When You Rescind a Job Offer

In the best of situations, making the decision to bring a new employee into your organization isn’t always an easy one. From extending the offer to negotiating compensation, it can be stressful but exciting. When these plans go awry and there is a need to rescind an offer, the fall-out can be challenging. Whether it’s an issue on the end of the organization or with the candidate, no one likes to be the bearer of bad news, and if you’re not adequately prepared, it can create unexpected challenges.

Being prepared is the best way to make rescinding an offer of employment easier; ensure your organization is prepared to handle any issues seamlessly. The first step is to be confident in your decision. You are acting in the best interest of your business and employees and know who will or will not be a good addition to your organization. Trust your ability to make that decision and know that choosing to rescind an offer is better than the results of bringing in an ill-fitting employee. The next step is to create clear and concise policies and procedures for hiring processes that include if an offer needs to be rescinded. If your team is educated and knows what to do, issues are less likely to arise and rescinding an offer will go more smoothly.

Any policy surrounding the recruiting and hiring process should comply with local, state, and federal legislation, ensuring that your organization is in compliance with all anti-discrimination laws. Educate your team and provide information on when and why a job offer can be rescinded and when it cannot. For example, if a uniform is required and a job candidate refuses to wear the uniform the offer can be rescinded, but if a candidate wears a turban for religious reasons and this does not match the uniform, the offer cannot be rescinded. It is important to ensure compliance and the fair treatment of employees by educating management and the HR team on what is and is not acceptable when an offer is being rescinded.

Once your team knows what to do, the next step is to make sure your communication with the candidate is clear and easily understood. This begins with the job offer. Create an offer that states it is an offer and not a contract and outlines under what circumstances the offer could be void (i.e. failure to pass a drug screening, background checks, etc.).

When the decision is made to rescind an offer there are a few steps to ensure everyone understands that the offer has been rescinded, why, and what it means for your organization and the job candidate. Firstly, communication is key. Communication internally should happen, explaining that the offer has been rescinded and if/when the candidate may reapply for a position within your organization. This will ensure no confusion and avoid mistakes in communication and on-boarding processes.

The second step is to inform the candidate. While the initial notice can be given over the phone, in person, or in writing any unofficial notice should be followed up by an official notification that the offer has been rescinded. Clearly state that you are choosing to rescind the offer and explain why in a polite but accurate way: failure to meet necessary requirements, dishonesty during the application process, etc. Whatever the reason, clearly state so the job candidate clearly understands the reason and whether or not they are allowed to reapply now or in the future.

Document every step of the communication, ensure that your records are clear and well organized to protect your organization against any accusation of discrimination or unfair treatment of the job candidate. The decision to rescind a job offer is not one to be taken lightly. While it may not be the easiest decision to make, it can be the best decision for your organization and your team. Through every step of the process, trust your judgment and have faith in your ability to lead your organization to a brighter future.

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