The latest on our COVID-19 response in 2022 Learn More


Home / Experiencing second thoughts: Can you change your mind after accepting a job offer?

Experiencing second thoughts: Can you change your mind after accepting a job offer?

Jul 28, 2021 | Careers Advice, Employment

Experiencing second thoughts: Can you change your mind after accepting a job offer?

Have you accepted a job offer you now need to turn down? There are plenty of reasons you could be in this situation, from having been offered another job to learning something about the company that makes it seem like a bad fit for you. Although this isn’t an ideal situation, you’re not the first person to be in this position. However, this doesn’t have to negatively impact your career. Taking the proper steps and being respectful can go a long way to leaving a good impression.

Before Declining the Offer

If you’ve already accepted the job offer, you should be absolutely certain you no longer want it before you decline it. Declining the offer at this point means you’ll be far less likely to have the opportunity to work with this organisation in the future. Taking time to really think about this decision will help prevent regret in the future.

If you signed an employment contract, you’ll also need to review that before you can decline the offer. Some contracts have legal repercussions for turning the offer down after accepting. In those cases, you should consult a lawyer or employment expert before saying anything. Depending on the contract, you may have a specific window of time in which you’re allowed to turn down the offer.

How to Turn Down a Job You’ve Already Accepted

If the contract you’ve signed gives you time to turn down the offer, or if you haven’t yet signed an employment contract, you’re free to tell your employer you no longer want the job. Taking the following steps will minimise the repercussions of turning down a job after already accepting it:

Tell Your Employer as Soon as Possible

Once you’ve made your decision, it’s ideal to let your employer know right away. It will be easier for both you and the employer if you tell them sooner rather than later. It’s especially important to turn down the job before you actually start. At that point, it will be much harder for your employer to find someone else to fill the position, and it will cost them more resources.

Communicate in Person

If at all possible, you should turn down the offer in person, or at least over the phone. You will be able to explain your situation much better this way, and it will come off as more respectful. If you can’t see them in person or call them, sending an email is the best alternative.

Be Both Honest and Respectful

No matter your reason for turning down the job, you should always be respectful towards the employer and the organisation. You should also be honest about why you’re leaving, but it’s important to be concise and polite about it as well. For example, if you’re choosing to turn down the job because you heard negative stories about working there, you can say that you don’t think the culture at the organisation is the right fit for you.

Express Your Gratitude

As they did offer you a job, it’s helpful to express gratitude in this situation. Although you’re turning the job down now, you may want to work with them sometime in the future, and showing some gratitude will help leave a good impression.

For the Future

Although it’s okay to change your mind after accepting a job offer, turning down a job prior to accepting it is always better than turning it down after. In the future, you may want to consider spending more time deciding on the offer. It’s always okay to ask for time to think about the decision before accepting it.