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Most employers understand that candidates might turn down offers, and that there is never a requirement to accept an offer, and only a particularly strange employer would hold it against you if you did.  You’re absolutely entitled to turn down an offer as an employer is to turn you down, and reasonable people understand that.

It is possible to mishandle turning down an offer in a way that could hurt your chances with that company in the future.

  1. If you accepted a job offer and then changed your mind on the exact date that was supposedly going to be your first day, then no one at that company will offer you a position. The hiring manager now sees you as unreliable, and changing the hiring manager’s mind may require a small miracle.
  2. If you insisted you were definitely leaving your current position, and would never accept a counter-offer and then accepted the counter-offer
  3. If you negotiated a higher pay rate or extra benefits, asking the hiring manager or recruiter to go to bat for you, and they did (which now is associated with their own decision making), and then you turned it down anyway, even though they met your requests.
  4. Accept the offer initially, but then backed out.
  5. Staying silent on some key information until the offer stage – such as you can only work from home but never mentioned this earlier, want a higher salary than the range they shared with you earlier.
  6. Insisting throughout the process that you’re ready to move, change fields, or some other large change for the position – and then changing your mind once you actually got the offer. This isn’t bad behavior, but it makes you appear unreliable or that you don’t know your own mind. This will make recruiters and hiring managers less likely to be interested in investing time in you again.

If you have done any of these things, start a new search. We can help you with a new search, but only you can make the final decision.


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