The Realities of the Rescinded Job Offer

You’re so close to getting the job you want.
You’re on that “job offer high” – feeling confident and desired by a new employer.
Maybe you’ve shared your news and celebrated with friends — worse, maybe you gave notice to your employer.
Then it happens. The offer is gone in the blink of an eye.
What went wrong?

In my 30+ years in recruitment/placement industry, I’ve seen offers fall apart for these reasons – most of which the candidate can control.

Top 3 Reasons an Offer is Rescinded

  • A failed drug test – a few hits of pot two weeks ago counts!  If you are in the job hunt, don’t indulge.
  • Inability to verify education (if you didn’t graduate, don’t say that you did – even if you are 2 credits shy). Keep in mind that even if you finished all the required courses, but didn’t pay the final bill, chances are your degree was held back and you didn’t officially graduate. In many job offers, the degree isn’t even mandatory, but if you falsified your application, the offer will be rescinded whether it impacts the job or not.
  • Employment dates are falsified (do not stretch the dates to make it look better on your resume or LinkedIn!).

Those are just the most obvious reasons, but here are a few more that might not be so apparent:

  • Failure to communicate promptly. It’s important to respond to emails and phone calls even after you’ve accepted the offer. Going MIA is a huge red flag to the employer.
  • Sitting on the offer too long. You may think you’re playing hard to get or using it as a salary negotiation tactic. Employers don’t like this. It shows lack of interest. If you have a concern say so, don’t stay mute.
  • Renegoiating the salary or other benefits after you’ve accepted the offer. Don’t raise your salary requirements after you receive the offer or make demands that should have been raised upfront.
  • An undisclosed bad driving record can be a problem. Some companies will check your driving record, especially if you will be driving a company car.
  • Last, but not least – your digital footprint. BE VERY CAREFUL what you post on social media. YES, potential employers will Google you! Anything negative you may have tweeted about your interviewer or even wild party photos from your college days may make an employer question their hiring decision.

Is there anything you can do?

Although you have limited control once an offer is rescinded, here are some tips to control the damage.

  • Find out the exact reason for the offer being rescinded.
    In doing so, be sure to be positive and polite, and don’t burn any bridges… maybe the offer was rescinded for a reason that had nothing to do with you (i.e. the company decided to not hire at this time).
  • Most offers will include the clause “contingent upon background check and drug test.” If that is the case, even if you think you are in the clear – don’t give notice until the background check is complete and passed.
  • If you happened to already give notice, and the offer is rescinded, you may need to do some quick thinking so you are not without a job.
  • You might explain to your boss that you thought through your departure and you believe you made a mistake and now you would like to stay if it is at all possible. This may not be an easy sell.

Keep in mind the possibility that you may have no way to reverse your actions.
When that happens, take it as a sign to move on and do so with grace and professionalism.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Barbara Cohen Farber is a staffing professional with a long career in employment and search.  She estimates she has helped more than 10,000 candidates in her career and coached countless others on resume revision and interviewing techniques.  She is a Board Member of the Moxxie Mentoring Foundation and active in SHRM.

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