What to do if your job offer gets rescinded: 'It's going to be a rough ride for the rest of the year,' HR pro says

If you want your old job back, it is "crucial" that you explain how and why you are a better employee now, said Brad Harris, a management and human resources professor at HEC Paris.
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Hiring freezes and layoffs are fairly common responses to high inflation and looming recession fears. Rescinded job offers aren't.

Yet, over the past few weeks, some companies including Coinbase, Twitter and Redfin have begun to rescind offers en masse. This kind of activity is "highly unusual," says Sid Upadhyay, co-founder and CEO of the hiring platform WizeHire.

However unusual, it's happening, and "these financial decisions are having a real impact on people," he says.

Bethalyn Staples was recently set to start her "dream job" in HR at a software firm in Los Angeles. Two days before starting, she was told her offer had been rescinded due to a hiring freeze. As an HR expert with over a decade of recruiting and career development experience, she knew exactly what to do: She immediately reignited her job search, starting by publicly posting about her situation on LinkedIn.

But it's not as simple as starting a new job hunt from scratch. Here, Staples and Upadhyay share what you can do if you've just had your job offer rescinded:

Ask your network for new job leads

Scores of job-seekers have posted on LinkedIn that they've had their job offers rescinded. Staples says that if this happens to you, it's a good practice to quickly update your profile signaling that you're once again open to new work and actively fielding leads.

You can also write a post explaining your situation in detail: You landed a position with a company, the offer was rescinded due to budget cuts and you're looking for a new position in your field.

Staples' own LinkedIn post went viral, sparking hundreds of comments, shares and interactions from connections and strangers alike. She says she was "humbled by the kindness of strangers who shared my post." It ultimately led to multiple job interviews and new offers for her.

Of course, your post doesn't have to go viral to be successful — you only need the right people to see it. You can also ask your old coworkers to write a recommendation for you on your LinkedIn page, and offer to do the same thing for them in return, Staples says. Having these on your profile can help you stand out to recruiters.

"It's going to be a rough ride for the rest of the year, and we'll need to rely on each other to succeed," Staples says.

Revisit other job offers

You might not have to go back to square one of your job search. Did you turn down other offers that you can now revisit? If you withdrew from interviews with other companies, can you see if they're still hiring?

"There's no risk in reaching out to your second or third or fourth option to check in," Upadhyay says.

Reach out directly to the hiring manager, HR representative or recruiter you were most connected with, and be clear about what happened. You can share some context around the rescinding employer, as long as it doesn't violate a non-disclosure agreement. Let the hiring manager know if your previous offer involved a high-pressure deadline, like a 48-hour window before the job offer expired.

"Your decision to go with another firm isn't a reflection against them, especially in this tight labor market," Upadhyay says. "It's just a reflection of timing."

Finally, don't forget to emphasize why you'd be excited to join the company. Don't oversell it, Upadhyay  says, but be honest about why you'd be open to this second-choice opportunity.

Talk to your former employer

If you left your former employer on good terms, and your work hasn't been split into new jobs, consider reaching back out to your old boss to see if they'd have you back.

"It could be another opportunity to land back on your feet and have more stability," Upadhyay says. "I don't think anyone would fault a job-seeker for having that dialogue" with an ex-boss.

Of course, whether it's a good idea to boomerang back to an ex-employer will depend on your reasons for leaving. If you left to secure more money, a higher title, or extra training opportunities, your former company might be able to meet you where you're hoping to grow. But if you left for other reasons, like poor management or to leave a hostile work environment, those problems can't be fixed overnight.

As you bring up the possibility of your return, reiterate that you know nothing is guaranteed. That "often enables a hiring manager to help you — and often help you more — as there is less pressure," Upadhyay says.

Reach out to staffing agencies

Sometimes, if you're part of a round of layoffs, your employer might connect you with outplacement services to help you find a new job. It's less likely to happen if you haven't even started your job yet, Upadhyay says, but it still might be worth asking HR about.

If you want to cast a wider net, Staples also recommends reaching out to staffing agencies like Randstad, Adecco, Robert Half or Kelly Services. These placement services generally specialize in temp jobs, which could help tide you over until your next permanent role — or, if you're lucky, get you in touch with your next full-time employer.

Consider getting legal advice

Most job offers are contracts of at-will employment, "so both the company and job-seekers can terminate that relationship at their own will for many reasons" and "no matter the timing," Upadhyay says.

On the company's side, that means your employer can let you go for nearly any reason — even before you've started due to budget cuts or restructuring — as long as it's not based on a protected class, including race, religion, sex or nation of origin.

With that said, Upadhyay says there may be some unique situations where you've gone through more structured negotiations. This usually happens at the director, vice president or executive level. In those cases, you might seek out legal advice to make sure the way you were let go is above board.

Ask prospective employers about the health of their company

Upadhyay says rescinded offers account for a minority of cases: "There are still hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the market, and most organizations extending offers are resilient and profitable companies."

Still, it's natural to go into new interviews a little more cautious about the health of the business. Upadhyay suggests a few ways to ask about a company's balance sheet, especially tech startups: When is the next round of financing? Is there enough runway in the business to keep hiring, even if there's a market downturn? What are the company's plans for growth in the second half of the year?

To gauge the company's state of hiring, ask how many people have been brought on in the last month, or how many people will be part of your onboarding class. If your interviewer answers vaguely, try framing your questions more about how they feel about their own job security: How comfortable do you feel in your role? What were the big topics discussed at the company's last town hall?

Separately, check review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed for comments about what it's like to go through that company's hiring and onboarding processes.

Try not to take it personally

Having a job offer get rescinded can feel like a personal blow. Upadhyay urges you to remember: A rescinded job offer is a reflection of a business figuring out its balance sheet, not your skills or abilities.

Staples says she chose to see her initial setback as an opening for new opportunities. As of last week, she accepted a job as an HR coordinator with a computing research center, which she believes is in an industry that won't be affected by a potential recession.

One promising sign: Staples says her new employer asked in interviews about how she wanted to grow in her career, and what kinds of day-to-day tasks would help her get there. "It's been a refreshing experience," she says.

Check out:

'It's almost unbelievable': People are having their job offers rescinded days before they start

Businesses are preparing for a crypto winter—here's what that means for you

Americans lost $68 million to job scams this year—what to look out for

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How this 21-year-old earns and spends $93,000 a year in Chicago
How this 21-year-old earns and spends $93,000 a year in Chicago