What to do if your new job offer is rescinded
Hiring freezes and layoffs are fairly common responses to high inflation and fears of impending recession. Canceled job offers are not.
Yet over the past few weeks, some companies, including Coinbase, Twitter, and Redfin, have started canceling deals en masse. This type of activity is “very unusual”, says Sid Upadhyay, co-founder and CEO of recruitment platform WizeHire.
Either way, it happens, and “those financial decisions have a real impact on people,” he says.
Bethalyn Staples was recently about to start her “dream job” in HR at a software company in Los Angeles. Two days before starting, he was told that his offer had been rescinded due to a hiring freeze. As an HR expert with over a decade of recruitment and career development experience, she knew exactly what to do: She immediately reignited her job search, starting by publicly posting her situation on LinkedIn.
But it’s not as simple as starting a new job search from scratch. Here, Staples and Upadhyay share what you can do if your job offer has just been rescinded:
Ask your network for new job leads
Dozens of job seekers posted on LinkedIn that they had had their job postings rescinded. Staples says that if this happens to you, it’s good practice to promptly update your profile that you’re open to new work again and are actively seeking leads.
You can also write a post explaining your situation in detail: You have landed a position at a company, the offer has been canceled due to budget cuts and you are looking for a new position in your field.
Staples’ LinkedIn post has gone viral, garnering hundreds of comments, shares and interactions from connections and strangers. She says she was “humbled by the kindness of the strangers who shared my message”. This eventually led to multiple job interviews and new offers for her.
Of course, your post doesn’t need to go viral to be successful – you only need the right people to see it. You can also ask your former colleagues to write a recommendation for you on your LinkedIn page and offer to do the same for them in return, Staples says. Having them on your profile can help you stand out to recruiters.
“It’s going to be tough for the rest of the year, and we’re going to have to rely on each other to be successful,” Staples said.
Revisit other job offers
You may not have to go back to square one in your job search. Have you declined any other offers that you can now review? If you’ve pulled out of interviews with other companies, can you see if they’re still hiring?
“There is no risk in contacting your second, third or fourth option to register,” says Upadhyay.
Reach out directly to the hiring manager, HR representative, or recruiter you had the most contact with and clearly explain what happened. You can share some context around the terminating employer, as long as they don’t violate a nondisclosure agreement. Let the hiring manager know if your previous offer involved a very tight deadline, such as a 48-hour window before the job offer expires.
“Your decision to go with another company is not a reflection against them, especially in this tight job market,” Upadhyay says. “It’s just a reflection of the timing.”
Finally, don’t forget to highlight why you’d love to join the company. Don’t oversell it, Upadhyay says, but be honest about why you’d be open to this second-best opportunity.
Talk to your former employer
If you left your old employer on good terms and your work hasn’t been split into new jobs, consider contacting your old boss to see if he’d be willing to take you back.
“It could be another opportunity to get back on your feet and have more stability,” says Upadhyay. “I don’t think anyone would blame a job seeker for having that dialogue” with an ex-boss.
Of course, whether it’s a good idea to return to an ex-employer will depend on your reasons for leaving. If you left for more money, a higher title, or additional training opportunities, your former company might be able to meet you where you hope to grow. But if you left for other reasons, such as poor management or to leave a hostile work environment, these issues cannot be resolved overnight.
When you bring up the possibility of your return, repeat that you know nothing is guaranteed. This “often allows a hiring manager to help you — and often to help you more — because there’s less pressure,” says Upadhyay.
Contact recruitment agencies
Sometimes, if you are part of a series of layoffs, your employer may put you in touch with outplacement services to help you find a new job. This is less likely to happen if you haven’t even started your job yet, Upadhyay says, but it might be worth asking HR.
If you want to expand your network, Staples also recommends contacting recruitment agencies such as Randstad, Adecco, Robert Half or Kelly Services. These placement services typically specialize in temporary jobs, which might help you hold on until your next permanent job or, if you’re lucky, connect you with your next full-time employer.
Consider getting legal advice
Most job offers are at-will employment contracts, “so that the company and job seekers can end this relationship of their own volition for many reasons” and “at any time “, explains Upadhyay.
On the business side, this means that your employer can let you go for almost any reason – even before you started due to budget cuts or restructuring – as long as it’s not not based on any protected class, including race, religion, gender, or nation of origin.
That said, Upadhyay says there may be unique situations where you have gone through more structured negotiations. This usually occurs at the director, vice president, or executive level. In these cases, you may seek legal advice to ensure that the manner in which you were released is correct.
Ask potential employers about the health of their business
Upadhyay says canceled offers represent only a minority of cases: “There are still hundreds of thousands of new jobs on the market, and most of the organizations with offers are resilient and profitable businesses.”
Still, it’s natural to go into new interviews a bit more cautious about the health of the company. Upadhyay suggests a few ways to ask about a company’s balance sheet, especially tech startups: When’s the next funding round? Is there enough lead in the business to keep hiring, even in the face of a market downturn? What are the company’s plans for growth in the second half?
To gauge the company’s hiring status, ask how many people have been hired in the last month or how many people will be part of your onboarding class. If your interviewer answers vaguely, try to frame your questions more about how they feel about their own job security: How comfortable do you feel in your role? What were the major topics discussed at the company’s last town hall?
Separately, check out review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed for commentary on what it’s like to go through that company’s hiring and onboarding processes.