Going back on a job offer you initially declined

Recruiters appreciate it when you can display a high level of integrity (Stocksnap.io)

Asking for a job back that you've rejected is a tricky mine field to navigate. Which is why we've given you this advice to help you along the way.

There’s always that one company you’d drop everything for if they were to offer you a new position. Even if you were offered two positions simultaneously, you’d stick with your dream company.

But what if the ‘perfect’ opportunity turned out to not be so perfect? Maybe the new position isn’t stimulating or you completely dislike your new boss or there’s a culture clash… Can you ask for a job offer back once you’ve rejected it?

Quite a tricky question, right?

And unfortunately what’s even trickier is that there isn’t one way to solve this dilemma. Sure, by law you can contact the company and request that they consider your application again. But there’s so much more to consider when you’re thinking about knocking on the door of what would be a new employer.

Consider both employers’ hard work

Now thinking that the employer whose job offer you accepted then rejected will immediately take you back once you waltz in asking for the job back is unrealistic. Recruitment is a long and tough process, and once you’ve accepted a job offer, recruiters jump for joy at putting the whole process behind them.

So you can imagine what their reaction will be when you change your mind and they are left with no choice but to find a replacement for you? While one hiring manager may be thrilled that you’re asking for the job back, another may not be as excited to hear from you.

Your reputation may be damaged

When seeking for jobs through recruitment agencies, remember that recruiters work with various companies. Generally you should know that word spreads fast, and it will spread even faster when you’ve declined a job offer after accepting it. While lady luck may be on your side, your professional reputation will be questionable and fewer recruiters will take your application into account for future vacancies. So it’s generally not a risk worth taking.

Read: 4 bad work habits and how to overcome them

Integrity speaks volumes

Recruiters appreciate it when you can display a high level of integrity. Even though you may think “but this is the job offer above all others”, remember that your dream company will hopefully always be around. If you explain to the recruiter that you’ve accepted a new job offer even though your heart is with your dream company, they’ll respect your honesty. Not only will you leave a good impression, but the recruiter will keep an eye out for you should new job opportunities become available in your dream company.

When a situation cannot be compromised 

Communication is key. In cases where you need to fall back on a promise, offering an explanation to your new employer is very important. You’ll need to be prepared to elaborate clearly why you’ve made the choice you have, what changed and how you came to the conclusion. Prepare yourself  for a yes or no answer. If you’re genuinely in a sticky situation and aren’t trying your luck, chances are your new employer will understand.

Above all else, try to avoid declining a job offer after accepting it

The importance of assessing a potential job cannot be stressed enough. From the time you apply for the job to the time you’re offered the position you need to be 101% sure it is the right move for you. Let questions relating to the company culture and personal fit override questions about the title, job responsibilities, salary and the benefits that come with the new position.

Don’t be afraid to ask the hiring manager to take you on a tour around their offices. Pay attention to the employees’ body language. If what the hiring manager tells you doesn’t correlate with what you see, it’s a sign not to be ignored. Proper due diligence will help you avoid any sticky situations.

At the end of the day, no matter what decision you settle with, what really matters is your happiness. Stay true to who you are and remember to nurture your professional reputation. If those two elements are taken care of, in the end you’ll be prepared for whatever lies ahead.