and cranky, but I think it’s always a good idea for people in small, close-knit industries to have a backup plan – if you couldn’t find work in your field, or if it’s a field riddled with dysfunctional employers, or you accidentally anger a Big Cheese who has the power to blackball you, what would you do for work? What other fields could you transfer to, what other skills do you have? It’s about not putting all your eggs in one basket.

    I’m glad this ended well for the LW in that they had their old job back. Employers need to realize that job seekers are taking a chance on them, and if they unavoidably *have* to rescind a job offer (reorganization, grant money withdrawn, etc.) offer something like severance or another job or *something* in return.

  25. Shinobi*

    Something similar happened to me at the job I had prior to this one. I had interviewed and accepted an offer with a delayed start date. (My current company had a large bonus package that I would forfiet if I left before it was paid out and so they were very understanding about giving me a few extra weeks.)

    Well the day I was going to give my notice they called and told me there had been some layoffs. Six months later they called me up again and I ended up working there for a little under two years.

    I can’t help but wonder if this could be a background check issue? My company conducts backgroud checks and drug screens and people who do not pass them will not be allowed to start. We’ve never had that happen yet, but I can imagine it would look something like this because of beaurocracy….

    I dunno, just a thought.

    1. GreyjoyGardens*

      Perhaps – but small companies with no HR aren’t always the most diligent at making background checks (which adds another layer to dysfunction when it’s present). Usually these kinds of job offers will *say* “contingent upon a background check” or something, at least if the company is doing its homework. I think in this case the company messed up.

    2. Bea*

      If a background check or drug panel comes back dirty, you usually state that as the purpose. If it’s a background issue they need to because you get false hits due to common names. My best friends dad had it happen, they called him and were flustered because his name popped as a child predator. They then found out he’s never been outside of the region and that was absolutely incorrect. They were able to then find his BG is clear. He was rightfully shaken up but so was the potential employer of course.

      If you fail a UA the doctor calls you. I’ve had friends get that call.

      1. essEss*

        I had a buddy lose an apartment that he was applying for because the management office did a background check on him but didn’t bother to use any actual id (like social security number). They only checked for his common first and last name. Turns out there is some violent offender in the same county with the same name as him and they decided it was him and refused to rent to him. By the time he was able to prove that it wasn’t him (by birthdate) they’d rented the place to someone else.

    3. OP*

      They didn’t say they would be doing a background check and I certainly didn’t give them any samples for drug testing. I was working at a school last year and I can’t imagine the background check for this job is more stringent than the one the school ran! I do have an out of state driver’s license. But the job does not in any way require operating a vehicle.

    4. Lindsay J*

      My company does drug screens and background checks, but when they don’t pass they’re told that they don’t pass (though I’m not sure whether or not they’re told specifically why they didn’t pass).

  26. Shawn*

    I’ve witnessed this happen to a friend before but in her instance, the job she quit wouldn’t allow her to stay. Luckily, she found something else very quickly. I’ve often wondered though…would the person have any legal recourse if resigning from your current job due to a job offer in writing? Does anyone know?

    And no way would I reapply with this company. Let’s say that this new job posting is in error and they approach the OP at a later date. I’d still decline.

    1. Bea*

      Job offers are always considered at-will and state it isn’t a contract. So no, they have no legal recourse.

      I didn’t even know job offer letters were a thing until moving to a new state that use them to adhere to labor laws about confirming wages in writing. I needed one anyways to get my apartment locked down when I moved so it was a relief there but it was just a wishy washy letter with a lot of confirmation of “we aren’t promising this job is yours for any set amount of time tho!!”

    2. CatCat*

      “I’ve often wondered though…would the person have any legal recourse if resigning from your current job due to a job offer in writing?”

      Depends on the jurisdiction, but probably not unless there was some bad faith involved or the offer was withdrawn for an illegally discriminatory reason (e.g., oh, candidate is [race/gender/disabled] then withdraw the offer). If you moved for the new job maybe detrimental reliance.

      1. jo*

        Would the person be abele to collect unemployment, I wonder? They’ve resigned from one job without being technically hired at another, but obviously the circumstances are unusual! I hope unemployment would be an option, though I have to doubt it.

    3. Startup HR*

      There is in some countries, although I’m assuming the OP is in the States. In the UK you’re entitled to one month’s pay if they recind an offer.

    4. Isabelle*

      I was wondering about this too! I’m not in the US and here once you have accepted a job offer a contract is automatically established. It doesn’t matter if you accepted by phone, email, text or snail mail. If the employer withdraws the offer they break the contract and you can sue them.

      1. SarahTheEntwife*

        The vast majority of jobs in the US are “at will” meaning you can quit at any time but they can also fire you at any time, including before you start. Employment contracts are very unusual in most fields.

