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What should you do if you accept a job offer – and then get a better one?

At some point, it may have felt like there was no way this would ever happen – but it does. And even though it’s a good problem to have, it’s a problem nonetheless.

Fortunately, there are strategies you can use to professionally decline a job offer with a minimum of collateral damage – even one you’re already said yes to.

First and foremost: Don’t start the first job and then quit.

This will make things even worse. The employer already has to go back to square one in their hiring process, and now you’re just rubbing salt in the wound. It pretty much eliminates any chance of maintaining a positive relationship with the company going forward.

Have you signed a contract?

If not, then you’re legally allowed to change your mind. If so, it depends on the contract. Read it word for word regarding any legal repercussions to rejecting the job. For instance, some contracts specify that you have a certain amount of time during which you can reject the offer or that you have to give a certain number of days’ notice.

Rip off the Band-Aid ASAP.

Don’t procrastinate rescinding the first offer. The sooner you let the hiring manager know, the sooner they can start looking for a replacement. They won’t be pleased, but they will appreciate your quick and honest communication if they’re true pros.

Be honest, but tactful.

Let the employer know why you’ve changed your mind, but do so in a positive way. You were that close to going to work for them, so focus on the positives. Reiterate the specific things you really liked about the opportunity. And, simply and briefly explain why your new offer suits you better.

Say thank you.

Express your gratitude as you explain that turning down the job was a difficult and carefully considered decision. Remember: You never know if you may want to revisit working for this company in the future.

Stick to your bottom line.

The employer may try to negotiate to get you to stay on board with them. This can be heady, so decide what your bottom line is before you start the conversation. Even if your choice to rescind was not about money, benefits, or perks, they can all be tempting. Have a firm idea of what, if anything, would entice you to change your mind.

Choose a suitable communication medium.

In most cases, rescinding a job offer is best done in person or via a telephone call. This allows you to explain yourself more clearly and increases your chances of saving that professional relationship. But, you should also follow up with a letter or email confirming your conversation.

Connect with Search Wizards

The professional career coaches at Search Wizards can help you learn how to rescind a job offer best, renegotiate if needed, and learn valuable lessons as you go – which of course, are a plus to your future as a recruiter, as well. We have the secret sauce to help you make the right career decisions and help others do the same – because recruitment and talent acquisition is all we do. To learn more, read our related posts or reach out to us today.