Survey: More than a quarter of workers backed out of job offers they agreed to

The survey gathered responses from more than 2,800 workers across nearly 30 US cities and found that 28% admitted to backing out after initially agreeing.

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Just because a candidate accepts a job offer doesn’t mean it’s a definitive yes.

A new survey by Robert Half found that more than a quarter of workers claimed to have backed out of offers at the last minute after initially saying yes.


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The survey, which gathered responses from more than 2,800 workers across nearly 30 US cities, found that 28% admitted to backing out after initially agreeing.

Forty-four percent said they backed out after saying yes because they received a better offer from another company. Others said they received a counteroffer from their current employer (27%) and some heard things about the company they accepted from that they didn’t actually like.

“Having cold feet is understandable; ghosting an employer is unacceptable,” Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half, said. “Even though it may seem easier to avoid an awkward situation, transparency is always the best policy during a job search. If you have a change of heart after accepting a position, be honest with the hiring manager.”

What you can do if you change your mind after accepting a job offer?

McDonald recommends explaining to the employer that you won’t be accepting the job offer. It won’t necessarily be received well, but it offers a moment where communication and candor make you look better on your balk.

“If you handle the situation unprofessionally, however, it can reflect negatively on you personally and follow you in future job searches,” McDonald warns.

Here are three tips for candidates after changing their mind on a job offer, according to Robert Half.

1. Read the fine print: Especially if you’ve signed a formal contract, be careful and make sure there are no hidden points when revoking your offer.

2. Be forthcoming: Tell whoever you can — hiring manager, recruiter or human resources — that you’ve decided to move in a different direction as soon as possible.

3. Exit gracefully: Avoid sending a text message or email. Call or meet in person to notify the company you will no longer be accepting the position. Being apologetic and profession goes a long way.


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Kyle Schnitzer|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at kschnitzer@theladders.com.