employer rescinded my job offer — where did I go wrong?

A reader writes:

I had a job offer pulled last week, and I’ve reflected on it, but I still don’t know where I went wrong.

I interviewed with my would-be supervisor on Thursday. On Friday, the recruiter calls to extend a verbal offer for the position. I express that this is good news to hear, and I ask for some time to think it over (I intended to accept the job offer, but wanted time to receive/review the written offer letter and an opportunity to negotiate salary). The recruiter says, “Yes sure, would you like to take some time over the weekend to think about it?” I respond, “Yes, I would really appreciate taking time over the weekend. If I have any questions, would it be appropriate to still reach out to you during the weekend?” Then the recruiter made herself (strangely) available by mentioning how her boyfriend is a CEO of some company, so she would somehow also be available and working.

I review the offer letter, which in terms of total compensation package only stated my salary. I call the recruiter back at the end of business day Friday, with the intent to ask her questions about the medical/dental benefits, retirement, time off, holidays, etc. and to negotiate salary. She doesn’t answer, so I write her an email asking her to contact me at her earliest convenience.

The weekend passes and on Monday, I received a call from the recruiter and she states that they are rescinding the offer to move forward with another candidate because “it seems like you didn’t even open or sign the offer letter, and you don’t appear to be as interested in the position as we had hoped.”

I said, “I did review the offer letter and there wasn’t information about health benefits, holidays, and time off, so I wanted to discuss this with you further since these items weren’t stated in the offer letter. And I’m not sure if I misinterpreted our conversation on Friday, but it appeared that taking time over the weekend to think about the offer was appropriate.” She says that she would speak with the team and get back to me. 36 hours later, she calls to say they are rescinding the offer and moving forward with another candidate.

Is there anything I should have done differently? I’m not sure where I went wrong!

Based on this account, you didn’t do anything wrong. Everything you did was textbook standard — you thanked them for the offer, expressed enthusiasm, asked for some time to think it over, and then contacted them the next day with questions.

That’s exactly in line with what you should do when you receive a job offer.

My guess is that one of the following happened:

1. They didn’t include any info about health insurance, time off, or retirement contributions because they don’t offer much on that front at all. Maybe none of it. And they don’t like the audacity of candidates who expect those things.

I’m leaning away from this explanation because most employers who are stingy about benefits will just shamelessly tell you they don’t offer those things when you ask. They might not be transparent about it earlier in the process, but usually by the time they’re making you an offer, they know the jig is up and they have to tell you.

2. Another candidate emerged in those few days, they preferred that person, and they were looking for an excuse to the pull the offer. This one is very possible. Or relatedly, it could be that someone higher-up was putting pressure on them to hire someone else, and when you didn’t accept immediately, that person had more opportunity to push their preferred hire. (“Well, has she accepted yet? No? Then we can still offer it to Cecil Mongoose.”)

3. There was some sort of miscommunication. For example, it’s possible that you didn’t convey your enthusiasm as much as you thought you did or maybe even said something they interpreted as aggressively unenthusiastic, or something else was misunderstood in those conversations. Or who knows what. I do wonder about the recruiter’s statement that “it seems like you didn’t even open or sign the offer letter” — while of course you hadn’t signed anything yet, why do they think you didn’t even open it? Is it possible there was an attachment you missed that did cover their benefits, or that an attachment went missing? This would be an awfully extreme reaction to that, but it’s a weird enough statement that I wondered about that.

In any case, it doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong. Pulling an offer is a really big deal; it’s something employers should do only when they have a really good reason. These people seem to have done it pretty casually — which says some damning things about them. That means this is probably an employer you wouldn’t want to work for … although if you really needed or wanted the job, I know that’s not much comfort.

One key thing to take away, though, is that normal employers don’t do this. As a general rule, employers don’t pull offers just because you ask for a few days to think it over, ask questions, or try to negotiate salary. So don’t let this make you gun-shy about negotiating or asking for time in the future.

{ 284 comments… read them below }

    1. tamarack & fireweed*

      Yes. While it is *possible* that this is just a blip in a process of an otherwise well-run company (say, a bad miscommunication, a single person involved in this hiring who was mistaken about their role and got into decision conflict with the rest…) the combination of an offer letter that omits benefit information AND casually pulling an offer makes me think the OP would have run into trouble later on.

      1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

        I’ve never received an offer letter that contained benefits information, though. That was always something that was handled at New Hire Orientation…after you already accepted the job and started working.

        1. TootsNYC*

          and that’s a problem–I knew someone who took a new job for more money, and then discovered that the health insurance premiums for 2 people were so high that they ate up all of the difference and then some. (The company was set up for single people, basically.)

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            Not necessarily single-people but multiple-job households. All our married folks have separate policies because each spouse has coverage for the employee only without extra cost.

              1. Ash*

                Why is it a huge pain in the butt to have insurance coverage separately for each spouse through their own individual employer? I’ve never heard of that being a problem before. Even if you have kids, you can determine that one parent is putting the kid(s) on their insurance plan.

                1. MBK*

                  It can be a huge pain if the two plans have vastly different networks. Like if the whole family has the same dentist, eye doctor, etc. and they’re only in network for one of the plans.

                2. Ash*

                  All of the comments about why it is a “pain in the butt” still don’t make sense. Going from a single to family plan usually triples your premiums, and at least doubles your deductible. It’s much more economical for both partners to get individual coverage through their own employers, if offered. On the out of network piece, why should it matter if your partner goes to a different doctor or dentist or eye doctor than you? I have never heard nor considered someone who coordinated that sort of stuff so closely with their adult partner. Perhaps if you need a relationship therapist and they take only one of your insurance, that can pose a problem. But I am truly baffled about the rest.

                3. Calpurrnia*

                  In response to Ash (because nesting ran out): my husband can’t drive, so I need to take him to appointments. It makes much more sense if our routine appointments can be scheduled at the same time and same office, so that I drive us both over there and drive us back. Otherwise I’d be sitting around in a lot of waiting rooms, or dropping him off and having to kill time out and about. We schedule dentist appointments for the same timeslot with two dentists at the same practice, and it works great – but because his employer offers a different network of doctors than mine, we have yet to find a doctor that actually takes both our insurance plans so we can do the same thing.

            1. Travel_mug*

              weird! My spouse and I have changed jobs several times and its always been cheaper for us to add a spouse to a policy than to have a completely separate one. We always sit down and look at the 2 policies and see which one is better, and then put us both on the better one.

          2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            Yep, the devil is in the detail. I got an offer letter which revealed an unusually long work week (an additional hour per day) and had to negotiate an additional salary bump to offset eg increased childcare costs.

        2. Dilly*

          I may not receive the detailed package, but I’ve always received a summary of benefits – how many days of leave, types of insurance offered (though not necessarily the cost or name of the insurance company), transit subsidies, retirement, training/education.

          1. Diahann Carroll*

            Right. I would never accept a job where I didn’t already know this info upfront – there’s too much risk that something will go wrong, and you’ll end up either without benefits or with really crappy ones that eat up most of your salary.

          2. That Girl from Quinn's House*

            “not necessarily the cost or name of the insurance company”

            But with health insurance, that’s the important part. Am I going to have to find all new doctors because they only offer a Kaiser plan and we’re in a state where there’s 15 Kaiser clinics for a 200 mile radius area? Is it a high-deductible plan where my in place care plan will now be unaffordable? Does the prescription plan cover my medications as-is, or am I going to have to start over with the cheapest available drugs and rule them out again before they will approve the more expensive ones I am already taking? Does the plan cover my conditions at all? (My current health insurance, for example, does not cover ophthalmology. Our eye insurance also does not cover ophthalmology. If you have an eye condition, you would be uninsured on my current insurance.)

              1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                Terms of a contract; they offer, you accept, is what it is.

                Stupid, immoral, asinine; everything but illegal.

              2. Derjungerludendorff*

                The logic is that it saves the insurance company money, so obviously they’re right and you already signed the contract.

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              And that weird glitchy crap in insurance coverage is why Washington state only has a few select carriers because we have extra rules about that kind of BS on the state level.

              Vision insurance covers you for glasses. Then the medical insurance the the heck does cover an actual eye condition! I’ve been so sheltered with a state that has extra protections, I forget these scummy unethical nonsense plans still exist :(

              1. Autumnheart*

                It’s dumb if you want a healthy society. It’s fantastically profitable if people MUST be working a job if they want to have healthcare at all, let alone paying the exorbitant healthcare bills.

            2. wittyrepartee*

              The. American. Healthcare. System.

              Think about all that wasted brain power going into this. The wasted time going to appointments where you thought you were in network, but actually your insurance is underwritten by a different insurance plan and blah blah blah.

              1. ArmorCat*

                Hang on – Australian here, do you mean that you can only go to certain doctors and not others depending on your health insurance company? Like, if there are two family doctors in town and only one of them is Ok for your insurance plan, you can’t go to the other one??

                1. Not My Money*

                  Well, you could technically go to either one but if they accept your insurance it might be a $15 co-pay and if they don’t it could be hundreds of dollars for the exact same treatment.
                  Healthcare should not be tied to employment.

                2. AnonAussie*

                  I’m an Aussie living in the US. It can be prohibitly expensive to go to a Doctor outside your network. For the average American, one visit to the emergency room can bankrupt them because they don’t get a choice and the doctors may be out of network. People chose not to take prescription drugs because they are too expensive, there’s no PBS here or safety net like Australian Medicare (Medicare in the US is for over 65).

                  It depends on the type of insurance your company offers too, there’s PPOs, HMOs, EPOs HDHP… I’ll let you internet for the rest of that.

                  If you are highly paid then you likely have great insurance and never need to worry about these things… as long as you keep your job.

                  I always ask for the benefits book and premiums.
                  Healthcare should not be tied to employment.

                3. coldsassy*

                  Correct, if a doctor doesn’t accept the health insurance you have then they are considered “out of network.” So currently, I’m looking for a therapist but I have to narrow it right off the bat to therapists who accept the health insurance I have through my job. My mom’s job just changed her dental insurance and the dentist she’s been going to for 30+ years does not accept that insurance, so now she has to find a new dentist unless she wants to pay out of pocket for all her dental care.

                4. Artemesia*

                  In the US you can go to an ER or have surgery in a hospital that IS covered in your insurance plan and discover that they contract out their ER and it is not in plan, or that someone assists in the surgery who is not in the plan and you are later hit with bills in the thousands or tens of thousands that your insurance won’t pay because they are not ‘in network.’ It is one of the worst scams in US health care although the system is pretty terrible in other ways as well. Medical care is the major cause of bankruptcies in the US and most people who are bankrupted by medical treatment HAVE insurance.

                5. ArmorCat*

                  That just seems so bonkers! Your employer’s health insurance dictates what doctors you go to? I mean, what if you’re not living in the 1950s and may change jobs or move town sometime in the next 30 years!? What if your insurance-approved GP is an incompetent jerk? Why even are doctors tied so closely to individual insurance companies?? Sorry, I get (now) that this is just The System, but… wow

                6. witchqueen*

                  Yes, that’s exactly what they mean. And the information is all very confusing and inaccessible and changes all the time. You can go to a facility thinking the doctor you’ll see is in-network and end up having to pay out of pocket because your regular doctor is out and someone else stepped in for the day, or because the insurance company decided what care you received was non-essential, etc.

