Rescinded Job offer: What to do and how to bounce back

I recently learned a new word: Rescinded. The term was introduced to me during a phone call with the HR Manager, who had just informed me that my job offer was withdrawn two days before my scheduled start date. Yes, it happens, and yesterday, it happened to me. What to do if your job offer is rescinded and how to move forward professionally.


What is a Rescinded job offer?

A rescinded job offer occurs when a company takes back an offer they previously gave you. This means the job you were all set to start is suddenly no longer on the table. Picture this: You went through interviews, got to the final stage, and they offered you the job. You negotiated the details and signed the contract.

Everything was set for you to start next month. This is a significant moment, especially after all the effort you put into finding a job. You prepared for the new role – possibly resigning, upskilling, researching, planning logistics, and sharing your excitement with family and friends. And then, out of nowhere, you get a call. The company’s plans changed, and they’re taking back the job offer.

Common reasons for rescinded job offers, particularly after signing and passing a background check, include company restructuring, lack of resources, or sudden economic challenges. These factors are beyond your control, so there’s no need to search for faults on your end. You were selected as a candidate who excelled in interviews and was offered the job for valid reasons. You won “Hunger Games” for the new role and did everything in your power to get ready to jump on the train. Rescinding the job offer is legal, although highly unethical, and perhaps you’re fortunate not to be joining the company after all.


How I lost my job two days before the start date

After rounds of interviews with the HR manager and Marketing Director, I was offered the role of Marketing Coordinator, focusing on project management and executing marketing campaigns, on August 1st. I accepted the position, signed the contract on August 2nd, and was set to start on September 1st.

The next day, I resigned from my previous job and began to feel genuinely excited about joining the marketing team of a well-known company. With nearly a month to prepare, I dove into extensive research of the company’s primary niche, meticulously read every blog and review, and delved into a thorough understanding of each division and its marketing projects. In addition, I devised a comprehensive study plan featuring courses aimed at mastering the necessary skills for my new role and familiarizing myself with the tools I would be using daily.

I was standing in the quiet study area of the Toronto Reference Library, right in the middle of a LinkedIn Learning course on no-code website development, when the unexpected call came. The HR manager informed me that the contract was being cancelled – two days before the intended start date. The news left me speechless, unable to react, and I found myself crying in public. It hadn’t even occurred to me that this could be a possibility, that I wouldn’t be starting on Friday. The harsh reality set in: I no longer had a job.

What to do when your job offer is rescinded

Hearing such news, wildly when unexpected, can be devastating. It’s perfectly normal to feel shocked and disheartened. I sat down and cried for a good hour (and a couple more hours throughout the day).

Once I regained some clarity, I began contemplating my next steps. I struggled to face life’s unfairness but decided to channel my energy constructively. I opened my laptop and began crafting a plan. And then I wrote this article. A storyteller at heart with a journalist’s mindset, I couldn’t stay silent. During this process, I penned down my tips for dealing with a rescinded job offer.

  • Gain clarity: Take a moment to understand what led to the rescinded job offer entirely. Knowing the reasons behind it can help you process the situation better.
  • Embrace your emotions: Allow yourself to feel sad or disappointed about the situation. It’s okay to let out your feelings and cry if needed; it’s a natural way to release tension.
  • Cultivate gratitude: Avoid harboring bitterness. Instead, appreciate the opportunity you were given and remain gracious, even if things didn’t turn out as planned.
  • Maintain positive relationships: Keep your interactions with the HR department and managers of the company professional and warm. You never know how these relationships could be beneficial in the future.
  • Value the experience: Recognize that the time you invested in preparing for the role, acquiring new skills, and researching was not wasted. This experience has made you wiser and stronger than before.
  • Consider reconnecting: Before contacting your previous employer, consider your motivations carefully. Remember the reasons why you left your previous role and focus on moving forward, not backward.
  • Think about legal actions: Given that you resigned from your previous job with the expectation of starting a new one and have already signed a contract, it’s worth researching whether you might be eligible for compensation due to a breach of contract.
  • Plan your next steps: Start thinking about your next moves and be prepared to re-engage with the job search process.
  • Leverage your network: Reach out to your professional network and let them know that you’re back on the job market due to unforeseen circumstances. Your connections offer valuable insights or even new opportunities.
  • Share your story: Consider sharing your experience on social media. Your post could attract attention and put you on the radar of recruiters looking for someone like you for their upcoming roles.

A rescinded job offer might feel like the end of the world, but trust me, it’s not. Most of the time, it’s more like dodging a bullet – it’s better when it happens before your start date than being laid off after a couple of weeks or months. Resilience and the ability to bounce back quickly are your greatest strengths.

Be grateful for the experience gained from the interview process and the new skills and knowledge acquired while preparing for your role. This is an opportunity to grow as a professional, and today, you are stronger and wiser than you were yesterday. And what about tomorrow? That’s when another job offer will come. And this time, it will work out.

Maria Rostecka picture
Maria Rostecka

Author: Maria Rostecka, Content Specialist for The Onside Media, Canada. She is based in Toronto, Ontario. If you have any stories to share, please feel free to reach out:


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