Job offers are very, very rarely rescinded once offered. Once a written job offer is made, it is extremely difficult and extremely rare to see the offer pulled back. The time invested by human resources, the hiring manager, and the internal approvals needed to approve a hire make for rescinding an offer extremely rare.
However, it can happen. Though rare, I have spoken to people who have had offers rescinded and who have had to rescind offers from potential employees. And though rare, rescinding an offer is only done in extreme, worst-case scenarios.
Neither the potential hire nor the company wants to rescind an offer. Rescinding an offer is costly for the company and essentially restarts the hiring process from square one. In addition, when looking for highly skilled candidates whom have access to company review boards, the company would rather avoid any negative press and reviews associated with them.
Why Are Offers Rescinded?
Though job offers are rarely rescinded, they can and sometimes do happen. Rescinding a job offer is typically done in extreme cases. The two main reasons a job offer will be rescinded are due to new information being surfaced about the candidate or the company’s financial situation has deteriorated to a point where they are no longer able to accommodate an additional salary obligation.
Information surfacing about a candidate can include a recent arrest or crime that made the news and was brought to the attention of the company. A racist, sexist, or other disparaging comment made on social media that was brought to the company’s attention. A background check that indicated previously unknown information. A failed drug test.
The latter two are rarer as most companies won’t make a written offer until the background check and drug test have come back clean. However, new information can always arise, and the employment offer is at the will and discretion of the company.
In addition to sullied reputation being the reason for an offer to be rescinded, many times those offers are rescinded due to a direct fault of the candidate. These can include rude or dismissive emails to the company, attempts to negotiate salary after the offer letter is signed by both parties, and an uncooperative candidate during the onboarding process.
Lastly, some companies may decide to rescind an offer due to a negative or less-than-stellar candidate reference. If the company speaks to a former employer and deems their reference as subpar, they may decide it is better to simply rescind the offer.
From a company’s perspective, very rarely will they rescind an offer without due merit. If the cause is the company’s own, then typically it is due to financial reasons and an inability to fulfill salary obligations. Again, from the company’s perspective, it is in extremely bad taste to rescind an offer due to their own fault. As-such, they will typically only ever due so due to extenuating circumstances.
What to Do If Your Offer Gets Rescinded?
Unfortunately, you would be in an unenviable position. However, with most things with the job process, it’s about getting back up and continuing to apply to jobs and positions that you believe you are qualified for.
If you have your offer rescinded, you should reach out to the hiring manager or human resources manager and request additional information. Let them know that you are disappointed that the offer was rescinded but would like any additional information as to why it was so that you can work on yourself and those points of weakness moving forward.
Feel free to use the template below:
To Whom It May Concern:
I am deeply saddened and disappointed by the news of the rescinded offer. While I was extremely excited to begin working at your company and on your team, I respect your decision and the path you have chosen.
Would you be able to provide a few specifics as to why the offer was rescinded? I would appreciate the clarity as it will allow me to focus on myself and the work I must do for my future career and employment.
Whatever their answer may be, it is imperative that you take the time to reflect on their decision and amend some aspects of your actions. Utilize this time for self-reflection and to work out any issues or dilemmas you may be having. Work to make amends with any people you may have rebuffed or rebuked and make sincere intentions to try to do better.
But don’t wallow in self-pity or anger. Continue to apply to open positions, be honest with yourself and the interviewers and take the rescinded offer as a sign of what you need to do. Work on yourself and the job process will work out in the end.