                7. Gumby*

                  ArmorCat, if it makes you feel better it is not usually limited to *one* doctor. In my experience, your insurance will be accepted at several medical groups (and each group will have multiple GPs along with other specialists) near where you live. Kaiser is an exception because they are vertically integrated (insurance + medical group under one umbrella) so you are stuck with a doctor from a Kaiser clinic. However, I do not live in a small town and your choices might not be as numerous if you do.

        3. Atalanta0jess*

          It hasn’t always been in my offer letter, but I’ve always been shown the benefit info and employee handbook that covers PTO and such. I would never accept a job without this information.

          1. Green*

            It’s not always common to include for smaller companies or start-ups, and there is often just very vague language (“we offer dental”).

          2. SushiRoll*

            We don’t put it in our offer letters, but we attach our benefit enrollment guide to the offer which goes over in decent detail all of our benefits, including costs, vendors. Letter mentions your benefit eligibility just not any details – the letters are short.

            1. JanetM*

              My opinion is that attaching it to the letter counts as including it in the letter. But I could be wrong, and often am.

          3. J.*

            I was once given the benefits info and a draft contract to look over and get back to them with questions on and I thought that meant I had the job…but it turned out they gave the job to another candidate! I had previously only been given such info when actually chosen.

          4. mgguy*

            Heck, for my current job, they handed me a 2 page front and back “benefits summary” while I was in the waiting room waiting for an interview. I was ~5 minutes early, but one of the panel members got held up so they handed it to me as soon as they realized that and said “You can look over this while you’re waiting if you’d like.”

            It didn’t go into a TON of detail, but did list leave, a retirement summary(it’s a state system and is complicated enough that I’m still trying to make heads or tails of what it is and what I want to do a month and a half in), health, vision, and dental insurance(including the names of providers), the employee cost/month at various coverage level. For health insurance, it also gave me the quick summary matrix of deductibles, co-pays for for services for all the various plans, and where to find the full plan documents on their website.

            I appreciated having all of that info readily at hand. The offer came in lower than I expected(and actually was a pay cut on paper vs. my then current job) but between their retirement contribution, inexpensive employee contribution for the PPO(a third what I was paying at then current job), comparable deductible, and a lot of the more expensive copays(specialist, ER) about half actually tipped me into taking the job even at a lower base salary. With all of that factored in, my net pay is a bit higher than the last job-nothing crazy but still $100 a month(plus guaranteed by contract 2-3% raises, not throwing a bone at 2% every 3 years or so and “be glad you’re getting that”, and then on top of that scheduled promotions at 3 years, 8 years, and 15 years of at least 10% and a better title provided you meet performance and continuing education standards).

        4. Anonymous Educator*

          I’ve had some offers come without comprehensive information about benefits, but they’ve at least mentioned something, especially if I’ve explicitly asked for information. Just radio silence is weird.

        5. Anon Sparrow*

          Before I started a new job this year, we talked a bit about compensation before I received their offer. In my state it’s illegal to ask for someone’s salary history, so they have to ask for your “compensation expectations.” I said something like “My current job has really great health care and retirement benefits, so I’d like to know more about the benefits here before we discuss salary. Do you have a summary you could share?” They sent it right away and it was very helpful in figuring out tradeoffs like, how much more should I ask for in salary given that this company offers a smaller retirement savings match than my former company? They might not be able to give you full details, but it’s reasonable to ask for info about benefits once you’re discussing the terms of a job offer.

        6. Alex*


          Every time I’ve ever received a job offer, it’s come with an attachment that provided information about benefits. That’s part of your compensation, you *need* to know about that before accepting a job.

          1. mgguy*

            Exactly. I’ll consider a cut in base salary if insurance, retirement contribution, or whatever are exceptionally good. I’ll even weigh generous leave time into that, since I like to travel(in non-COVID times) and value that as my time to get away and recharge. Between two competing offers with similar base salaries, a better benefits package would likely sway me(although there are non-quantifiable factors that can sway a decision like whether or not I like the environment/culture).

        7. Quinalla*

          I haven’t received full benefit info without asking and I usually get some minor attitude when I ask, but it is always given to me. I don’t understand why more companies don’t include the info, especially ones that have *good* benefits. I get the *bad* benefits people trying to hide it.

        8. MCMonkeyBean*

          I wouldn’t expect ALL of the details like how much you will have to pay for health insurance in an offer letter, but my letters have historically had at least basic information on: the bonus structure, how much PTO I would get on an annual basis plus a note that it would be prorated the first year based on my start date, and 401k matching. And I just checked the letter for my most recent job and again while it doesn’t have a lot of specifics on health insurance it does at least have a note about the waiting period (which at my current job is none).

          If there are literally none of these types of details in your offer letter, you should definitely ask for more information before accepting!!

    2. charo*

      I agree. There can be lots of behind-the-scenes drama going on.

      My reviews had always been good at a small publishing co. but I heard the owner’s son dropped out of college [and owner was on the School Board, so bfd to him] and starts “coming in to help out.”

      All of a sudden I get a lousy review and notice. I was fine back when I did my job and the other job after he suddenly fired someone. But now we didn’t need 3 of us, so I had a clue.

      The fact the owner couldn’t admit his son dropped out of school and suddenly made up a bad review showed his lack of character and shame over it. But I knew what really was going on.

      It was tempting to bring it up to shame him but I didn’t. I didn’t want trouble w/my last check.
      But I knew.

      This kind of secret happens all the time — someone knows someone, someone turned down the offer but then came back to accept it, you never know. It’s janky.

      Be glad.

  1. AdAgencyChick*

    OP, update please! I wouldn’t be surprised if the OTHER candidate ends up declining the offer and this company was like “oh sh*t, wonder if OP would still accept?”

    What a mess. You did nothing wrong. This recruiter stinks.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I wonder if it was an internal recruiter or an external one. Not that it means much of anything, but I’m curious.

      And if she’s an external recruiter, never work with her again!

        1. Not A Girl Boss*

          Or at the very least, the recruiter seems to have formed a very strong, very odd opinion about the LW based on… Well, nothing, really… And then brought the company over to her side. She sounds like a real drama llama.

        2. Person from the Resume*

          I thought it might be the recruiter’s fault somehow.

          For the person asking for the update … unless something weird happens like the LW being contacted by that company again, there won’t be an update with an explanation, much as I’d like one and as much as the LW would LOVE one.

      1. Stormfeather*

        If it’s an external recruiter, I wonder if it would be good to contact someone at the company to let them know the recruiter is doing this? Since as Alison said it is a pretty big deal and if it IS something just on the recruiter and not the company, they’d presumably want to know. (Or even want to know if the recruiter was somehow misrepresenting the OP’s interest in the job or what have you.)

        1. Fafa Flunkie*

          Consider yourself fortunate for dodging this company. If they’re low-balling you at the offer, imagine what would happen come your annual review should you have stuck around?

        2. Autistic AF*

          My husband got a job offer in IT and it was rescinded under similar circumstances. My gut feeling is that the company was looking for someone who would accept without question, and that it would have been a battle to maintain boundaries and work-life balance. They asked for a second interview on a Sunday, they asked him to jump on a Zoom call at 7:00 pm on a stat, and rescinded the offer at 10:00 the next morning (which was a business day) without him having anything in writing.

          If a company is going to be this callous towards you as a candidate, what would it be like as an employee when that power imbalance is even worse?

    2. beanie gee*

      Yeah, the recruiter seems to have an active role in whatever happened. They said they were available and then weren’t and absolutely could have conveyed to the company that the OP was interested. If it was 100% the company, it seems like the recruiter should have communicated better with the OP. They either knew ahead of time that the offer was going to be rescinded (and therefore didn’t respond to OPs call/email), or didn’t know, and as a result of their lack of responsiveness, perhaps inadvertently communicated to the company that the OP wasn’t serious about the offer.

  2. Mommy Shark*

    This is so… odd. It’s almost like they’re bitter you didn’t immediately sign, no questions asked.

    1. Rainy*

      Lol, I’ve had the dating version of this, where you’re too busy to see the message asking you out until you get the SECOND message a few hours later calling you a bunch of names because you rejected him.

      1. Hills to Die on*

        That’s totally what it seems like! That is such a bummer but also probably for the best because it seems quite dysfunctional.

      2. Wendy Darling*

        Bad job searching sometimes reminds me of the dude who pestered me to go out with him RIGHT NOW for a full month while I told him I was too busy to go out because it was the end of my first year of grad school, and then when I finally gave in and agreed he cancelled on me an hour before the date because “I wasn’t enthusiastic enough”.

        I think he expected me to grovel but I had about 3 minutes of irritation because I’d just done my hair, and then blocked him and ordered myself a pizza.

        Maybe LW should block the company and order a pizza?

        1. Rainy*

          I once resigned with plenty of notice (MISTAKE) from a job over the phone (boss came into work as little as humanly possible, so I waited like two weeks and never saw her to speak to, so phone it was!), and the sort of introductory statement I used (second mistake) inspired my boss to go on a huge rant about what a piece of shit I was, how I was thoroughly unsatisfactory as an employee and she sure hoped I was planning on turning myself around, and after that lovely ten minutes, suddenly I felt so much less guilty about saying “but my last day is X because I’m going back to school”.

          After a shocked gasp, she said “how could you leave me in the lurch like this? how are we going to find someone who’s as competent as you are?” (Well, she knew how–she had me do it.)

          1. Not A Girl Boss*

            Hah. Honestly this is such a kindness. The last job I resigned from I was sick to death with guilt over resigning for a week before I did it. My boss and his boss reacted with so much vindictive pettiness that the guilt immediately turned to anger, which was a much more productive emotion.

            1. me*

              I was super nervous about leaving too! Then I was told I was dishonest and unprofessional and that I should reconsider my resignation. That was a firm no.

              1. allathian*

                Honestly? What do these people expect? I would be tempted to say something like, “thanks for proving conclusively that my decision is the right one for me”. Even if it meant a “not eligible for rehire” in my file.

    2. Dr. Rebecca*

      I experienced this once. I interviewed at a label making company, and then at a frame warehouse. I took the warehouse job (which paid more and had insurance) and when the label guy called to make an offer, I politely declined saying I’d already been hired elsewhere. He went OFF, and it was very much a “you’ll regret this” sour grapes type thing that left me staring at the phone like…the hell just happened??

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        There is a local church that sends guys (always male) out to make the rounds. They hit my neighborhood every couple of years. I am polite with them, explaining that I already have a church and I am very happy there, but without identifying it. Some accept this and move on. Every so often I get a guy who will start in on how their church is so much better: more saved then mine. All without knowing what church it is they are comparing theirs to. I know which it is, and wouldn’t go there on a dare. But that isn’t the p oint.

        1. Pipe Organ Guy*

          One group well-known everywhere for their aggressive proselytizing came into our neighborhood a while back to recruit. The doorbell rang; I opened the door to find an early-middle-aged woman with maybe an eight-year-old girl; of course, they wanted to give me their pamphlets and recruit me. I informed them that our neighborhood was posted as “NO SOLICITATION.” They left our house; I later saw a whole group of them wandering around the neighborhood. I think, in retrospect, what I really found horrible was their use of children as part of their proselytizing teams.

