Rescinding an Offer of Employment

Has anyone out there ever rescinded an employment offer? What were the reasons, how did you communicate it to the person, and what was the end result? Any fall out? We hopefully won't have to go down this road, but I'd love to hear other people's stories for some insight!


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  • I did it yesterday.

    We made the offer Friday night, and she needed the weekend to think about it. That was fine, but as of yesterday she still felt she needed more time to think about it. I told her we were withdrawing the offer, and I picked someone who was a bit less prone to playing hard-to-get.

    I don't have to do it often, but there have been several different reasons. The most frequent is gamesmanship. If I make a fair offer to the candidate and they seem to be holding out trying to get more pay, etc., there's a good chance I will rescind the offer. Especially if the pay I'm offering is exactly what the applicant requested on the application - which was the case with the offer I rescinded yesterday. I've also rescinded for failing drug tests, background checks, or waiting too long to schedule the drug test.

    I'm very matter-of-fact about it, and I don't waver. If I rescind because the candidate is suddenly demanding more money, and they have a change of heart about it... tough luck. The last thing I want to do is load up with employees who think they can play games with HR. :)
  • Frank,

    Was that an HR position? If not, would you have proceeded the same if it was a position reporting to a manager who was adamant about hiring that particular person?

  • It was for a mortgage processor. We had three or four candidates who were qualified and can likely do the job, so it was easy enough to go to a backup candidate. The manager was torn between really wanting this candidate, and really wanting to get the position finally filled.
  • Our situation is a bit different - the offer has already been made, the individual has given notice to their former employer, but in the meantime we lost a few clients, namely, the one this individual would have been assigned to.

    I agree with many of the reasons Frank listed for withdrawing offers - those are a no-brainer to me - if you don't show true initiative pre-hire, how am I to expect you to show initiative once you're on the payroll?
  • We send out rescission letters to employees if they fail to pass the physical requirements of the job prior to being hired, if certain things show up on their criminal background check that are not allowed by the state and lying on their job application. A valid driver's license is required and if they fail to have their license reinstated after a check shows is was suspended we will rescind our offer. We are a residential treatment facility for children, most of whom are referred by the state, and we have to meet their requirements.
  • Coffee, I think you just have to call this person, explain what happened, and follow it up with a letter. It is possible this person can go to his/her current employer and tell them they decided they didn't want to leave after all (which is true since they prefer working there to being unemployed).

    It's too bad you can't find a place for this person somewhere else, but if you lost clients you are probably already overstaffed. It wouldn't hurt to let other local HR people know about this employee, in case they need someone. (Are you part of a local SHRM chapter?) You have already done alot of the groundwork for them, and it can save them some time.
  • I've rescinded offers for questionable background results, pending charges, and primarily for failing to complete orientation. Just had that one this week - the candidate rescheduled their orientation once and the program manager was ready to rescind the offer then. I talked her into giving the candidate another chance - to get the full story instead of just what was left in the message - she rescheduled for the next day and then attempted to reschedule again. We rescinded the offer due to her ability to complete her end of the hiring process.
    As far as your case goes, it sucks but since you lost the client and no longer need the candidate, you really don't have much of a choice but to rescind the offer because it would put a hardship on you.
  • [QUOTE=Still Need Coffee;721559]Has anyone out there ever rescinded an employment offer? What were the reasons, how did you communicate it to the person, and what was the end result? Any fall out? We hopefully won't have to go down this road, but I'd love to hear other people's stories for some insight![/QUOTE]

    I had a position open and now it has been put on hold. Probably will not reopen but I will let them know we will keep their resumes on file. I have never had to rescind on an offer but have been on the other end because of business closing reasons. Not a nice thing to have to do.:(
  • Have had to in several instances. When a written job offer has been made and the potential employee does not pass the background, driver's license or drug test -- we rescind. There is a specific procedure required for background and drug failures (you probably know them already). I rescind in writing and send supporting documentation.

    Have also had to rescind for other reasons. Just last week, made an offer and the applicant was taking days to accept -- finally admitted he was waiting for another company to make him an offer. Well I decided that being the case, we needed to rescind our offer -- to much of a chance he would start and then quit because a better opportunity came along. I verbally (politely) advised that we preferred to have him take the time necessary to decide where he wanted to work.
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