Job Offer Rescinded? Use These 5 Job Search Strategies
Job offer rescinded? Let’s talk strategies. Don’t feel like reading? Listen here!
Those have been common in the business world for years.
But job offers being rescinded?
That’s also not new. But it is happening frequently—and at an alarming rate.
LinkedIn and Twitter are full of social media posts—many agonizing and heartbreaking to read—from experienced professionals who have obtained new jobs. And then they find out days before they expect to start their new job that the offer has been rescinded and they no longer have a role with that company.
Wes Pearce, a professional resume writer, LinkedIn profile writer, and executive career coach, posted this on LinkedIn:
“When we receive an official job offer, we expect to turn in our two weeks and get excited for the new opportunity,” wrote Pearce. “But did you know a company can take that offer back without any notice? Rescinded job offers used to be a rare story we’d hear from a friend of a friend, but recently they’re becoming more common.”
One software engineer shared this on LinkedIn: “Today, I was in the middle of my IT onboarding when I realized Coinbase rescinded my job offer. It is an unfortunate train-wreck situation, but I see this as a life-defining one.”
An executive recruiter posted this: “This week a job offer I had accepted with Workstream over a month ago was rescinded. My start date was next week. I honestly never thought I’d find myself in this situation and am still processing it all as I navigate what’s next.”
What to Do When Your Job Offer Is Rescinded
So how should one react or handle a job offer being rescinded? Colleen Paulson, a career development consultant and certified professional resume writer, shared this advice and these tips on LinkedIn:
“People are more than an expense on an income statement and deserve to be treated with respect,” wrote Paulson. “That’s why these recent rescinded job offers by Coinbase, Twitter, Redfin, and others are so hurtful. These folks trusted these companies, stopped interviewing, gave notice at current employers, and now find themselves restarting the job search process again (through no fault of their own).”
Paulson continued: “If you’ve been affected, you should give yourself credit for making it through the hiring process in the first place, but also realize that any company who rescinds your offer is probably not going to treat you well as an employee.”
Here are three action steps that you to take today if you have had a job offer rescinded, according to Paulson:
1. You can (and should) name-drop the company that rescinded your offer on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
You should make it clear to recruiters and hiring managers that your current career break isn’t your fault, so call them by name on your resume or LinkedIn profile.
Example: Accepted Product Manager role with Coinbase in November 2021 after five interviews. Job offer was rescinded in June 2022 due to corporate cost reduction initiatives.
2. Reach out to your network.
Most people want to help. Set up phone calls or coffee meetings—but reach out, let people know what happened, and what types of roles you are looking for.
3. Negotiate a severance package.
Make sure you get everything you deserve from the company that has rescinded your offer.
This includes severance pay, insurance coverage, career development support (resume writing/career coaching), tuition reimbursement, visa sponsorship, etc.
“You aren’t just a number, you are more than a bottom-line expense, and you deserve to be treated with respect,” added Paulson.
Should You Ask for Other Roles in the Same Organization?
It may be tempting to ask the company that rescinded the job offer if there are other opportunities within the organization to pursue. If doing so, proceed with caution, says Christy Lyons, Principal at 4 Point Consulting, an organization that provides a variety of HR and talent acquisition services.
“My gut here says, don’t do it,” says Lyons.
She adds that a company that rescinds a job offer is likely:
- About to do layoffs
- To have a very poor culture and perhaps permission-to-hire wires were crossed in a power struggle
- To have learned something about you that makes you no longer a fit.
Most of the social media shockwaves about rescinded job offers place blame on the employer—and rightfully so, based on the sheer number of job offers being rescinded. However, this is a good reminder to job seekers that even when you accept a new job, it’s still important to be sure your social media profiles are clean and professional (in the past, present, and future).
And, be cautious about what you post, professional or personal.
“Check your social media,” says Lyons. “Watch what you say online. I had a candidate lose a hefty six-figure director role because of their personal blog that ragged on their workplace non-stop.”
In most cases, retracted job offers are more to do with the company and its current status in the current volatile business climate and economy. The tech sector is seeing an alarming number of layoffs. According to a TechCrunch report, 15,000 jobs were axed globally in May 2022 alone.
“Though it might feel devastating, have confidence in the fact that you received an offer,” says Sarah Doody, founder of Career Strategy Lab™, a UX career accelerator that helps UX professionals get hired without applying to hundreds of roles. “A rescinded offer may not reflect you as a candidate. Oftentimes, there are internal factors that change such company priorities and budgets. Don’t take it personally, and don’t get stuck in doom or frustration.”