          1. AKchic*

            They do it in hopes of curtailing people who would go off on them. Most “good” people won’t curse in front of children, and those who do will be used as examples to those poor children.

          2. Alli525*

            As someone who was forced to go door-to-door witnessing as a teenager… I agree that many religious traditions do their proselytizing TERRIBLY. My “favorite” instance was when we were forced to hand out football-shaped invitations to our church Super Bowl party… the party where they *turned off the TV for the halftime show and gave a come-to-Jesus sermon instead.* I had not been informed that this was going to happen or I would have dug in my heels even more… the halftime show is the only reason I watch anyway!

            People like to think I’m socially avoidant because I’m a millennial… nope, it’s being forced to bear witness to a religion I didn’t even like or want to belong to!

          3. Hills to Die on*

            Ooh, that happened to me when I had a newborn (literally a month old) and a 2-year old. 10 minutes into the very first time I got all 3 of us to sleep at the same time the doorbell rang for this ish.
            I don’t remember what I said, but I used that deathly quiet rage kind of voice and never saw those two again.

          4. JSPA*

            in 1950, in a post-war country, a family friend used to give the thin and hungry looking small children who were brought door to door by the [specific religious office descriptor redacted] a (very precious) banana…on the condition that they eat it right there, on the doorstep, so the adults could not take it away, to keep them looking hungry. She was devout, but to the faith, not the organization.

          5. Auntie Social*

            My husband is a family/juvenile court lawyer. When they came to the door with a little girl about 8, he said “Someday you won’t want to do this any more. When that day comes, call me and I will be your lawyer for free” and he handed HER his business card. We’ve never seen them again.

            1. Rainy*

              He probably changed that little girl’s life.

              As someone who grew up in a cult and had to scramble my way out at 17 without a road map…well…sometimes all you need to know is that it’s possible.

        2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I still vividly remember the day that I was woken up from my friend’s couch, by missionaries looking to convert folks. I was super groggy but I went to answer it to at least nicely tell them to stop knocking, before they woke up the rest of the house.

          They launched into their speech. I interrupted to say “No thank you, I’m not feeling well, I really need to go lay down again.” and closed the door. THESE PUNKS decided to knock again. So I snatched the door back open, mad this time and said “Do I need to say scram this time? What is your problem?” “Is there anyone else home?” “We’re a coven of ****ing witches, you sure you really want me to wake up the house?”

          That got them off the GD porch at least.

          1. londonedit*

            We don’t get as much door-to-door evangelism in the UK, but we do have Jehovah’s Witnesses who will go door-to-door trying to give out copies of their pamphlets. One time, there was a knock on my door right in the middle of the FA Cup Final (back in the days when it was pretty much the most important game of football in England, and half the country came to a standstill at 3pm to watch the match). I ignored it but they knocked again, and rang the bell, so I opened the door and they said ‘Hello! We’d just like to speak to you about the Word of God…’ I looked at them in disbelief, said ‘But…the Cup Final is on…!’ and shut the door.

          2. Pomona Sprout*

            OMG, that’s hysterical! I can only imagine the look on their faces! Thanks for the best laugh I’ve had in quite a while (and I need all the good laughs I can get right now).

    3. Rainbow Brite*

      A friend of mine had this happen. Granted, in my industry/country, asking for time to think over an offer sadly isn’t standard, but she was offered the job without applying (another red flag, as it’s government-adjacent and this really Isn’t On) and so hadn’t seriously considered whether she even wanted the job. She asked for time to think it over (she was waiting to hear back from her first choice at the time, which she actually had applied to), and was reluctantly told she could have the weekend. The hiring manager then called her back less than 24 hours later to rescind the offer, saying that she should have been “more grateful” and that they were “offended by her lack of enthusiasm.” A bullet dodged for both of us, since I was considering applying at the same place and she called to warn me about it before I could!

    4. Amanda*

      I had a friend that very recently had her offer rescinded because she had the audacity to attempt to negotiate the salary after it was much lower and at a lower education step than they originally told her. They told her that they didn’t think she was the right fit and she had to basically argue with them to hire her. Of course for the lower offer. People suck.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        She should have let that job go. Those people are going to continue to screw her HARD going forward because they already know they can.

  3. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

    I agree, you did nothing wrong. I will say that I’ve never had any benefits specifically outlined in an offer letter outside of salary and possible bonus. I will usually ask specifics in either an in person interview or once an offer is made. I’m guessing they found someone else to hire and used your hesitation to accept immediately as an excuse to rescind the offer. Maybe the person you were replacing wanted to come back, there as an internal hire that came in at the last minute, or someone they offered the job to first changed their mind. Either way, rescinding their offer is a bad way to do business and you may have dodged a bullet.

    1. Just J.*

      Disagree. All of my offer letters have included an outline of benefits. Specifics are always offered on vacation / PTO as that can be negotiated. And a quick overview or outline of medical benefits have been included.

      1. Me*

        Why are you disagreeing? Your experience is different that’s all. Some places put it in the letter some don’t.

        1. Environmental Compliance*


          I’m 50/50 on the offer letters having outline of benefits. Some do, some don’t. Generally it’s included at least in another attachment, though.

          I did have one job where I accepted, and somehow all of that got lost within the HR system, so I got a somewhat panicky email from the hiring manager about a week after (waiting on start date confirmation, etc) attempting to further woo me to accept. We did have a good chuckle on the “wait, what? I accepted. Waiting on y’all to send me a start date confirmation for the training cycle.”

          Weird things happen – maybe this recruiter forgot to check voicemails? Didn’t see the email had been opened? But it’s very strange that the offer would be rescinded, especially when it was requested to think about it over the weekend – normally you’d expect questions, that’s pretty normal to do for an offer! That’s a bullet dodged.

          1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

            Most of the benefits I’ve gotten in a letter are like, “We offer health and dental insurance.”

            The details are handled during New Hire Orientation. And I’d be afraid to ask earlier, lest they think I am going to use a lot of health insurance benefits and cause the group’s premium to go up and thus pull the offer.

            1. Darsynia*

              My husband didn’t really question the health insurance when he was hired at his current company. He discovered afterwards that a few of the employees did negotiate and they were in a much better position because of it. One of them negotiated a flat rate for their employee contribution to insurance somehow (small company).

              If we as a country are going to have the standard that employers provide insurance, then we need to stop acting like it is by the grace of the employers good pleasure to offer it in the first place, and stop acting like it is presumptuous for employees to ask about it, IMO.

            2. Environmental Compliance*

              It’s a benefit. I’m likely going to use it. I don’t want to be surprised by health insurance that’s 4x the current cost of my insurance – I need to know approximately what’s being offered as a benefit, and therefore part of my compensation, before I agree to it.

              Businesses pulling offers because of medical needs impacting their premiums are…. shitty, shitty businesses, to be honest.

            3. Librarian1*

              Don’t be afraid! At my current company, they gave me a whole little booklet outlining all their benefits. It was very helpful. They know people want to know about that stuff.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      We don’t put it in the offer letter, however we send them a copy of the employee handbook that lists all the benefits provided, vacation schedule and holidays. But unlike Just J, we do NOT negotiate on PTO or benefits, which is also clearly outlined in our policies.

      Heck our insurance information is listed in our job ads because they’re used to make us look more desirable as an employer, so if they’re not listed, I assume they don’t exist and don’t apply now that I’m old enough, it’s a deal breaker.

      1. MsClaw*

        Our benefits are also not negotiable and we provide the links to the benefits info at the time of scheduling an interview — the idea being that questions about PTO, medical benefits, tuition reimbursement, etc can be answered at or before the conversation. That way we aren’t wasting each others time if they expect 6 weeks of PTO or something else that isn’t going to happen.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Exactly, this is another huge reason we list everything in the job ad!

          But we also list the hiring wage scale because nothing is more frustrating for everyone involved than to waste time interviewing, preparing offer letters and then finding out “oh our expectations do not align in the slightest.”

          Like the one guy who thought that it was necessary to apply, despite the salary listed and then when asked about his wage requirements mentioning he wanted 300k for a 60k job listing, we found that out during the phone screen and were able to pull the plug immediately given the giant gap between us.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          I wish more companies would do this, as well as posting the salary range. I once got all the way to the offer stage with a county job only to find out that enrolling in their health insurance was mandatory, and after that cost was taken out, I would have ended up with about $14 a month left over once all my bills were paid. Needless to say, I turned them down.

          1. Pipe Organ Guy*

            Over the years I’ve seen so many job postings that say “Salary DOE.” That’s all. One has no clue whatsoever what it is the employer is offering, or whether it’s something they’re trying to hide. It’s rampant in church work. Sorry; if I’m going to apply for your music position, I jolly well want to know what you’re planning to pay, so that I can decide if it’s worth my time and energy to apply (especially after reading the job description!).

          2. DireRaven*

            gahh, I’d hate to take a job to find out enrolling in their heath insurance is mandatory, especially since the health insurance I have (not tied to employment anymore and it is for life) is probably greatly superior in terms of cost and the benefits.

      2. PollyQ*

        You may not negotiate what the benefits specifically, but I would expect potential hirees to take the benefits into account when they’re negotiating salary.

        1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*


          Great, you offer 21 days of PTO the first year, vacation + sick time + mental health. Do you buy back what’s left at the end of the year, roll it over, or punish me for showing up and working?

          1. KateM*

            I think were I live, you *would* be punished for showing up and working – that is, not taking your vacation time. It’s there for a reason.

              1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                And that you’re not going to have to invest all your vacation time plus when you return unraveling issues that weren’t handled consistently while you were gone.

    3. LadyByTheLake*

      I agree with Just J — every offer I have ever received, whether oral or written, includes at least a summary of the benefits, including the PTO.

      1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

        Again, what’s the point in disagreeing with my experience? Not receiving benefits in an offer letter is not my opinion, it’s what has ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

        1. JSPA*

          Sheesh. “Agree” can be shorthand for, “my experience is similar” or “so far as I can tell, this is not uncommon.”

          Disagree, equivalently, can mean, “notwithstanding that you have experienced this in your field and locale, it would be highly unusual not only in my personal experience but for anyone in my profession and friend group.”

          Neither one comments on the honesty of the person making the statement. Complaining about it is either type of style correction, or an indication that you’re not willing to allow for idiomatic usage, in place of literal meaning.

    4. HR Bee*

      I’ve always had PTO outlined in the offer, but never Medical/Dental type benefits. Though usually I receive (and I provide to my candidates) a benefit overview sheet with the offer that lists all the current offerings.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        My current employer sent me their benefit overview sheet, along with detailed info on their medical coverage, after my initial phone screen so that I could have it “just in case.” She then resent these documents to me once a verbal offer had been made, I negotiated my salary and vacation time, and we agreed on the terms of the offer and a formal letter with said new terms was drafted. This was great because I then only really needed a day to review my then-current medical info up against the one I would be getting if I accepted the offer and could ask questions if something written was confusing.

        My last company also sent me benefit info after my initial phone screen, but these two companies seem to be outliers where I am.

