By Gina Scott Updated June 27, 2018
It seems like a good problem to have. You accepted a job and got another offer that's even better. Once the excitement wears off, you realize you now have a tough decision to make. It may seem like a trivial decision that only affects you, but the ramifications of reneging on an accepted job offer could damage your reputation. Consider all sides of the situation before changing your mind.
Weigh Your Options
If you've accepted one job offer and a better one comes along, it's time to seriously weigh your options. Consider why you accepted the first offer. Chances are good that it has at least some positives, or you likely would have passed on it.
Make a pro and con list of each job offer to see which one comes out on top. Compare factors like flex time and the number of vacation days, as well as job responsibilities and management style. Where would you fit in best? Which company offers the most room for advancement? Which position best aligns with your career goals? If the new offer seems significantly better than the one you already accepted, you have a critical decision to make.
Stick with Your First Acceptance
Option one is to stick to your word and decline the new job offer. Your new company is counting on you, and you've already made a verbal or perhaps even written commitment to start this job. Honoring that commitment can earn you respect, and you can feel good knowing your word was solid.
Reverse the situation to consider the impact. Say a company extends an offer to you but suddenly comes across a more qualified candidate. It's pretty rare, but companies do sometimes rescind offers in those situations. If that did happen to you, you would be disappointed. The same is true for the company if you reject the offer after accepting. They're excited to have you working for them, or they wouldn't extend you the offer. Backing out leaves the hiring manager in a difficult situation, may cost the company money and leaves them disappointed to miss out on your exceptional skills.
Reject Your Original Acceptance
While it may be considered the ethical choice to stick with your the original job offer, you have every right to take back your acceptance if you're hired as an at-will employee. If you signed a contract, check the fine print to look for stipulations about rescinding your acceptance. Benefits from the original company like moving allowances and signing bonuses make the situation a little more difficult, but it's still your decision. You may decide to go this route when the new job offer is significantly better than the first offer.
If you do choose to accept it, notify your first employer as soon as you make your decision, so they can start looking for a replacement right away. Never break the news via email. Call the hiring manager to let her know directly. It's best to be honest yet polite about your situation. Don't make up an excuse or say anything negative about the first company. Let the hiring manager know you truly appreciate the offer. Rescinding your offer gracefully and professionally helps minimize the repercussions and leaves the door open for future positions with the company.
Deal with the Consequences
If you choose to rescind your acceptance, you may have to deal with some fallout. If you handled the situation professionally and politely, you may leave the situation with less damage. However, the reactions of the original employer are out of your hands. If the original company has influences and ties to other companies, reneging on your job acceptance may give you a bad reputation. Handling the situation poorly could even result in you losing both job offers.
The impact can be even more substantial if you work in a small, insular field where most people know one another. Even though hiring and firing are confidential, it's often easy to figure out those types of things when everyone knows everyone else in the industry. While it's impossible to know how far-reaching the fallout might be, it is possible that reneging on the job acceptance could affect your working for other companies in the future.
What to do if you accept a job offer but then get a better one? ›
Reject Your Original Acceptance
You may decide to go this route when the new job offer is significantly better than the first offer. If you do choose to accept it, notify your first employer as soon as you make your decision, so they can start looking for a replacement right away. Never break the news via email.
Yes. Technically, anyone can turn down a job offer, back out of a job already started, or renege on an acceptance at any point. Most states operate with what is called “at will employment.” This means the employee and the employer are not in a binding contract.Is it OK to accept a job offer and then decline? ›
When You Can Rescind a Job Offer Acceptance. Turning down a job offer after you have already accepted it can be an uncomfortable experience. However, as long as you have not signed an employment contract with the company, you are legally allowed to change your mind.What to do when you accept a job offer but are waiting for another? ›
Ask for time to decide
Then you can ask for up to one week to consider the offer. Gauge the recruiter's reaction. Some companies won't want to wait that long because the market is so competitive, and the company will want to know if it needs to move to a backup candidate or start the search all over again.
It's an incredibly common feeling. Some 72% of jobseekers say they've started a new job and felt a sense of surprise or regret that the role or company was very different from what they were led to believe, according to a January survey of more than 2,500 millennial and Gen Z jobseekers conducted by The Muse.Is it OK to tell a potential employer that you have another offer? ›
Yes. You should definitely tell a company that you just received an offer from another employer. This can work to your advantage in two ways: First of all, it could potentially expedite the process at this current company.When should you not accept a job offer? ›
- The Salary Isn't Right. ...
- It Takes Forever to Get Benefits. ...
- It Doesn't Offer What You Want. ...
- There's No Clear Path. ...
- The Job Duties Are Mysterious. ...
- There's a Revolving Door. ...
- You Don't Like the Mission. ...
- The Hiring Process Was Subpar.
- Keep Things Professional. The most important thing to remember is professionalism. ...
- Be Transparent. When telling a company you have another offer, you must be transparent. ...
- Show That You're Grateful for the Opportunity. ...
- Don't Use the Other Offer to Pressure Them.
Starting a new job can be a stressful time. After all, everything is new, from your coworkers to your responsibilities. While it can be exciting, it can also contribute to your depression or other mental health conditions, like anxiety.What is the best reason to reject a job offer after accepting? ›
Reasons why you would decline a job offer after accepting
You may not be able to relocate for the position, there are better opportunities elsewhere, or you might have simply accepted the offer too hastily. Whatever your reasons for declining a job offer, it's important to do so in a polite and respectful way.