  27. Drama Llama*

    I’m on the opposite side of this same problem. I offered a job to an applicant from another city. He needed several weeks to pack up and relocate here, which is fine. Recently, though, we realised he is not a good fit for our company. He’s incredibly courteous and deferential to me, and every other senior manager he’s dealt with. But I found out he’s been treating our receptionist quite rudely. The receptionist was responsible for organising a few admin stuff related to his employment. The tone in his emails to her are sometimes snippy. Not in an outrageously douchebag sort of way, but unnecessarily confrontational and just not….nice.

    That type of behaviour goes against our company culture. We’re the kind of workplace where everyone says their please and thank you. We’ve fired high achieving managers before solely because they were a bully to junior staff. Team work is so important, and everyone, including team leaders, are expected to behave professionally at all times.

    But I feel really bad rescinding the job offer because he’s already quit his job, found a house here, and booked his flights and everything else to start soon. My guilt is questioning whether this is big enough of a red flag to rescind. And if I’m going to rescind, what would be the best way to communicate it?

    1. Starling*

      At this point, don’t rescind. Tone in email is sometimes misleading. (If he were cussing at the admin, it’d be a different story.) But have a very direct discussion with him the day he walks in the door in which you let him know you’ve had some concerns about his success in your collegial environment due to his discourtesy in initial arrangements, and that his first few months are a period in which you’re evaluating for cultural fit as well as job competence. This will potentially put him on the straight and narrow, and if not, you’ve already told him that this is a problem that can end his employment.

    2. WeevilWobble*

      I really don’t think you can rescind an offer with someone who quit their job and is relocating based on email tone, which can be very subjective. That’s definitely something you can address with him.

      But I don’t think there is anyway you can take back this offer at this point and be the good guy in the situation. There is no best way. It’s a very bad thing to do.

    3. WeevilWobble*

      But if you are really going to do this the only way to do it is to speak to him directly (not email) and explain why. Rescinding a job offer is a Very Big Deal. Rescinding when they are uprooting their life to come to you is a much bigger deal. More so than letting someone go (at least then they have the experience on their resume, may be able to collect, and can even plan a little.) So, you would at least owe them to talk to them directly and honestly. And if it’s something you are really going to do then at least do it as soon as possible. Maybe he can get his job back.

      I do believe strongly in being kind to everyone you meet not based on rank. But unless someone is really OTT rude they usually deserve an extra chance.

    4. Bea*

      Speak to him and let him know he needs to be aware you do not like how he’s communicated with the receptionist. Tell him your company insists on being kind and courteous to every staff member and failing to do so will result in termination.

      Then see if he shapes up. If not, he can take a hike and figure out his life in a new city.

      He chose to move. He has to follow the guidelines to stay with your company but first he deserves the warning. This isn’t egregious enough to pull the offer but it is warranting a firm one time talk.

  28. Lara*

    I wouldn’t re-apply. They’ve shown you who are they are. If they pull this nonsense I’ll bet that working for them would be stressful and filled with bees.

  29. Anonymous for this*

    I too had a similar experience. I applied for and accepted a temporary seasonal position with the IRS (contingent on passing the background check). It was part of a group hire thing. The original advertisement mentioned the starting date, but I never had a formal interview. About two weeks before the position was to start I was “invited” to come in to be fingerprinted and have my photo taken for an I.D. badge. I was then told to wait for an email telling me when to come in to pick up the I.D. badge. Then… nothing. Totally ghosted.

    I phoned the H.R. department on the Friday before the job was to start, but no one was there so I left a voice mail message. I phoned them again on the following Monday morning when the job was to start and left another voice mail message. About noon I received an email from someone in the H.R. department telling me that I didn’t make the final selection and inviting me to apply for other positions there. No apology, even. Not even “if” I had been inconvenienced. I was unemployed at the time, so I hadn’t had the additional bad luck of quitting a job for another one.

    Still, I thought it was a really awful way to handle things and that they should have at least have let me know ahead of time that I did not make the final selection. I don’t think they would have even contacted me if I hadn’t left the voice mails. I suspect that they may have made job offers to more people than they actually had positions for as a contingency based on the idea that not everyone would pass the background check. I was probably not one of their first choices and when more people passed the background checks than expected, they didn’t say anything more to those who were deemed the least attractive candidate(s) such as myself.

    I’m wondering if I should apply there in the future. There aren’t that many positions that pay as well, so I might consider applying there again.