    5. ThatGirl*

      A few years ago I somehow managed to get two job offers within days of each other, and I asked both for written offers that included PTO and benefits. While I’d been leaning toward company A anyway, the fact that they included a copy of the benefits info/handbook while company B’s letter only said “10 days PTO, 5 sick days, we sure do have some kind of health insurance” definitely tipped things in A’s favor.

      I’ve also had some companies give me benefits info before I even got to the offer stage — usually without the rates employees pay, but a booklet outlining what they have as a company.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        I’ve also had some companies give me benefits info before I even got to the offer stage — usually without the rates employees pay, but a booklet outlining what they have as a company.

        My current company’s benefits overview packet includes employee rates for all insurance costs, which was so helpful because I knew that if I accepted a job from them, my insurance costs were going to actually go down from what I was (at the time) currently paying. Insurance was a big factor in why I was job searching in the first place, so that gave me peace of mind.

    6. juliebulie*

      Most of the offer letters I’ve received have referred to “our full benefits package sent under other cover” or something like that. Many of my past employers actually publish their benefits on their public-facing websites.

      But definitely I’ve never received an offer before there was ever any discussion of benefits. Though I’ve usually been the first to bring it up.

      I’m sorry this happened to you, OP. But just imagine what it would be like to work for the kind of people who would do something like this.

    7. MissDisplaced*

      It may not be in the offer letter spelled out in dollar terms, but there is usually mention of something like “see benefits package attached” or the like that shows you the standard of what new hires get.

      The really good larger companies might send an offer letter that does spell it out in terms of:
      Base Salary, Comp Plan/Profit Share (if eligible), PTO, and Pension/Retirement = Total Salary Package Value
      Healthcare is not usually in that, because there might be several choices of packages/price ranges. Unless they’re covering it fully, which is rarer nowadays.

      So yeah, OP is not wrong in expecting that something about benefits should have been expected or included in the offer letter or as another document. I would never accept a job either without seeing something about benefits at the offer stage.

      1. KRM*

        Yep. Even in my very very early stage company (employee #5 here!), the recruiter went over all the benefits with me because they didn’t have everything compiled into a neat package yet. Now we do, and candidates get the offer letter and the link to the benefits package detailing everything.

    8. fhgwhgads*

      The offer letters I’ve received generally indicated salary, PTO and stated what other benefits existed (medical, dental, vision, 401k) but the details of those benefits weren’t in the letter itself. The employer did include PDFs with more details on those things along with the letter. So yeah, if the letter made no mention of them existing at all that’s weird. It’s a little unclear to me from the letter though: it seems like instead of asking the recruiter Friday evening/ over the weekend the actual questions about the benefits, it looks like OP just said “call me back”? Not that I think OP did anything wrong either way, but it might’ve been more productive to just email the actual questions. If that happened and instead of answering they pulled the offer, that’s super weird and jerk-behavior from the employer unless the tone of how the questions were asked was somehow misinterpretable as super rude or antagonistic. But if it were more like “I’m reviewing the offer and I noticed it doesn’t mention X, could you clarify?” that’s totally normal and them pulling back is absolutely bizarre.

      1. OP*

        OP here!

        So yes, I did call the recruiter (internal) on Friday after receiving the written offer letter, no response, and sent her a follow-up email that was essentially a “call me back.” She didn’t call or email me back over the weekend, which seemed fair to me since it was a weekend, despite her indicating that she would be available. I was also intending, that with the next phone I would have with her, to take the opportunity to negotiate salary.

        I do agree, now with hindsight, that a better/more productive practice would have been to email the recruiter that I had received the written offer letter and I have XYZ questions.

        That being said, I keep wondering if had I done that, would that action have tipped the scales to avoid the retraction of the job offer. Thoughts?

        1. Abby*

          It’s possible including the questions in the email would have helped, but really the problem is you’re dealing with someone unreasonable. You took the amount of time she offered and had follow up questions- then were accused of not even opening it! It’s either a bizarre miscommunication or she’s not being totally honest about the situation. I think the second option, since you explained that you tried to contact her, and it didn’t make any difference.

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            Perhaps the fact that OP didn’t spell out any questions made the recruiter think they hadn’t opened it?

            1. Environmental Compliance*

              That’s a really weird assumption to make, though. I’d make the opposite assumption – oh, a candidate wants to talk to me after I sent the offer? They probably want to discuss the offer.

              1. Nicotene*

                Honestly I wondered if they were using some kind of email tracking program, one that seemingly glitched – in that they felt they could “see” that OP hadn’t opened the file from their end. But still, this is all so weird that I don’t think a simple conversation would clear it up. I agree with those above wondering if the recruiter was trying to cover her ass (had another candidate hot to accept or something).

        2. learnedthehardway*

          Don’t second-guess yourself – you did everything reasonable to reconnect with the recruiter and to discuss your questions with them. This is DEFINITELY NOT your fault.

          There are all kinds of reasons for why this might have happened – from a mistaken offer (ie. to the wrong person entirely), to someone changing their minds, to unreasonable expectations of how enthusiastic a candidate should be.

          Regardless of the reason, you’ve dodged a bullet. The company has issues of some kind.

        3. MCMonkeyBean*

          I think laying out your questions in an email is generally a good idea, but for totally separate reasons. It’s good practice because it means they can be more prepared for a phone call, or else if they don’t have time for a call they could just shoot back a few answers when they have a moment.

          But that’s not related to her very odd reaction and it does not seem to me that anything you did would likely have changed the outcome here! I think most people in her shoes would see the fact that you called and emailed as a sign that you looked at the offer and had questions–why else would you be calling? Especially since you had indicated earlier that you would reach out if you had questions. So reaching out to say it seemed like you hadn’t even looked at the offer is just odd, odd, odd all around.

    9. Annea*

      My current company provides a benefits summary with the offer, which I really liked – it doesn’t list the details of e.g. what the health insurance covers, but it tells you which benefits and programs you are eligible for, and it gives you the basics of the coverage. The full benefit program handbook is available on request if asked for (I requested it and it was no problem to get).

  4. Gaia*

    Wow. This is a really weird reaction on their part. I don’t think you did anything wrong, OP. In fact, I think you dodged a bullet because this is, at least, a yellowish-orange flag. Like Alison says, pulling an offer is (or should be) a big thing. It shouldn’t be done without a very good reason.

  5. Bookworm*

    There’s no way to know but I’d say in the end you probably lucked out. Maybe there’s something going on for them but it sounds like you may have dodged a bullet.

  6. TootsNYC*

    I knew someone who was offered a job verbally, accepted verbally in that very conversation, and then said, “I do have a trip planned in four weeks; would it still be possible for me to go on that trip, with unpaid leave of course, or would I need to cancel? I can still cancel, but it would be nice to go if I can.”

    The hiring manager said, “let me check and get back to you,” and when she came back, she said, “We’re rescinding the offer.”

    The would-be hire asked me about it, because I that hiring manager had worked for me, and I was absolutely dumbfounded.

    The only thing I could think is that she wasn’t authorized to make the offer, because I couldn’t imagine an HR person or a department head in our industry who would do that–they’d just say yes or no about the trip.

    I wonder if this recruiter was not supposed to make an actual offer, but was supposed to sound out the enthusiasm, or something, and overstepped. Then had to backtrack.

    1. Ali G*

      I also thought that this was maybe some sort of mistake on the recruiters part, who is now just trying to cover their tracks.

      1. Public Sector Manager*

        This was my feeling too. The recruiter forgot that the OP called with questions, or was supposed to send a specific email that would generate a read receipt, didn’t do it, and when the employer called to check on a response, the recruiter made up the story about the OP not being enthusiastic and not reading the email.

        I’ve never used a recruiter, but once it came time to have a back-and-forth about the offer, is it common for that conversation to take place through a recruiter? I would think that at offer time, the employer would want to speak with the candidate directly.

        Regardless, it was either a terrible company or a company using terrible recruiters, which is probably the sign of a terrible company.

        1. Annea*

          It probably depends on if they’re an internal or external recruiter. I’ve never negotiated an offer with an external recruiter, but my current company has an in-house recruiting team and they are involved in most of the hiring process – they do initial phone screens, arrange interviews, write up offer letters based on salary/position/dates/employee type the hiring manager provides, and create the new hire paperwork.

          Depending on what the questions are, there are definitely times when the internal recruiters I’ve been dealing with corresponded with candidates over offer letter details and have only given me an FYI after the fact – generally when it’s questions about things like benefits or the bonus program, which they are fully qualified to answer, but if it’s job specific or schedule specific they pass the questions along to me to answer.

          1. Diahann Carroll*

            This. I’ve always negotiated directly with internal recruiters, so I just assumed the recruiter in this situation was also internal (though that could be wrong).

        2. Mona Lisa*

          I don’t know how common it is, but the one time I went through an external recruiter they did the initial salary negotiation on my behalf, and then I did some final benefit clarification with HR separately. (I would have had to go on maternity leave 6-8 weeks after starting the new position so there was more I wanted to ask about how that would work. Ultimately I decided not to take the job for reasons related to that, but the offer was very fair and in line with my expectations.)

  7. Chloe the PM*

    I wonder if the recruiter is a direct employee of the company. Whenever I see recruiter, I assume that the person is 3rd party to the company looking to make a hire. If such, I wonder how much the recruiter screwed up. 36 hours to finally hear “no they are still rescinding an offer” sounds like an awful long time with no communication. I don’t think OP did anything wrong either, but the way this is all worded makes it sound like the company may not have either.

  8. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Yuck! My partner did have a job offer pulled because they weren’t “enthusiastic” enough. At least they were brazen though, the person pulling the offer thought partner should feel some kind of “shame” associated with not being thrilled for a random distribution center kind of job. We spent awhile cackling about it because it was so bizarre and unnecessarily dramatic.

    This sounds like whomever is in charge of hiring for this position is difficult to say the least. Good riddance to their itchy trigger finger.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      I don’t get enthusiastic about a job until they Show Me the Money! Prior to that, I am just Interested.
      My Spidey Sense is telling me that in this case the real problem might be the recruiter though.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Yeah, it was a shift job, so the money was barely above minimum wage in our area. IDK who is gonna jump for the rafters for that.

        This is Amazon land, you can literally get a job in the warehouses without an interview, IDK why this place thought that they were special and would get an energetic YAY thanks for the bare-minimum, let me come over there and bust my hump right away!

        I get enthusiastic quickly about my offers but unshocking…my jobs are very specialized and the standard wages is a given.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      Ugh. I don’t sound enthusiastic about anything, ever, and never mind the odds are high that you might call a candidate while they are at work, with people, or just not in a good location to give a loud “Hurray”. (Yet if you don’t answer the first call, you wouldn’t be enthusiastic enough, either.)

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        In all my years of hiring, the more “enthusiastic” someone has actually “seemed” about a job, the worse they’ve been at executing the job. It’s strange but a lot of people can really put on a fantastic show and then they end up being the ones who don’t show up on Day 1 =X So if you’re super excited, I get nervous, lol.

