Turning down a job offer after you’ve accepted it can be challenging. Perhaps the role isn’t as great as it seemed, or you were offered your dream job shortly after. No matter the reason, if you signed a contract, there may be legal issues involved with rescinding your acceptance. If you didn’t sign a contract, taking back your acceptance still can be difficult.
Follow these guidelines if you change your mind after you accepted a job offer.
Think Through Your Decision
Before you officially turn down the job you agreed to take, consider whether that’s truly the best decision. Perhaps you decided the role isn’t for you, you received a more favorable offer, or a family emergency is preventing you from starting a new position right now. In any case, once you turn down the job, you can’t get it back. Avoid burning the bridge if you can.
Read Your Contract
See what your contract says about reneging on taking the job. There may be legal repercussions for rejecting the role. For instance, your contract might allow a specific time period during which you can reject the offer. You could have a certain number of days to give notice. Or, you might be required to work for a certain length of time before resigning. However, since an employer doesn’t want to waste time and money training an employee who will quit the first chance they get, you may be able to talk with the person who hired you and see whether they can let you out of your contract. Ask an attorney or employment expert to look over your contract so you avoid legal consequences if you turn down the position.
Write a Letter
Send the person who hired you a letter explaining why you turned down the job. Be honest, tactful and concise. For instance, if you feel you won’t get along with coworkers, mention how you don’t blend with the culture. If you received a better offer elsewhere, share that you were offered another role more in line with your skill set. Since the person who hired you put in much time, express gratitude for being asked to join their team. Be polite and respectful, as you could end up working with the person in a future role.
Learn from Your Experience
In the future, use what you learned to avoid taking a job you later decide you don’t want. For instance, you may ask for more time to determine whether you truly want a position. If you didn’t receive the salary or benefits you wanted, work on your negotiation skills.
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