There are several reasons why you may want to decline a job offer once accepting. You may receive a better job offer or realise the position isn't actually as good as you thought. Or maybe when you spoke to your current employer they presented a counter-offer you couldn't resist.
Many people find themselves in this sort of circumstance during their career.
Verbally Accepted the Job Offer
If you haven't signed the employment contract, legally you can change your mind.
Ensure you are certain that you no longer wish to accept the role, as once this is communicated you will likely not be considered for any future roles at the company.
Communicate with the employer/recruiter without delay, as they have spent money in the hiring process and will need to consider how to move forward, i.e. find a replacement.
Further, you may want to use the recruiter to help you find a new role, immediately or at some point in the future. It is therefore important that you communicate quickly and directly so that you don't tarnish that relationship.
Already Signed the Employment Contract
Carefully read through the entire contract to ensure there will be no legal repercussions. Pay close attention to any provisions that require for notice to be provided should you no longer wish to accept the role.
Inform the employer and/or the recruiter as soon as you have made your decision, as they will need to make alternative plans. It is also important to communicate directly, be polite and as honest as possible. Ignoring the employer or recruiter could harm your reputation.
Learn from the Experience
In future, carefully consider the job role before accepting. Evaluate the pros and cons of the job offer and negotiate the important terms before accepting the role.
Remember, it is unlikely that changing your mind will negatively affect your career. Your employer also doesn't want to take someone on who doesn't want to be with the company. It also is better to decline prior to the start date, rather than starting the role and quitting soon after as on-boarding and training incur further costs.
If in any doubt about your legal position, contact our Employment team for advice.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.