        1. Pipe Organ Guy*

          Many years ago, we interviewed for a music director where I was playing at the time. We had a candidate who interviewed and auditioned with the choir PERFECTLY. When he started working, though, a completely different, psychopathic personality showed up. I left four months later, just a few weeks before Easter. And I left a fantastic newly installed pipe organ I had been waiting for for over six years. I wasn’t going to try to adapt to a truly horrible personality, though.

          1. Pipe Organ Guy*

            A few years later I felt Schadenfreude when I read that he had been fired from a college professorship for at least financial improprieties. I guess he wasn’t well liked there; I know that he wasn’t well liked when he was in college working on his doctorate. So, yeah. People can somehow cultivate an interview personality that doesn’t hold up when the work really begins.

            1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              Oh I’ve seen these switcharoos before, that’s for sure!

              They have just enough charisma to charm an interviewer and then they just are muddy river bottom feeders who suckle at the muck.

              Thankfully I’m in the private business world and we just fire these people somewhat quickly. The one place that didn’t fire theirs fast enough, just lose all their star workers. Myself included a couple times.

            2. RC Rascal*

              Some people have the knack for getting the offers!

              When we were just out of college my good friend’s college roommate had a mental breakdown and was hospitalized for an extended period of time in a mental health institution. This was about a year after college graduation and we were all struggling to start our careers and get that first full time “real job”.

              The friend got out of the hospital and received something like 4 jobs offers, all for decent jobs. (She did well enough an a regionally respected institution but had not unique skills to drive this).
              The rest of us were getting grilled over tiny little gaps in our wee starter resumes and she talked her way past a 6 month plus stay in a mental hospital. It was unbelievable.

              Despite her astounding ability to receive offers she never stayed at anything that long.

      2. Goldenrod*

        “I don’t sound enthusiastic about anything, ever”

        I really love this! I admire your approach to life. :)

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      I worked at a Walmart back in the dark ages of the early 90s. They were very big on enthusiasm in their employees (whom they called “associates”–apparently they were a leader in this misbegotten trend). I think it was a matter of corporate self-image, with their small-town roots. Also, this was just after their big growth spurt. That had been built on having better inventory management technology than their competitors. You could buy into the stock-purchase program and do really well. There were stories, apparently true, of secretaries who had been with the company for decades with a million dollars worth of stock. All the while selling more cheaply than the competition and stilling making money.

      By the 90s, however, this was mostly no longer true. The growth rate was way down, and the competition had caught up on the technology front. The pressure was on to find other ways to keep costs down. Much of this involved cutting payroll, resulting in stores being understaffed, and the people getting some hours being overworked. They also were innovating on developing a permanent impoverished underclass of part timers.

      The corporate self-image was out of date. They seem to have sincerely thought this was a great place to work. I think it probably had been, ten years earlier. But when I was there? The mandatory enthusiasm tended to be a bit forced.

  9. Kenilf*

    It’s a very weird situation and it does seem like you dodged a bullet after behaving quite normally.

    A lot of companies embed trackers in email/documents so they believe that they know when people read items even though there are several products/settings that prevent these trackers.

    1. HR Bee*

      The past two companies I’ve been with, we send our offers through our HRIS system and to get to the offer, you click the link that’s emailed and it opens the offer from the system. I can always see on my dashboard whether someone has opened the letter.

      I’m not sure how anyone could track just opening a PDF that was emailed, though I’m sure some tech genius has created a way.

        1. Deborah*

          I just went through a hiring process like that – I started the job a week ago Monday. You apply by creating an account on the company’s website and submitting your information there, and then they send you an offer letter there – it emails you with a link to go back to the site, sign in, and read the letter. The letter had two attachments for me – a dress code and another one that had benefits and holidays. The letter itself had the salary and such. You sign it on the website. Then once you go to the office on your first day, you actually get another email from the same software and it walks you through the steps of reading the employee handbook (complete with signing off on having done so) and in the process it transfers your information from the recruiting part of the software to the internal part of the software, which is permanently your employee files, like where you go to schedule time off and such. Now the employer and their HR department is overall just really organized and I really like how they handle stuff, but I thought the software worked well. They were even still in the process of rolling parts of it out, so certain things they told me “now let me know how this works because you’re the first person to use it” and for the most part it worked fine (and when it didn’t they were glad to know it and figured it out).

      1. voluptuousfire*

        I know of a Chrome extension that you can use in conjunction with Gmail that allows you to see who opened your email vs. not. I had it and used it a few times but didnt like the Big Brother level of it, so I removed it.

  10. Hiring Mgr*

    You did absolutely nothing wrong – in fact they approved exactly what you suggested.. I agree with Alison that #2 is the likely explanation .

    1. valentine*

      they approved exactly what you suggested
      And OP didn’t even take the weekend. They called back the same day, during business hours, though I wonder if they left voicemail saying they would email. If they didn’t mention the Friday call/email during the Monday call, the recruiter’s accusation makes some sense.

  11. hmmm*

    I think you handled things the correct way. I’m also onboard with the theory that the company’s benefits aren’t the greatest.

    I was also thinking, I feel like the recruiter had more to do with this than anything. She seemed to emphasize how her boyfriend had an important position but she might (ehem) be able to make herself available. Then she indicated you didn’t read the letter. Was it timestamped? Either way what was there to read other than (it sounds like) we’re offering you a job, salary XYZ… you had questions and contacted her over the weekend. I just feel like she was playing both sides of the placement and making herself to be more important than she actually was in the transaction. Dare I say maybe inform her superior of your interaction with her? Might be going overboard but I would want to know in a supervisors position.

      1. valentine*

        She seemed to emphasize how her boyfriend had an important position but she might (ehem) be able to make herself available.
        I read it as, “My boyfriend’s way busy/a workaholic, so I have no plans and will also be working,” which is annoying, but not insulting.

        1. hmmm*

          I read it as her boyfriend is soooo important she might be able to take time away from helping him (dinner party? chores?) to answer OPs call. Certainly different points of view!

  12. WorkIsADarkComedy*

    The whole sequence of events is bizarre. The recruiter indicated that she was fine with the OP taking the weekend to look at the offer, after OP had reviewed the offer and told the recruiter about it. Then the recruiter, speaking on behalf of the company, states that OP did not review the offer letter (perhaps they knew this through some read receipt email?).

    It does sound like this was a deliberate distortion of the true facts. Therefore I agree with the bullet-dodged faction here.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      The recruiter indicated that she was fine with the OP taking the weekend to look at the offer

      In fact, she was the one who suggested it!

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      (perhaps they knew this through some read receipt email?).

      If people rely on read receipts, they really shouldn’t. Some people have set up their email preferences to never give read receipts. And then some people are using Hey for their email, and Hey automatically filters out those blank pixel image trackers that supposedly track whether a message has been opened or not.

      1. Nanani*

        A good ad-blocker + browser based email (as opposed to a client) will likely filter those out without the user even needing to think about it, too.

  13. HR Bee*

    I don’t think you did anything wrong either. In fact, I think the recruiter is the one that messed up somehow and trying to put the blame back on you for her mistake. And to be so blase about rescinding an offer is just beyond weird. I’ve only ever had to rescind one offer in my life, and it was one of the worst conversations I’ve ever had and one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my job.

    I was the HR Manager at a law firm at the time and we’d made an offer for an Associate Attorney. After accepting, and giving notice at her current firm, she informed us that she was working on an H1B Visa and needed to have it transferred to our firm. Our firm had never before gone through the H1B process. It was not a super large firm and our area of law was not paid like people assume lawyers are paid either. While the process was similar since she already had an approved H1B and just needed it transferred, it would have still cost us a good $10K in attorney and government fees (had to hire an immigration attorney). We were still willing to do it, but then our immigration attorney brought up the financial requirements of the H1B. H1B requirements do not take into consideration industry or area of law, only geographical area. So the presence of the BIG Firms skewed the data outrageously. We paid our entering attorneys about $60-70K per year and the H1B requirements wanted us to pay more than what we paid our State Managing Attorneys. We simply couldn’t pay her that (for comparison, she was a Law Clerk in her current firm, not an attorney. She’d just passed the bar. So she was still getting a large salary jump with our offer).

    So I had to call and rescind. It was easy to blame it on the candidate not being forthcoming on needing an H1B (obviously didn’t come out and say that), but I still felt like the worst person in the world. That it doesn’t seem like your recruiter felt bad definitely makes me think it was something with them, not you.

    1. The Rural Juror*

      Ugh, what a mess. I’m sorry that happened – both for you and the candidate you ended up having to reject.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      We had to essentially pull a job offer due to visa issues and it was the worst, we blamed it on the Government easily though. In this case it was a huge cost, in ours it was literally the visa was denied because of some technical garbage *sigh*

    3. Nameless Shark*

      That sucks! While I can see why you felt awful, this situation was the candidate’s own making. If you were in her situation, wouldn’t you accept the onus is on you to inform your new employer of all the relevant information? I’m not trying to bash the candidate because losing a job offer is a major consequence to minor irresponsibility. However, you are not responsible for another person experiencing the consequences of their own actions or inactions.

      I deal with all of the work visa issues at my company experienced something similar. We made a job offer to a candidate who needed the company to sponsor her for a work visa. After I finished getting all of the documentation together, she told me that she couldn’t actually apply for a work visa for several weeks because of a certain condition of her current visa. It meant I would have to re-do all of the documentation again – it was much more than just tweaking the date.

      I was annoyed at having done all this paperwork for her for nothing and didn’t want to repeat the process because she omitted a significant information about her visa needs. More importantly, I also felt like this kind of oversight was an indication of how she might communicate – or not communicate – as an employee. If she couldn’t be responsible for her own visa requirements what did that say about how she might operate in the workplace? So in the end I explained politely that we wouldn’t be able to help her out.

      1. Nanani*

        This seems needlessly harsh?
        Visa paperwork is complicated, as you know, and she didn’t have a company’s resources in handling it. If the rules changed or there was a miscommunication between her and the consulate, that’s not on her. There are plenty of reasons why the conditions of her current visa could have caused a delay through zero fault of her own, like needing an in-person appointment with consular staff or postal delay of something that can’t be done electronically.

        Don’t judge people for the bullshit that is international visa systems.

    4. learnedthehardway*

      This is why our recruitment process always asks up front if the candidates are eligible to work in the country, and do they require visa sponsorship. If they do require sponsorship, we can determine whether the position is one for which we would pursue sponsorship, or cut the candidate loose immediately, if not.

  14. Alianora*

    Something really similar happened to me a few years ago as a recent college grad. The interview went really well, although I interviewed with the director of the company and not the person who would be my actual manager. I got a phone call from HR with an offer the next day. I thanked them enthusiastically and asked if they would be able to send me a written offer with benefit details. They said sure, no problem.

    After two days I hadn’t received the email, so I called them back. They said they went ahead and hired someone else because I didn’t accept the offer. I’m still so confused about where communication broke down, but I’m glad I didn’t end up working there.

    1. Alianora*

      I did think maybe the manager had something to do with it – the director wanted to hire me, but maybe the manager had a different preferred candidate and they both extended offers without communicating about it.

      1. Amaranth*

        Rescinding an offer after just two days without even a follow up call seems like a red flag about the offer or the company.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Sounds like HR forgot to send the offer and didn’t realize it, so they took it as you never responded. So they turned around and hired their #2.

