Is It Too Late to Change Your Mind if You Accept a New Job Offer?

Deciding to change your job is not an easy decision for anyone.  But with around 20% of the workforce planning to change roles before the end of 2022 the shortage of good talent isn’t going away and as candidates you will be in hot demand.

So, it is understandable that the amount of counter offers being made and almost a bidding war in some cases is fast becoming an every day occurrence.

You will no doubt have seen countless blogs on how to weigh up a counteroffer including ways to measure happiness, comparison charts and more.  But when it comes to the nitty gritty, whatever your decision how you handle the situation could  have a big impact on your career and how you are seen in industry.

So, we wanted to address the elephant in the room of how best to handle a counter offer – whatever you decide:

Am I legally bound if I accept an offer?

A question we get asked frequently if you have signed a contract – am Legally bound? Except in exceptional circumstances, you're not legally bound to take the job. If you've signed a contract, there may be provisions regarding notice, but it's unlikely the new employer would insist on them.  Bare in mind, how you handle the situation no doubt will influence their actions.

What If I accept the counteroffer from my current employer – How best do I let the prospective employer know if I have changed my mind?

Before you say anything to the new employer, take the time to be certain. Once you back out there won't be a second chance. Think over the issues that motivated you to apply for the job, because a new role can be beneficial to your career as well as building your confidence and giving you the opportunity to present yourself in a new light.

If your mind is made up, you should inform the new employer immediately. However, it's not a straightforward situation and it's vital that you tell the new employer in a courteous, professional manner. It will come as a surprise to them and it's going to cause them inconvenience since they've invested time and money in recruiting you. Remember that this decision affects them too.

How should you tell them?

The temptation is to send them an email, but however diplomatically and apologetically it's worded, this is an impersonal method of communication. Do you appreciate receiving bad news by email? Almost certainly not. Just because your employer is a company, this doesn't mean there isn't a significant human element involved. Hard as it may seem, the best way to do it is in person or by phone.

Not only does this allow you to give a full explanation of your thinking and answer any questions the employer has a right to ask, but it also demonstrates your courage, honesty and professionalism. You should try to explain your reasons while remaining steadfast in your decision. They might ask you to think again by offering extra money or benefits, but if you accept these, you'd be starting on the wrong foot and probably end up regretting it. Express your gratitude for the opportunity, as this helps to end things on a positive note. Once you've had the conversation, you can confirm it in writing.

If I decide to still, make the move - how do I let my current employer down if they make a counteroffer?

In some situations, you'll face a different dilemma. If you're happy to accept the new offer and your existing employer tries to persuade you to stay with improved conditions, then you should decline this counteroffer in exactly the same spirit. Acknowledge the faith and generosity of the offer but stick to your decision.

This isn't just about sparing the feelings of the employer and making yourself feel comfortable. The way you handle this delicate problem could have ramifications for your future. The world of sales, PR, marketing and data analytics is growing, but it is still relatively compact and the last thing you want is a reputation as a time-waster.

Maybe you don't feel able to handle this on your own. If you don't already have the support of a talent partner, then call Reuben Sinclair for the finest impartial advice. We can help to make the experience as painless as possible.

Career development