By Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady
You Have A Job Offer!
Finally having a job offer after your post-layoff job search is a call for celebration. Now, you can breathe a sigh of relief and start to build your new post-career transition normal. While you may want to shout from the rooftops that you've finally landed and start celebrating, I suggest you play it cool for a couple more weeks.
In most cases, accepting a job offer will lead to you starting that job just as planned. On rare occasion, something happens and that job offer falls through. Just in case, I suggest taking a few interim steps between the time you accept your job offer and the day you start your new role.
How Often Are Job Offers Rescinded?
In my long history of layoffs and finding my next job, I have had a job offer fall through exactly once. That means that through seven layoffs, I have had to revise my plan one whole time.
Job offers can be rescinded for a number of reasons. For example, I have heard more about job offers being rescinded early in the pandemic as companies were realigning staff and when companies have been going through financial hardships. It might also be a case wehre funding for a role seemed certain, and then did not come through. In yet other cases, between the time the offer was accepted and the new employee's start date, someoen in teh organization could have just decided they want to hire someone else, not fill that role at all, or put the role on hold. In short, you can't necessarily predict when a job offer will evaporate. LIke with any job, you can look for red flags.
My Rescinded Job Offer Experience
At the end of February, I accepted an L&D Manager role where I would build the training function from the ground up in a fast-paced startup environment. I was very excited about the opportunity, and happy that my job search--which was then clocking in at about 5 months--would be over soon. After a disjointed, a little all over the place hiring process, and an offer that took a couple of weeks to come to fruition as promised, I happily accepted and had a start date of mid-March.
Soon, I did my "hooray I got a job--more details later" on LinkedIn. I didn't mention the company's name at this time since I had not yet started. I learned that lesson after announcing a job that I had accepted and not yet started--and later learned that the company had not yet notified internal candidates that they hired someone external.
I was excited to have a two week gap between when I accepted the job offer and my start date. A week before my start date, I got a call from the recruiter for the role telling me that there would be a delay in my start date--and he wasn't sure how long. A few days later, I talked with the hiring manager and learned more. They were going to hold off on my start date until numbers had come in from the first quarter. She assured me there were no real concerns that I would start, but it was more when. I asked if this role was really going to happen, and I got sufficient assurances that the job would, indeed, start within a month or two at the latest. She would keep me posted on updates.
The longer I waited, and the fewer updates I heard, the less confident I was the job would happen. Of course, I'd already announced that I had a new role and taken y LinkedIn profile out of job search mode, so I lost a couple of months of job search time waiting for a start date to materialize. The assurances became less frequent, and less convincing, until I got a call from the recruiter with apologies because the role was not actually happening.
...and now I had lost 2 months of job searching time and had to restrategize and restart my search.
A New Plan
Even though having a job offer rescinded is not a regular occurance, it is still a risk worth thinking through. Just like we buy car insurance just in case we're involved in an accident, I realized I needed to mitigate my risk of being left without a job should a job offer ever fall through again again.
Reccommended Next Steps After Accepting a Job Offer
Remember, in most cases, accepting a job will lead to you starting to work for that company shortly thereafter. Even so, remember to act in your own best interest just in case the role does not pan out. Here are suggestions for you to consider:
7-time layoff survivor Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady, waxes poetic on layoffs, job transitions, & career resilience.