      I’ve certainly ef’ed up a time or two in similar ways. Which is why if I’m like “that candidate never responded to our job offer…first thing, make sure you SENT it.” then you say “Okay there’s the file, I sent it.” and then you say “Wonder if it was stuck in their SPAM folder…let me call them and double check.”

      Then if they pick up, we have a conversation about it. If they do not pick up, I leave a message. Only then, after they do not return the message do I move on with the process. I have had a good number of people truly ghost us, so I’m well aware it happens. But I do EVERYTHING possible to make sure it was a real ghosting, including CALLING!!! to confirm it wasn’t lost in transit.

      1. Cj*

        I received a verbal offer 4 my job on the phone. I said I was very interested, it wanted to meet to
        discuss salary and benefits. I was pleased with both, and verbally at that meeting.

        A couple days later I received the written offer by email, which required any signature. I signed immediately and submitted it, and got a message that my reply had been submitted. About a week later HR calls me and says we’re concerned cuz we haven’t received your signed offer letter back, we were excited about having you on board.

        Thank goodness she called me and they didn’t offer it to somebody else in the meantime. Nobody’s fault but the computers.

    3. Moo*

      I once had an offer rescinded. I had actually accepted (I’m not in the US and I think the verbal offer has legal weight in our system), but I had a feeling, so I hadn’t acted with my current employer. We had gone through extensive interviews and got along great (smallish company) when the last question was if I would take a pay cut to work there, and my response was immediate “absolutely not”. I’m a specialist and had a history of being underpaid and had fought really hard to get to that pay point.

      Anyway I negotiated the salary to the equivalent of my next expected promotion, and an agreement for a salary review shortly after. The work I would be doing was a new wing for them and would have been profit making, they didn’t have anyone else with the expertise. The email with the details never came, and a few days later an email came rescinding the offer. In this case I genuinely think they had little understanding of the area they wanted to get into, and they had decided the person would be paid a low salary without understanding how rare and in demand the skills were. I’ve since talked to a few colleagues who worked there who told me I dodged a bullet, that they insist on paying people low salaries. At the time I was so convinced I had done something wrong, even though I’d done all the steps right. I knew what my skills would be worth to them and how to operationalise it. Shortly after that I got a much better opportunity that really pushed my career forward.

      I think its normal to examine your own actions, but I think it’s a gift at this point. Imagine if you had got the job and this way of working was your every day. I do think my offer was rescinded because I negotiated hard on the salary, but actually taking the job would probably have stymied my career. Even on the most basic level, they didn’t have the vision I had. Working there would likely have severely limited my next job options…. I’m now glad they pulled the offer!

  15. MissDisplaced*

    Oh wow! I’m sorry this happened OP. And it sounds like that recruiter isn’t doing a very good job either, and quite honestly sucks for acting like this.

    >>First, receiving an offer on a Friday and asking until Monday to review it is not asking for excessive time or outside the norms. In fact, this is really not even ONE full working business day! Jeez!
    >>Miscommunication: It’s possible an attachment went astray. But then the recruiter is supposed to know that and should be able to supply it, especially when you specifically asked about why there was no information about benefits? I don’t really think this was the case here. But anything is possible.

    It’s kind of hard to tell here if this was a fault on the part of the employer or the recruiter. My gut feeling is one or both were looking for a way to pull your offer in favor of another “more preferred” candidate — for whatever reason.
    Personally, I don’t put much trust in recruiters. They’re out to make their own profit on deals placing candidates, and I doubt they’d ever tell you the real reason you got pulled out of the running. Sometimes it’s them! I lean towards that here based on the attitude you got from said recruiter, which sounded like she conveniently forgot all about your conversation on Friday. Grrr!

    1. Jaybeetee*

      I mean, even if there was a snafu with the email or something, one would think the recruiter would like, ask OP about it before just pulling the offer.

  16. GreenerGrass*

    Almost the exact same thing happened to my husband several years ago. He had a job offer from a small (about 100 employees) tech firm that was the leader in a very small niche application. The founder was still the CEO. He basically expected that people would be so thrilled to work for his company that they wouldn’t care what the compensation package was. My husband called just to get clarification on the offer and they rescinded it on the spot. And yes, he really dodged a bullet and quickly found a much, much better position.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      Honestly, the gall. You’re supposed to be so very honored to work there that you don’t care how much you’ll be getting paid for your work? And they act insulted if you ask about it? Bullet dodged.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        Right? No way in hell would I accept a job offer without knowing what my salary, medical benefits, and time off looks like. Unless you’re advertising to only the independently wealthy, most people are going to want to know these very basic things. We don’t work for free.

    2. CW*

      You shouldn’t care what the compensation package was? What if such an employer would only pay you $1/hr? Nobody would be thrilled about it because nobody can live on such low pay. Now, I know that is a violation of minimum wage laws and no company would do this; I was just setting an extreme example to make my point clear.

      At least your husband dodged a bullet and found something much better. I, unfortunately, took the bullet a few years ago. I will save you the details, but it was not a good experience working for that company.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        It has happened though where places would hire someone, without telling them the hiring wages and then suddenly pay them something obscene like minimum wage for a job that’s usually much higher.

        This is why in Washington state you HAVE to put the wage paid in writing and give it to someone before they start their job. It’s linked to the wage theft law.

        I knew of one absolute chump who did something similar to people who didn’t “work out” before their first check. [NOT in Washington BTW]. Hire someone for $15 an hour to do “job”, realize they’re not what you wanted or they quit because the conditions sucked, their paycheck was cut at minimum wage because there was no proof that you promised them more than that :( Seedy ass mofos.

  17. Jaybeetee*

    Veeerry early in my working life, I had a few job offers land in my lap of the “we’re offering you the job on Thursday, can you start Monday?” variety. I generally already had some kind of full-time work, didn’t want to screw them over, and it was considered A Problem. (The one time this happened and I did peace out of my job on two days notice, the new job let me go in under a week as a “bad fit”.)

    Anyway, your story reminds me of those jobs, and you can imagine none of them were good jobs, and I’m glad none of them actually planned out. Whatever this recruiter’s problem is, breathe a sigh of relief that it’s not your problem.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It’s not a red flag, it’s fire burning right in your face if someone wants you to start immediately, when you already have a job.

      I had one experience like yours only this tire-fire-factory owner didn’t get the chance to fire me, I quit within the first 3 days. I was lucky AF though, I just went back to my old job that had just been limping along without me.

      It was like an IRL version of “The Cat Came Back”. Everyone at the shop was like “WAIT A MINUTE…”

      1. Felis alwayshungryis*

        My husband did that once as a young and stupid person. Quit his job on the Friday, realised that he needed to work to live, went back on Monday like nothing had happened. I’m not sure he didn’t get the idea from George Costanza.

        He even managed to make it fly, mainly because the boss was a seriously good dude and put up with way more than he should have from his young and stupid employees.

    2. Kiwiii*

      I had a couple off these working with a temp agency for summer jobs during college, they interviewed me the day after I applied, and then wanted me to start work “as soon as possible”. it was a Tuesday, I didn’t have a current job, but did have some commitments later in the week so asked to start Monday, which they agreed to. They then called me four times over 24 hours asking if I could start sooner or do a training sooner and I had to be like no??? I already told you I can’t start until Monday and they acted like I was inconveniencing them immensely, like I felt so guilty about it at the time, but looking back now, what sort of unprofessional nonsense.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Well for a temp agency job, I’m shocked they even gave you an extension on “we need you tomorrow.”

        The point of most temp assignments are “we need help yesterday.”

        Every job I couldn’t take immediately, was shifted to another person at the agency. Then they’d keep looking for something I could work on. I had to tell the agency themselves when I wasn’t available, they worked with the client to confirm that was OK or if they wanted another temp.

        They still suck for not just saying “no, Monday won’t work for us, thank you for coming in though.” and riding you about it. *face desk*

        Temps saying “I don’t have a job right now but I have commitments this week, so I can’t start until Monday” is one thing people who hire temps really struggle to understand. It’s not fair but you’re held to a different standard because it’s a temporary project geared gig often times. It’s also why temp agencies suck at bringing in new talent because they have these clients they need to deal with and it’s a possible bad-mark against them if they just swoop someone up and stick them into a position without enough hemming and hawing if they’re going to be reliable or what.

  18. Polly Styrene*

    A similar thing happened to me. After rounds of interviews I was given an offer verbally – we discussed start date and had all the details in place – even an offer letter – and they rescinded it. They didn’t give a great reason, other than they didn’t feel I would be a fit after all. I expressed concern saying I had announced this to my employer, and I imagine the frustration showed in voice as the woman said “you see – we cannot have this attitude at our firm”. It compromised my existing job as I had in fact told my direct report but that person had not fed it to anyone or told HR .
    However damage was done and my dedication was called into question. Within a year I had been let go. I should have sued them in retrospect but not my thing. I wish I knew what happened.

    1. juliebulie*

      “we cannot have this attitude at our firm” to a person who has just been rejected? This suggests that they were full of crap and were trying to gaslight you. Again, as in OP’s case, I think it was about them, not you.

    2. 30 Years in the Biz*

      That is a truly awful situation! It’s probably better in the long run you didn’t end up working for them. I can’t imagine how angering and insulting it is to be falsely called out for your attitude when they had just impacted your reputation at your current company. Hope all is well now!

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Argh, what a nightmare!

      I’m not sure about your local laws of course but I don’t think you had anything that would have stuck in court though. They can reverse their hiring decision, so unless you uncovered notable discrimination in play, they didn’t break a law. They just lack in compassion. Sadly not illegal.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        This. I’m also curious how accepting this job affected your standing at the job you were already in if you only told your direct report about leaving and that person didn’t tell anyone else.

        1. londonedit*

          I assumed they meant ‘direct report’ as in ‘person I report directly to’ (i.e. line manager) rather than ‘person who reports to me’. So their immediate boss knew they’d had an offer, and it damaged their standing because their boss knew they’d wanted to leave.

  19. Veryanon*

    On rare occasions, I’ve had to rescind offers. The most recent one was several months ago, where my company had offered a position to a candidate who had agreed she would relocate to a specific area of the country for the job (this was for a job that needed to be done in person and could not be performed remotely; think research scientist who needs to work in a lab). The candidate had agreed to relocate by a specific date, and the company had offered her generous relocation assistance. Then the delays started. First she couldn’t relocate by the agreed-upon date because she had a medical situation and wanted to stay on her current insurance, but thought it would be resolved by Y date. Fine, we extended the start date even though our medical insurance starts as of the first day of employment, which I explained to her. Then she couldn’t relocate by the new date because she didn’t want to remove her child from school so close to the end of the school year and force them to start at a new school for a month. Okay, we’re not monsters, so we extended again to the end of the school year. THEN she requested yet another extension because she was helping an elderly relative resolve some financial issues (or something like that, I forget the exact details). When I pressed her as to when she could commit to a new date, she was very vague and non-committal and basically seemed to have lost enthusiasm for the whole thing despite having signed a formal offer letter. At this point, the position had been open for almost a year and the work team was really suffering from trying to balance the workload without her, so the manager asked me to pull the offer so they could start recruiting again. When I circled back to the candidate to explain that we couldn’t delay anymore and needed to move forward with finding someone else, she got very upset and accused us of dealing with her in bad faith. Ugh.

