Withdrawing A Job Offer: What You Need To Know


Once you’ve gone over all the applications, made it through the interview process, and offered a candidate the job they were gunning for, you might think that you, and the applicant, have got nothing more to worry about.

However, when details come up further down the line which make you think twice, you can find yourself in a very awkward position.

If you want to withdraw a job offer you’ve already made, then you’ll obviously have a lot of questions. Here’s a post which should clear things up.

When Can You Withdraw a Job Offer?

I thought I’d start this off with the good news – businesses can withdraw job offers for almost any reason, although there may be legal consequences in certain situations.

Most states, excluding Montana, have “employment-at-will” statutes. These allow any employer to fire any employee under most reasonable circumstances. The same laws can usually be applied to withdrawn job offers in a similar way.

For example, if a prospect fails your company’s criminal background checks, fails a drug test, or misrepresents their history in some way, then you can withdraw the offer and that will be the end of it.

If you can’t accommodate for the individual’s disability, or they have an employment history that’s rife with abuses of their sick leave, then you may also be able to rescind the offer.

Ellis Whittam have written about this in detail. Sometimes, simply documenting changes in economic conditions, such as a drop in earnings, can be enough for you to withdraw a job offer without any kind of legal repercussions.


When Can’t You Withdraw a Job Offer

There aren’t all that many reasons why an employer won’t be able to legally withdraw a job offer.

Mainly, you need to make sure that there’s no way you or whoever’s overseeing the recruitment process can be accused of discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin and so forth.

The legal action following a discrimination case can be extremely damaging to any business, but hopefully you’re running a firm where there’s no real chance of this occurring!

In some circumstances, candidates may be due compensation if they’ve already incurred costs for relocating for the job you offered them, submitting their resignation to their current job, signing a lease and so on.

If there’s the faintest shadow of a doubt that you’re going to withdraw the offer, advise candidates to hold off on these things and keep records of doing it!


What to Do When After Withdrawing an Offer

In all likelihood, if the candidate isn’t happy about your move to withdraw their job offer, you’re going to hear about it straight away!

In a lot of states, the candidate may be able to find an attorney who will promise that they have grounds for a lawsuit against your company. This can drive fledgling start-ups in the ground, so consult with a lawyer as soon as possible.

Hopefully, it will never come to this. Still, it highlights the importance of an airtight recruitment process!

Have you ever withdrawn from a job offer?  I would love to hear about your experience and why you made that decision in the comments below.


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