Career Advice

How Often Are Job Offers Rescinded? (And How To Respond)  

If you’ve ever received a dreaded “job offer pullback,” you may be asking, “How often are job offers rescinded?” You’re likely wondering why it happens and what you should do as well. While it’s an unfortunate situation, it’s certainly not uncommon.

What Does It Mean When a Job Offer Is Rescinded?

It’s always bad news when an employer rescinds a job offer because it means they’re taking it back. For some reason, the employer is no longer interested in having a professional relationship with the applicant at that time for the position they originally offered the person.

Job take-backs sometimes occur after the applicant signs the offer letter and usually occur after the employer performs some contingencies. That’s not always the case, however.

In some cases, a worker passes the contingencies and even relocates to assume a new position, and then the take-back letter comes via email. Some employers do it the considerate way and reach out to the workers by telephone, but it doesn’t help much.

Read More:

Can an Employer Withdraw an Offer After an Employee Accepts?

An employer is entitled to withdraw a job offer or end employment at any time, up to and including before the employee starts. Most jobs are at-will arrangements that allow the employer and employee to terminate. The only exceptions are employment contracts that hold the parties to a specific timeframe.

Unfortunately, a rescinded offer is something that happens to many people, and there is no legal recourse for it without a contract.

Why Do Employers Rescind Job Offers?

Failed contingencies are the top reason employers rescind job offers. Applicants sometimes fail pre-employment drug tests, or their background comes back with something unfavorable. The employer then decides to go with another candidate who passed their checks and tests.

Employers notify applicants of the reasons why they pulled back the offer when it’s because of a failed background check. In other situations, they can choose not to reveal their reasons. For example, the letter may say something like, “We’ve decided to go with another candidate.”

These are other common reasons employers rescind offers:

Job Position Filled

Sometimes, the employer accidentally miscalculates the open number of job requisitions. More than one manager hires people, and there aren’t enough slots to fill.

This situation most likely won’t involve an explanation. Instead, it will probably get a generic rejection letter, and the candidate will have to contact the employer for additional information.

The decision can also come from above to remove an open position. Such a choice might pertain to the company’s budget. It happens. More companies start to rescind job offers when they face budgeting crises. There isn’t much you can do if that’s the reason for the turnaround.

Offer Expired

Some people complete their offer letters and take the jobs right away. However, other applicants allow their offers to expire by spending too much time thinking about them. Offer letters state how long the candidates have to respond before they expire.

When that time comes, the employer nullifies the offer and rescinds it. The applicants then have to go through the entire process of reapplying unless they can convince the hiring managers to send a new offer.

Non-Compete Agreement

In some cases, the employee has a current non-compete agreement with a former employer requesting that the worker not gain employment with a direct competitor for a certain amount of time. Such employers can cause problems for those workers by contacting the new employer.

An incident like that will depend on whether the former employer goes through extreme measures to stay up-to-date on what the ex-employee does. The employer would then be obligated to terminate the new employee’s job and rescind the offer or face legal consequences that might be costly.

An employer may be required to notify the employee of the reason they pulled the job in this situation. Then the worker would know that the former employer had contacted the new one and take more careful steps when seeking future employment.

More Favorable Candidate

In some cases, the employer fails to discontinue their search for workers, and someone they feel has more qualifications catches their eye. Unfortunately, they have the right to do that if they please.

Conflicting Decisions

Some hiring managers have to review their worker selections with people higher up in the chain of command. Those higher-ups may choose not to bring a new employee on board.

Missing Paperwork

An employer may also pull back an offer because the worker fails to acknowledge or sign a document necessary for continued employment. The employer can then rescind the offer because the applicant disagreed with signing the document.

How Often are Job offers Rescinded?

There are no clear-cut statistics on the number of jobs employers rescind, and we can only say that layoffs and discharges were at 21.7 million in 2019.

Annual hires were 70 million in 2019, but no data shows how many job offers went out and got reversed before the workers started.

However, job offers do get rescinded, and it makes a huge difference. Some workers put in their two-weeks’ notice to work for a new employer who takes back the offer. Other people move and re-arrange their lives for a job that never materializes. The answer to “How often are job offers rescinded?” is not well known, but the inconvenience and disappointment are apparent.

How To Respond To a Rescinded Job Offer

If you receive a letter with a rescinded offer, you can choose the way you respond. These are some ideas:

Start Looking for a New Job

You’re under no obligation to respond to a rescinded job offer. You can choose to write nothing and continue your job search. They’ve already let you know they are not interested in considering you for that job. Thus, you can apply to a new organization or apply for a different position if you desire it and they encourage you to.

Contact the Manager and Ask Questions

You may also reach out to the hiring manager via letter or phone call and ask for further information about why they chose not to continue the path of hiring you. The hiring manager can give you an idea of why the company made the decision, and you can thank them and continue your search. Alternatively, you can request a stay period to resolve the situation if it has anything to do with your background or drug test.

For example, you can request a second, more extensive drug test or produce your prescription to see if the company will overturn its decision. You might be someone who had a surgical procedure done close to the time you had the test and forgot to mention it because it wasn’t on your mind.

A hair drug test can detect prescription drug usage at least 90 days back. The employer might reverse the decision if you can produce a valid prescription and the tests show that your usage wasn’t very recent.

For background check mishaps, you might get the chance to explain the occurrence and situation or have them reconsider because of the age of the incident. If there’s an error in your work history dates or report, you can always discuss that with the manager as well. The least you can do is try and then continue your job search afterward.

Now you have some information about when you get a formal or verbal job offer rescinded. They are not uncommon, but solid statistics for the number of rescinded offers are unavailable. Don’t be discouraged or take it personally if it happens to you one day.

It may be personal, or you might just be a business casualty. It happens in this uncertain world, and there isn’t much you can do other than accept their decision. You can use the experience to strengthen your job searches and change some of your methods in the future.

Read More:

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

No Comments

    Leave a Reply