    1. hmmm*

      the gossipy part of me wants to know did you point out to her the commitment letter, how many times you did postpone, that the position needed to be filled?

      1. hmmm*

        sorry hit send too soon. How did she react when you justified your pulling the offer and pointing out the above

          1. hmmm*

            I’d say you gave her more than enough chances. It wasn’t a bait and switch like OP’s situation. It almost seems like she was waiting on another offer? Regardless everything happens for a reason. Hopefully the department is in full swing again.

            1. Mama Bear*

              Absolutely justified. She couldn’t keep up her end from the start. You needed to move on without her.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      There was a relo candidate for a high level role here a while back. I wasn’t directly involved, but he delayed and delayed and delayed, and ultimately his wife wouldn’t move so he agreed he couldn’t take the job after all. This was after about 6 months of hearing this person was coming on board. At least he didn’t get mad at us!

      1. Ali G*

        At my last job, we had one where a new COO agreed to relocate within 6 months. He spent 6 months traveling between his home and the HQ on the company dime. He fired a bunch of staff, brought in new people, and then it turned out he was interviewing the whole time and took a new job where he didn’t need to relocate.
        He had no intention of ever moving, but he could make a ton of money for 6 months while he job hunts.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          He FIRED PEOPLE from a company he wouldn’t stay at!? That’s really low. The author in me wonders if someone up high brought him on short term as an ax-man because they didn’t have the stomach for it themselves.

    3. irene adler*

      Just wondering:
      Did you ask this candidate when they could start (before the ‘agreed to relocate by a specific date’ conversation took place)? Did she give a concrete answer?
      During initial interviews (biochemist here), I’m always asked directly when is the earliest I can start or how much notice would I need to give my current employer. And I give a firm answer (“must give two weeks notice-no additional time needed”). My understanding is that this question would suss out any issues that might cause further delay (such as the child’s school year situation or a planned vacation coming up).

      I AM impressed at your patience with her.

    4. MissDisplaced*

      She obviously did not want to relocate but wouldn’t say so! Beyond 2-3 months out, I would seriously have doubts if the person was truly interested unless they had a very good reason for it (finishing school) or it was an unusually complicated relocation situation abroad. Must’ve been a high level position to even be willing to wait a few months for her.

      This sucks as well because there may have been another equally-as-good candidate who could’ve started sooner and been delighted to move. And that person may have really needed the job! Unfortunately, too late to know that in hindsight with Ms. Wasted Your Time.

    5. Atlantian*

      If there was a child involved, but not a spouse, I wonder if she was making up excuses for delays caused by trying to get permission from the child’s other parent and/or the court to do a cross country move with the kid? Family court can move like molasses and she may have been embarrassed to admit she basically needed permission to move so far from her current home. Still not an excuse, and why would you job search so far from your custody boundaries? But, I still wonder. Co-parenting can be a nightmare.

      1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

        That is a great theory. Explains her shock, because in her mind, she’s dancing as fast as she can. Because she has all the information. Hiring company is floating out there, like wth is going on?

      2. planetmort*

        This is a really great theory. My brother worked for a company that wanted him to relocate to their headquarters and it took him over a year to negotiate that with family court and his ex. Lucky for him, his employer was very, very, patient. But of course he had already worked for them for several years so he was a known quantity and performer, not a new hire. I doubt they would have waited any length of time for a new hire.

    6. Sinister Serina*

      Were you paying her this whole time? Because that sounds like a scam to me-get a company to pay you for almost a year while you don’t relocate for the job for which you promised you’d relocate.

    7. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Ah the good old “We did everything we could, we bent over backwards even, we don’t even know you yet!” met with a “How dare you treat me so badly, I am so stunned you would treat me like thissssss.” response.

      Not on this level but I’ve seen something similar play out, didn’t go on as long as the almost a year though!

      When I relocated, I had a job offer and with that, solidified an apartment in the new area and was there to start within 2 weeks. I know others with families can’t do that, so its’ why you’d easily layout the plans ahead of time. Like she KNEW when the school year would end. So if her medical stuff was going to be settled at X date but she knew kiddo was finishing school still, you say “I have medical stuff that should be wrapped up in 3 months, then my kid’s school ends in May. So I can start June 15th.”

      But no. She was showing that she had no ability to look passed her very current situation before she found other road blocks. Which is a huge issue in itself! You were so kind to go along with this shit so long!

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        In my 20s and single, I moved 3000 miles in 10 days. Now? I would cringe at the thought of moving 30 miles before my kid graduates.

        1. Hamburke*

          In my 20s, we moved 300 miles in 13 days with a toddler and baby on the way and bought a house on the fly. Now? Our landlord is terrible – we rented as a temporary “see if we like it here” 8 years ago and this guy doesn’t take care of the house (the pressboard siding is literally falling off the house) – meanwhile, we can’t bring ourselves to move until the kids graduate… 5 more years…

      2. Paulina*

        Some people take the “accept now, negotiate later” approach. They’re afraid that their constraints (like a later start date, sometimes much later) would be a reason not to hire them (often correctly), so they don’t let the new workplace know until well after all other candidates would have been told no. It’s “just get a foot in the door,” and I’ve seen it quite a bit in research labs, especially if recruitment is difficult and has an annual cycle.

    8. allathian*

      Seems to me she was dealing with you in bad faith. I have some sympathy for not wanting to pull her kid out of school a month before the end of the school year, but the other stuff could probably been arranged some other way, if all else fails by her hiring a financial planner for the elderly relative.

  20. Tidewater 4-1009*

    My father and grandmother used to do something similar. They would visit without inviting me and when I expressed hurt feelings they’d say “we didn’t think you were interested.”
    It was manipulation, though I’m not sure what their reasons were.
    This employer made up a reason by saying you hadn’t opened the offer letter. Did they have it set to notify them when it was opened? If not, how could they know if you had or not? They were just making up an excuse. It may not have anything to do with you at all.

  21. Yvette*

    This sounds so familiar. I know it’s not a revisited letter because Alison always states it up front. But I swear I read the situation before, OP asked to think about it and then offer was recinded because apparently asking to think it over showed a lack of enthusiasm for the job.

    But OP, what you did was normal. Their reaction was not.

    1. PseudoMona*

      There was a letter where the LW asked to think over an offer including the medical benefits. They then told the potential employer that the medical benefits wouldn’t meet their needs. The employer took that as a rejection of the offer and offered the job to another candidate.

      Maybe that’s the letter you are thinking of?

      1. Yvette*

        Thanks!! I do remember that one, but I think I found it, but it is held up in moderation because of the link. Should be arriving any moment.

    2. fhgwhgads*

      I think I recall one where it was rescinded on the spot just for asking for a day or two to think it over, but not one like this where they agreed to the time (as they should because that’s normal) and then later rescinded upon receiving follow-up questions like in this one.

    3. MissDisplaced*

      Sadly, it happens far too often. Some companies act like you should be honored you were offered the job and how dare you ask about anything else! Usually those are bad companies that scream red flag BTW.

    4. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It’s not “unicorn” level rare, so there are stories out there about job offers being rescinded. More so than the person with the boss after a liver-transplant or the spicy food thief hooking up with the HR person, so the person who brought the stolen food getting canned, kind of scenario.

      I’ve personally seen a lot of petty ass shit over the years myself but it’s all stuff that makes you think “if someone immediately shows me their ass, it’s better than having a rude awakening about them when they’re carted off by cops ten years into the job.”

    5. londonedit*

      There was also the really odd one where the candidate wrote in expressing disbelief that the company had moved on with someone else, but they’d gone back to the employer with a strange response like ‘I cannot but accept this’ – which they thought meant ‘I accept this wholeheartedly’ and the company thought meant ‘I cannot accept this’.

  22. Six Degrees of Separation*

    I’m not OP, but this reply is strangely soothing for me. I’ve wondered for nearly a decade about a job offer that was yanked abruptly after I asked if I could give three weeks’ notice instead of two weeks’ notice to have a buffer between jobs. (I hadn’t had vacation time for nearly two years at that point and wanted to start fresh.) I’m glad I am where I am today, but I still think of that job…

    1. MissDisplaced*

      So many companies screw around with THEIR hiring timeline. Then they try to hire IMMEDIATELY to make up for the fact they screwed around. And then they get mad if the candidate wants to give 2 weeks notice plus a week vacation to decompress, thus shifting the blame to the candidates instead of them for screwing around and not understanding how long it really takes to hire someone. Horrible.

  23. Cait*

    My husband found an IT job through a recruiter. The place that hired him didn’t bother giving him a single in-person interview (this was before COVID) and kept forgetting to send him paperwork and follow up with him about questions he had . This was a red flag but my husband figured the salary and benefits were good to why worry? Well, the fired him about 5 months after hiring him for no apparent reason at all. When the recruiter called them to ask why my husband was fired they took forever getting back to him and finally said it was because my husband had been messing around with a server and his actions damaged many of their important files. When the recruiter told my husband this he said 1. he didn’t even have access to the server they were referring to 2. the kind of damage they were talking about would’ve taken him considerable effort and 3. even if he had accidentally damaged or deleted files, he would hope someone would’ve confronted him about it before just canning him. Now he works in IT for a Fortune 500 company and is much happier.
    All this to say is that you dodged a bullet. It doesn’t sound like this place has their sh*t together and you’re lucky to not have to be dealing with a place that has a ridiculous turnaround policy, no benefits, or who will rescind an offer because they think they found someone better. Although I would be wary about your recruiter. If the ‘miscommunication’ was really her dropping the ball (e.g. – they told her they needed you to fill out a form asap and she forgot to tell you) she might repeat this mistake in the future.

  24. Goldenrod*

    Some people are just a-holes. It’s as simple as that.

    My husband had a job offer pulled once because the person who had quit changed her mind instead and decided to take a 2 month leave of absence instead. Of course she ended up quitting anyway, in the end.

    And it was crushing at the time, but totally a good thing in the end – you wouldn’t want to work for people like that. It tells you everything you need to know about their (lack of) character.

    1. irene adler*

      They are probably viewed as heroes by the person who quit/took leave of absence.
      But I bet they ended up regretting their actions given she quit later on. And I hope it was a real painful regret too for the jerky thing they did to your husband.

      1. TurtleIScream*

        Every single person I know who has quit their job then changed their mind, has quit again within 6 months. Why are companies willing to take them back?

        1. irene adler*

          In the short-term it is easier. Companies don’t have to hire/train someone new.
          Course companies don’t realize what you point out-in a short time the employee will vacate the position and a round of hiring/training will have to occur.

  25. Agile Phalanges*

    I got an offer pulled once because I dared to ASK (not insist or require) for additional PTO, since I was receiving quite a lot at my prior job due to my long tenure there. They said they’d look into it and get back to me, but when they got back to me, it was to rescind the offer (not even tell me the amount that they’d indicated before was a take it or leave it offer). I consider it a bullet dodged, but it still stings.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      There’s a special personality out there that thinks that “daring to even lowkey negotiate with them” is a sign of disrespect and a giant red flag waving in their face that you’ll be “difficult”.

