So I applied for a job role with another company, went through the interview stage and was then contacted by said company and told they wished to make me an offer. The representative from the company went through the details (pay, bonus etc.) And left it with me. I contacted them back asking if the pay could be increased, they went away and came back and offered what I was asking for. I then asked what the next steps would be. They stated it would be to get a formal written offer over to me which I would sign and return. I asked if the written offer would contain all the terms and conditions etc. Associated with the role, as the phone conversations to date had really only covered the outline of pay, bonus, allowances etc. I asked the person to send across a written offer for me to consider. I haven't yet received this written offer but I have been thinking about nothing else and whether or not I have made a mistake and actually want to leave my current employer and go to this new one. I am worried that I have committed myself to something I can now not get out of. Can anyone advise if I can still decline the role after asking for a written offer to be sent to me? I am not so bothered about the morality of it or anything, but the legal. I have obviously not handed my notice in or anything with existing employer. I appreciate it may affect my rep with the new employer for a while, but I feel it needs to be the right decision to go...


  • 2
    They don't own you. If you want to decline their offer then decline it.
    – joeqwerty
    Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 21:59

2 Answers 2


You can leave a job or withdraw an application at anytime.

I would personally wait until you have the written offer in front of you - then review all the terms.

If you don't wish to proceed, then the easiest option is to find a term in the contract and say that it doesn't sit right with you and you are withdrawing.

Alternatively, if you have decided you don't want to change jobs - simply call them up or email them and let them know you've had a change in circumstances and you are withdrawing your application.

Business will grumble a bit - but it happens and they understand it.

  • While I agree that reviewing the terms before accepting or declining the offer is the wise approach, I don't agree with giving reasons or justifications for declining an offer. I don't owe anyone an explanation and I don't need to justify or verbalize my reasons. "Thank you for your offer, but I've chosen to decline." is more than sufficient.
    – joeqwerty
    Commented Nov 11, 2023 at 18:46

An offer, either verbal or written, is precisely that - an offer - and you're not under any obligation until you formally accept it. For all you know, there might be unacceptable terms tucked away in the fine detail which you might want to negotiate away or walk away from entirely.

Of course they may be upset if you do walk away, but far better done at this stage than after you've accepted and they have started making preparations for your arrival (including turning away other candidates).

Having said that, there was clearly something not right in your current employment that brought you to this point. It would certainly be wise to wait for the written offer to arrive, and take the time to look hard at yourself, your motivations, what you want from your ideal job, and whether you could improve your current position, before making a decision that is harder to back out of.

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