    1. Michaela Westen*

      You could consider it if you think you can be around workers like these IRS ones who don’t communicate, or some govt. workers are kind of, um, regulation-oriented. For example, I had a temp job in a govt. office where my group worked hard and helped each other. In the group in the cubes next to ours there was a woman who stopped working mid-morning and mid-afternoon and sat in the bathroom reading her novel for exactly 15 minutes because she was entitled to those breaks. My group didn’t like her because they had been swamped and she had had extra time, but she had refused to help them because she didn’t have to.
      Some govt. workers are like that – in other industries they wouldn’t last but they have strong protections. So if you think you can be patient with that, then go for it. :)

  30. Discordia Angel Jones*

    I know it’s late for a response to this (woop, time differences!), but I did have this happen to me once and so can’t resist responding.

    They did it over the phone on the Thursday before I was due to start on Monday, bearing in mind my notice period was a month, this was catastrophic. I think my reaction in the moment was “you’re joking right?”. The only reason I was able to continue in my old job was because one of my colleagues fought hard for me and they hadn’t hired someone else to take my place yet.

    I actually also wrote to Alison about it! But because I am in the UK and was asking law questions, it wasn’t something that could be answered here (although I did get a nice, sympathetic response, thank you Alison!).

    I ended up getting them to pay me the notice period they should have given me had I started at the job, and the guy who was to be my manager protested ignorance and anger at the whole thing, but I’m pretty sure he knew all along and just wanted to seem like he did nothing wrong.

    Now that a couple of years have passed nearly, I can see that it was definitely a bullet dodged. The company which rescinded the job offer got in trouble with our regulatory body, got fined heavily, and ended up laying off more than half its staff. I’m sure I would have been one of them.

    I’m now in a much better job (than either the job I was in at the time or the job which I was offered) which I probably wouldn’t have come across had I moved at that time, either. So, OP, the outlook isn’t all bleak!

  31. Ralph*

    But I’ve been assured that employers never do this and it’s a crime for candidates to even think of changing their minds.

  32. His Grace*

    OP, feel free to pass on this employer, even if this is a niche industry. As AAM has noted in the past, rescinding a job offer is a terrible thing to do, with serious ramifications for everyone involved. And furthermore, if this is how they treat candidates, imagine how they treat the employees.

  33. TeacherTurnedNurse*

    A situation like this was actually the final straw in my decision to change careers.

    I had been working for 5 years as an instructor at a university where tenured faculty kept retiring, but no tenured positions ever seemed to open up. I had been frustrated with academia for a while and was taking prerequisites to follow a dream and attend nursing school.

    Shortly before I was planning to leave my university, a position opened in curriculum development. I was a perfect skills match, and the director hiring for the position knew me well. She encouraged me to apply, interviewed me, and enthusiastically hired me.

    A few weeks later, she contacted me to tell me that the university had rescinded the funding for not only my position, but hers as well. We were both out of a position, out of the blue, with no warning or indication that this sort of thing was a possibility. She said she wouldn’t have begun hiring had she known there was potential for the funding to disappear.

    That moment essentially sealed my decision to return to school and begin my plan to become a nurse and leave academia behind.

  34. Jv*

    Somewhat similar. I had three interviews with a firm with progressively higher levels on management. So two days ago at around 4pm the internal recruiter calls and verbally offers me the position also I had filled out pre employment documents. I ask can I respond the next day mid morning as I wanted to discuss this with my spouse. At 830 I receive a call from the internal recruiter since I was hesitant in saying yes to the offer it is rescinded until I interview with more senior managers to determine if I really want the job. Did I ask something wrong to have basically overnight to respond. PS this is a large multinational firm

    1. Bea*

      No. This recruiter is terrible, you didn’t do anything wrong. Asking for anywhere up to a week to accept a job offer should not hurt you but sometimes you run into these people who get upset over it. It’s not the norm and you probably dodged a bullet.

      1. Jv*

        I have been a hiring manager and when I have had my internal recruiter make an offer I actually expect the candidate to say can you give me a few days or over the weekend to get back to you.

  35. lnelson1218*

    I was sitting on the other side of the desk when something like this happened. Except that the job was never re-advised.
    The company was looking for two people to replace those who had left. One of the candidates wasn’t working so unlike the second person didn’t actually give notice.
    Everyone was waiting for board approval to bring the two people on board. Then the board meeting got pushed out. The second person was going home for a vacation with the idea that she would be starting upon return. She gave her notice before leaving. Then I got the news (as HR) that not only would there be an re-organization, but yet a RIF. That whole department was let go. I really felt bad. I don’t know how the notifications went out to the two people. But I was gone as well with the RIF.
    Not a good situation.

  36. SQ*

    Same thing happened to me! I got an offer from my dream company as the first candidate. Signed my offer and confirmed the start date, the whole company and my family knew I got a new job. One week before my start date, I was called in, and told that they no longer need me due to an ‘internal’ business reason. It felt horrible. I was depressed for a very long time. After two months, the second candidate was hired……still don’t understand why, and it’s still a nightmare for me, as I haven’t found another job which can compare to that one.

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