      I had to reel someone in a few years back, the dude was like “yeah I need 2 weeks notice first.” “Okay no problem.” so I called and confirmed the start date was X, his math said it was Y. I was like “Okay that’s fine, no biggie.” but the hiring manager flipped their lid about it, it was the matter of like 2 days, no joke. I was like “no, we already offered it, I’ll take the blame for apparently not pushing to say no our math is the only math we accept but we’re NOT punishing this guy for this nonsense.”

      Turns out the dude was a great hire too, so it quickly blew over. And yes, that hiring manager now has a better system in place to make sure that they don’t act so half cocked.

    2. Aitch Arr*

      A similar thing happened to my ex a few years ago, except instead of rescinding the verbal offer, they just ghosted him.

  26. HermitCrab*

    At one point I got an offer for a great job and benefits package. I read the offer and it noted me agreeing to various policies etc…but I hadn’t received any. So I asked the recruiter for a copy of the documents the offer was referencing and she legit acted surprised I had actually read the offer and wanted clarification. I don’t care if it’s boilerplate or not – I’m not signing a document if I don’t even know what I’m agreeing to. They then ghosted me for a week and finally called to rescind the offer. The head of the department later called to ask for feedback on the process and I let her have it (in a professional way). My guess is they didn’t actually have any of the documents referenced and were too embarrassed to admit it. I felt so guilty for somehow messing it up but now I just feel mad lol.

    1. ExplorastoryNZ*

      I just left a job where I should have refused to start while I awaited clarification on the offer.
      One page said it was a fixed term role, finishing on the date noted in Appendix A (and Appendix A had a finish date listed), another said “congratulations to your appointment in this permanent role”.
      I asked for clarification, didn’t get any, signed anyway, discovered it was permanent (I’d agreed to take it because it was advertised as fixed term). The Perm / FT issue was only the start of the huge red flags.

  27. Elizabeth Bennet*

    Unless this company is small (which given it’s behavior, I’m guessing so), to me it’s a red flag that the recruiter is dating the CEO. I think you dodged a bullet too.

  28. Valegro*

    I had a job offer pulled because the owner (very small business) asked me to apply for a state license and I asked her to cover the cost (industry standard practice) because I was making intern pay and didn’t have $250 lying around. She rescinded. I was furious at the time, but now see it as a major bullet dodged. My next job made me ask very specifically about health insurance because what they said was health insurance was actually AFLAC catastrophic coverage that cost just as much. I was seen as whining because it was “good enough for the owner.”

  29. Seeking Second Childhood*

    Also consider the pandemic. My company had interviews going when a hiring freeze hit. I’m hoping they contacted people to say why…but we had furloughs too so HR may have been swamped and on half staff.

  30. LizardOfOdds*

    I have a hypothesis based on spending some time working in recruiting… it’s a cynical hypothesis, but I have seen this actual scenario play out multiple times: recruiter is juggling a zillion open reqs and whoops! makes an offer to the wrong candidate. They realize their mistake, ghost the candidate to buy some time, then follow up accusing the *candidate* of ghosting *them*. The candidate immediately assumes they missed something, apologizes, and asks to be reconsidered, and the recruiter keeps them warm. Once the other candidate accepts, the recruiter delivers the final turndown.

    Taking a less cynical view, it also occurred to me that the offers often come with a DocuSign (or other document viewing/signing system) link that the candidate has to click on to see the full terms. I wonder if that was missed in the emailed offer? That would explain the ‘you didn’t even click on it’ feedback from the recruiter.

  31. CW*

    This happened to me 4 years ago. I was working a temp job, then got an offer for a prestigious university working in their accounting department. This was temp-to-hire through the recruiting agency. They negotiated my start date to Monday. Then later that day, the recruiter asked me to push it to Wednesday because their department was wrapping up an audit. I agreed.

    Then, ghosted. Wednesday came and I did not get a follow up. I founded myself unemployed because I quit my temp job. This was extremely cruel and since I have gotten any type of offer, I would always follow up with extreme paranoia. I should thank my lucky stars I didn’t scare off anyone with that kind of attitude.

  32. Pinkpeony*

    I was looking for my first “grown up” job after college and Americorps and got an offer as a bank teller for about 3 bucks above minimum wage. I told them I would have to think about it (I honestly wasn’t sure whether I wanted to resign myself to settling since I had been out of work for a month or so). I was pretty neutral, don’t think I sounded too disappointed but 20 minutes later they called back and said they didn’t mean to offer me the position and were rescinding it. I was crushed, wondering if my opportunity at gainful employment was gone. A couple weeks later I got a higher paying offer at a non profit that set me on my current career trajectory, so jokes on them!

  33. Nameless Shark*

    So…here’s a different perspective. Of the hundreds of job offers I have made, I noticed a small number of people replied with a total lack of enthusiasm. Like a flat, completely uninterested “huh I’ll think about it” as though I asked them to cancel their trip to Disney World to do a colonoscopy instead. Almost every single time they ended up declining the job offer or clearly accepted as a last resort and left as soon as they found another more desirable job.

    Now I take it as a red flag if candidates respond in a non-committal monotone. It’s completely valid to want time to review and consider a job offer – but if their tone communicates they DGAF then I take it as that they DGAF. As hiring managers we look out for friendliness and enthusiasm in an applicant’s tone during interviews; it’s reasonable to expect that in subsequent conversations as well.

    OP’s situation is so bizarre it suggests strongly they dodged a bullet. However, is it at all possible you conveyed to the recruiter that you don’t care for the job offer?

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      Are you saying if a candidate seems unenthusiastic and you give the candidate the weekend to think it over, you would also rescind the offer and claim the candidate didn’t even open the offer letter?

    2. learnedthehardway*

      Honestly, tone of voice is a terrible way to determine whether the candidate is happy about the offer or not.

      Some people just speak that way, some people might be in the office and need to NOT betray enthusiasm, some people are on the autism spectrum (and tend to have low affect, which means they don’t express emotion through voice or expression), perhaps the person is sick/has a migraine when you call them, etc. etc.

      Also, Some people are going to negotiate, and will give you a poker face (voice) until they are sure they’ve achieved the best compensation package they can.

      I would look at the candidate’s overall response to the offer – are they engaged, do they ask questions, are they responsive, do they get their references to you promptly, do they wrap up negotiations and give you a clear yes/no answer or do they penny/nickel/dime you over every single thing?

      1. Nameless Shark*

        That was my initial thought too. But I have learned from my experience that lack of enthusiasm is a strong indicator of the job offer not working out. I am not referring to people who respond with a curt “Thanks for your call, I’m at work now can I ring you back?” But just a flat “I don’t give a F” kind of response where it is clear they aren’t engaged at all and don’t care to respond with even minimal professional tone. It’s easy to pick that up because it’s so contrasting to the previous communications I’ve had with that candidate where they might have earlier spoken to me in a much more engaged way. It suggests they’ve had a better opportunity elsewhere or maybe they picked up something during the interview that the job isn’t the right fit to what they want – and my experience has repeatedly confirmed this. I wouldn’t rescind rudely as OP recruiter has done though.

    3. Elbe*

      I don’t think that this is a great practice. We can’t really judge enthusiasm without knowing a person, and it can be hard to convey enthusiasm over the phone or over email. You can be disappointed or worried about their perceived tone, but acting on that to rescind an offer seems extreme.

      Tone of voice doesn’t replace a clearly communicated yes or no. If these people didn’t want to give the LW a few days, they should have communicated that clearly, up front, instead of saying yes and then making assumptions.

      1. Nameless Shark*

        I disagree. Tone matters a lot in communication. If you asked your friend for lunch and she hesitated before answering “ummmm okay. Sure. Why not.” – she verbally agreed but you would understandably have questions about whether she really wants to meet you or not.

        To be clear, I agree with Alison that the recruiter handled things badly. But since this is an open forum I offered an alternate perspective and wonder if it’s worth reflecting on for the OP.

  34. Carlie*

    This is one place academia shines – standard practice everywhere I’ve seen is that final candidates get at least a half-hour session with HR to go over benefits in as much detail as they want, and that employee is separate from hiring decisions so asking specific questions about medical or family issues won’t affect the hiring process.

  35. SassyAccountant*

    This happened to me back in January. I had my telephone interview and they dangled an in person interview over my head for almost a month, then two weeks later they asked me for a second interview the following week, I do that and they offer me the job. It’s a little lower than they advertised and that I had told them I was looking for, so since I didn’t need to take their insurance I tried to negotiate to my requested amount. They come back with an incentive based bonus program that didn’t make a whole lot of sense. I basically was being offered small bonuses if I did projects. The HR lady didn’t have a lot of information and made it clear to me she thought it was absurd and said she’d have one of the managers get back to me with details. That was Friday. Monday morning I receive a letter where they pulled the job offer. My husband and I agree that they were mad that I negotiated and two dared to want more information on their “bonus” program.

    1. Lala762*

      The one and only time I’ve had an offer rescinded was also about negotiating a salary.
      I was offered the job and then the salary was presented. I can’t recall if it was 50K or 55K.
      I said, I was thrilled to be offered the position, and could we add 5K to the salary?
      No yes, no ‘No because…’ they just pulled the offer.
      I was gobsmacked.
      But, within a year, I had a job that paid 65K, which led, the year after to a job that paid 80K.
      I doubt I’d have been making that, had I started with the Co that rescinded the offers.

  36. Pretzelgirl*

    I’ve shared this before, but one of my first jobs out of college was rescinded after an offer was made. It was with a very large bank in customer service. I had to get this background check done, which included them going through every job I held since I started working in HS. They rescinded the offer bc I left 2 jobs without a 2 week notice. These were in HS when I wasn’t aware of professional norms. I was so shocked. What’s strange is they did this all through an outside agency and the person conducting the background check told me I wasn’t able to start anymore. I never actually heard from HR about it. I was sent a benefits package and check in the mail. I am pretty sure either HR didn’t care I left 2 jobs w/o a 2 week notice or the company never told them. I was too young and stupid to realize I should reach out to the HR at the actual Bank I would be working for. Pretty sure they were expecting me start and I no showed.

    To make matters worse the bank accused me of cashing the check and demanded I pay them back. I never cashed the check. It was awful. Honestly still makes me nervous of accepting any job w/o the background check coming back.

  37. Elbe*

    This is terrible. Their reasons were likely BS because no one is going to say, “We simply changed our minds because we’re huge jerks.” They’re trying to blame the LW in a desperate attempt to not look as bad as they know they are.

    Even the “you don’t seem enthusiastic enough” excuse is itself flimsy. It’s one of my red flags if an employer expects extreme groveling or dedication, especially when you barely know them. Taking a day to open an offer doesn’t mean anything. Maybe the person was ill, or had a family emergency. As long as it’s within the agreed upon time frame, their time is their own to spend as they please.

    The LW dodged a bullet here, for sure. I hope that they can find something better soon.

  38. His Grace*

    LW, you dodged a bullet. If either the recruiter or the company come calling ever again, coldly and politely tell them to drop dead. If a company asks what happened with said company, be honest, because anyone with a modicum of decency will be completely understanding. You did absolutely nothing wrong in this matter.

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