Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Accepting job offer then backing out later?

Has anyone ever accepted a job offer, then backed out before muaddib07/03/17
Incredibly fact-specific situation. If you will never need vohod07/03/17
Done it. I just emailed them with a quick thanks but no than isthisit07/03/17
Why are you backing out? Better job offer, its business the blakesq07/04/17
The background is: I got a decent offer from a firm (Firm 1 muaddib07/05/17
Six days is actually a very generous decision period. Many e mrtor07/05/17
I'm actually pretty surprised that you'd categorize six days muaddib07/05/17
Sometimes I think honesty is the best policy. Take Firm 1 a sjlawyer07/05/17
Removed 6figuremistake07/05/17
Accept Job 1. If Job 2 makes you an offer, accept that and miketrout07/05/17
This. attorneyinct07/05/17
Call Firm 2 - Let them know you received an offer elsewhere siezetheday07/05/17
I've done it twice, both times because it would have meant r onehell07/07/17
Yes. Yes I have. It was probably rude and unprofessional, bu acerimmer07/08/17
muaddib (Jul 3, 2017 - 10:31 pm)

Has anyone ever accepted a job offer, then backed out before their start date?

How did you back out? Sent e-mail? Telephone call with the hiring partner?

Did you have a legit reason? Did you make up a compelling reason (if yes, please tell me)?

How much of a bridge-burning mistake would this be?....

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vohod (Jul 3, 2017 - 10:50 pm)

Incredibly fact-specific situation. If you will never need their backing in the future just e-mail. If you will, then why would you turn it down anyways?

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isthisit (Jul 3, 2017 - 11:49 pm)

Done it. I just emailed them with a quick thanks but no thanks email. It hasn't hurt me in any way.

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blakesq (Jul 4, 2017 - 8:26 am)

Why are you backing out? Better job offer, its business they would drop you if work slowed down. If you found out the firm is full of psychos, it is not your fault to back out.

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muaddib (Jul 5, 2017 - 10:12 am)

The background is: I got a decent offer from a firm (Firm 1) last week. I told the partner I had been communicating with that I was very grateful and excited, etc., etc., that I would give them a final answer about the offer asap, but that I did have a final-round interview with another firm (Firm 2) coming up that I wanted to complete.

The Firm 1 partner, upon hearing that I wanted to finish out this other interview, seemed to immediately want to play hardball with me. She made a statement like "Oh. You need to give us an answer quickly because if you are not joining, we need to move on to the next person." The offer letter itself only gave me SIX days to respond....

So now my dilemma:

Firm 1 is a small satellite office (SMALL, like literally 2 people) of a big east coast firm...

Firm 2 is the head office a v50 firm... I've had two interviews with them already and the partner told me off-the-record during a private phone call that I'm "at the top of a very small list" of applicants.

I would absolutely prefer to join Firm 2, but my final interview isn't until after the six-day deadline to respond to the offer (for a start date in 60 days), and who knows if I will actually get the job. So... I am now thinking of just accepting the Firm 1 offer, but at the same time, complete the interview process with Firm 2 and hope to get the better job from Firm 2 before my start date.

Thoughts!?

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mrtor (Jul 5, 2017 - 10:27 am)

Six days is actually a very generous decision period. Many employers want an answer within 24-48 hours. Firm 1 is pushing back because you can't have your cake and eat it too. They know they're a second choice if you're trying to finish interviewing elsewhere. No new employer wants to be the alternate choice. They're intentionally trying to make you choose before the interview process is complete.

Ultimately, you could accept Firm 1's offer and then back out. It's two-faced and tasteless, but it can be done. However, you need to realize that life is about tough choices. If you want to work for Firm 2, you should decline Firm 1's offer and put everything into getting an offer from Firm 2. If you're willing to burn Firm 1 as badly as you would by backing out later on, it doesn't sound like a place you actually want to work at. If Firm 2 doesn't pan out, find another comparable opportunity where you will be happy.

By accepting Firm 1's offer, they're turning down other competitive applicants who actually want the job. Sure, Firm 1 could try to follow up with them after you decline, but those applicants may have accepted other offers or not want to work somewhere that rejected them. It's a two-way street with consequences for everyone involved.

Also, depending upon the size of the legal community, word gets around. People also move to new firms and into new roles. You never know where it might come back to bite you. So I'll reiterate that I think you should take the high road, decline Firm 1's offer, and put everything into Firm 2.

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muaddib (Jul 5, 2017 - 11:10 am)

I'm actually pretty surprised that you'd categorize six days as a generous decision period. As far as I was aware, 10-14 days is the standard. My sibling works at white-shoe NY firms and has told me that she has asked for and received 3-week decision periods (which I did actually find to be pretty incredible...).

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sjlawyer (Jul 5, 2017 - 10:27 am)

Sometimes I think honesty is the best policy. Take Firm 1 and if Firm 2 comes calling, then call firm 1 and tell them you're out. Honestly, they might respect you more for the call even if you get the business for the first few minutes.

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6figuremistake (Jul 5, 2017 - 10:54 am)

Removed

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miketrout (Jul 5, 2017 - 10:31 am)

Accept Job 1. If Job 2 makes you an offer, accept that and back out of Job 1.

At the end of the day, you have to look out for the real number 1- you.

I've been in your shoes before. If I could do it again, that's how I would do it.

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attorneyinct (Jul 5, 2017 - 2:05 pm)

This.

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siezetheday (Jul 5, 2017 - 3:41 pm)

Call Firm 2 - Let them know you received an offer elsewhere that you are considering and would like to move up your interview if they could accommodate it.

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onehell (Jul 7, 2017 - 6:57 pm)

I've done it twice, both times because it would have meant relocation and I had second thoughts about the massive effort and transaction costs of buy house/sell house/move stuff etc. They were offering more money, but as I thought it over more, it became apparent that it wasn't ENOUGH more to merit the hassle.

I probably burned a bridge with that specific employer but it hasn't harmed me otherwise. In one of the two cases, I even leveraged the competing offer and got a raise to stay put.

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acerimmer (Jul 8, 2017 - 1:02 am)

Yes. Yes I have. It was probably rude and unprofessional, but... screw it. I had a really bad feeling about it. The guy they hired afterwards lasted 6 months.

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