Published: March 22, 2023
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Receiving an offer for a job can feel exciting and rewarding, especially in a competitive job market. Take time to consider whether the position is right for your future. You may decide to accept the position even if the job doesn’t match your main interests or goals; however, you may regret the decision if a better opportunity comes along.

Reneging on a job offer can negatively impact you, the employer and CU Boulder. To avoid this situation, consider these recommendations from Career Services.

Investigate during the interview process

The interview process is a time for you to make a good impression on a potential employer and an opportunity to learn more about the company or organization. Use the interview to ask questions that help you understand the position and learn about the culture.

Before the interview, think about what you value in a workplace and job. Consider what is most important to you in a job or organization. Do you value a flexible schedule, prefer to work with a team or want autonomy at work? Other things to consider are the salary range and opportunities for advancement.

Use your values as the foundation for the questions to ask during the interview or when you receive a job offer. If a position or organization doesn’t align with your values or goals, you may not want to accept the offer, especially in the early stages of your job search. Career Services can help you come up with some questions to ask based on your job and workplace values.

Best practices when you receive a job offer

Receiving a job offer is exciting and rewarding. But don’t let the excitement rush your decision. When you receive an offer, ask about the timeframe for your response. Employers typically give students one to two weeks to decide on a job offer.

Be sure to thank the person making the offer for the opportunity and let them know when you plan to get back to them with your answer. Mark your calendar and follow up with a response by the deadline or time you said you would reply.

Consider any additional information you need to help you make a decision. Think about where you are in your job search process with other employers. Also, be honest about whether you want to work in the position and for the organization.

If there is another position you’re also interviewing for that you are more interested in, contact the recruiter or hiring manager and ask about their timeline. If the timelines do not align, consider asking for a deadline extension from the company that gave you the offer. You do not need to share why you are asking for more time. Instead, ask if there is any flexibility with the original deadline. They may or may not provide additional time.

Depending on the time of year and your situation, turning down a job offer may be the right decision.

After you accept a position

After you accept a position and sign the offer, discontinue your job search. You may want to contact any other companies where you applied to withdraw your candidacy. If you hear of exciting opportunities, keep track of the organizations and positions of interest and identify potential people you could network with in the future.

Remember that recruiters and hiring managers within an industry are well-connected. Reneging a job offer could potentially harm your professional reputation resulting in limited opportunities for yourself and other students in the future.

What to do if you change your mind 

You may have personal circumstances that arise that require you to walk away after accepting a position. If this occurs, communicate early with the recruiter or hiring manager. Share that while you are very appreciative of the offer and had every intention to start the position, unfortunately, due to a personal circumstance, you can no longer work in that position.

Determine ahead of time what you feel comfortable sharing. Sometimes more details are helpful. But overall, your circumstances are your business. You have no obligation to provide more information than feels comfortable for you.

We recommend communicating in the format most frequently used by the recruiter or hiring manager. For example, you can email them to renege on the offer if they communicate primarily through email. However, if they called to schedule the interview and make the offer, we recommend calling them.

You may also receive a new offer for a different job that you previously applied to before you committed to the first organization. If the new offer is for a more desirable job that aligns better with your career goals, you must decide how to move forward.

While it is better to maintain your original commitment, you can renege on the initial offer and accept the new position. We recommend you extend your appreciation to the original employer for the opportunity and acknowledge that you understand this creates a challenge for them. Explain that you received an offer for a different position that better aligns with your goals.

Navigating the job search process

It takes time to understand the job search process. The process can feel intimidating, from submitting your resume to accepting an offer. But you don’t have to manage it alone. Career Services is here to help guide you and connect you to resources.

If you need support or guidance navigating job offers, you can schedule an express appointment or pop in for virtual office hours. We can discuss your questions and offer strategies to help you decide.