Ask Vicki: Is it unethical to decline a job offer after initially accepting it?
In this answer on Quora, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi tells you the right way—and wrong way—to backpedal on a job offer.
Each week, Monster’s career expert Vicki Salemi—a former recruiter who utilizes 15-plus years of experience in recruiting and human resources to empower job seekers—answers user questions on Quora. We’ll be republishing the answers here. If you have a question for Vicki, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. Is it unethical to decline a job offer after initially accepting it?
A. It’s not unethical decline a job offer after initially accepting it; this happens more often than you think, but I wouldn’t get into the habit of declining a job offer after initially accepting it.
The key to declining a job offer you’ve previously accepted is handling the decline with tact, respect, and professionalism. Your reputation is everything. Be classy about it, and don’t ghost them or badmouth them to anyone.
In one instance, I had a candidate simply not show up on the first day. We got really worried about what happened to this person, called their emergency contact, the works. Finally, on what would have been their third day on the job, they declined the offer. By then we had already ordered their laptop, set aside a workspace, and clearly spent a lot of time trying to track them down. Please don’t be that person.
Not only is it good form to remain professional, you’ll never know if you’ll end up working for them down the road.
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