Should You Reach Back Out to Your Past Employer?
This depends on why you left the role in the first place, says Lyons. Did you have a good relationship with your manager and colleagues? Were you a top performer?
“If those questions are answered yes, then you should consider apologizing and being honest,” says Lyons. “Tell them you made a mistake and why you were leaving, but you’d like to try again and figure out a path forward. Be genuine.”
However, keep in mind that something caused you to look, interview, and leave that role in the past. Those issues (a bad boss, poor company culture, dislike for the duties of the job, career stagnation) aren’t suddenly going to go away because you now need a job.
“If you left your previous company on good terms, then you should consider re-engaging them to see if your previous job has been filled or if there might be other opportunities,” says Doody.
“Though it might feel awkward, the worst that happens is they say no, so you have nothing to lose. If you feel like you burned bridges and don’t have the relationships or respect to go back to your previous employer, then consider this a lesson for the future to temper what you say in exit interviews because as you can see, it could be valuable to have inroads back to your previous company.”
The Importance of an Ongoing Job Search Strategy
One can avoid panicking when a job offer is rescinded—and avoid starting a job search again from the ground up—by having a job search strategy that you revisit twice a year, not just when you need to find a job, says Doody. She adds that the job search should rely on two key activities:
- First, proactively reach out, apply, and build relationships with people at the companies where you want to work.
- Second, leverage and optimize your LinkedIn profile so that it becomes a magnet for roles that align with what you’re looking for. If done correctly, your LinkedIn profile can work in the background, attracting the right people who might want to hire you.
While many job seekers know LinkedIn is important, they need to learn how to optimize a LinkedIn profile to get the most out of it.
“Where you show up in LinkedIn search results depends on a variety of factors, and a major one is the quality of your LinkedIn headline,” says Doody.
She says people tend to get overly creative with their LinkedIn headlines, and that’s problematic because recruiters and hiring managers aren’t searching for terms such as “passionate and empathetic graphic designer,” “rockstar sales guru,” or “aspiring social media strategist.” Instead, write a clear and unique LinkedIn headline that includes keywords relevant to what you do, but also communicates something unique about you, such as your years of experience, industries you’ve worked in or are interested in, or specialized degrees.
One job seeker in Doody’s Career Strategy Lab coaching program made several minor tweaks to their LinkedIn profile.
And, within 48 hours, received messages from eight different recruiters inquiring about multiple opportunities, including that client’s dream role.
5 Job Search Strategies for Those Who Had a Job Offer Rescinded
- Reach out to a recruiter with a contract or staffing company in your field. This industry is booming, and numerous contracts, temp-to-hire, and direct-hire opportunities are available in a wide variety of industries.
- This may not be popular, but it is something to consider: Ask the company that rescinds your offer if you can work for them on a contract basis (again, there are a lot of variables, emotions, and challenges to consider). Says Doody: “Think back to conversations you had in interviews. Were there problems they brought up that you could address in a consulting project versus being an employee?”
- Remember the importance of remaining professional: Don’t go out on social media and bash the company. You can certainly mention the company name and what happened, but focus your energy on landing your next job, not taking shots at a company for a job that didn’t work out. Future employers will respect that much more. And remember: Don’t burn bridges when you leave a company, especially if there’s a chance you might want to work there again in the future.
- Stay in the job market until you officially start working at the new company. Delay declining other job offers for as long as possible. Try to keep other opportunities on the back burner until you start your new job.
- Take the leap: Have you thought about going out on your own, starting a business, or doing something different? Maybe now is the time. “A friend of mine ended up starting his own business in handiwork from this kind of situation,” says Lyons. “It was always a hobby to him, but when a new job didn’t work out, he put feelers for handyman work out there while he hunted. He now has a full LLC with license and insurance and has over ten contractors working for him.”
Through it all, be sure to take care of yourself and focus on your mental health and well-being.
“This is not the time to party,” says Lyons. “Focus, eat right, sleep, work out, and make sure you keep your stress under control.”
Your job offer may have been rescinded, but you’re still the same talented, hard-working person who just received and accepted a job offer. The situation now is far from ideal, but you will find and accept another job—with a company and opportunity that is the right fit for you.