I was offered a job in healthcare for $X + benefits. The pay is less when compared to my current job, but I wanted to move to be closer to family. I didn't want to leave money on the table so I made a counter offer to increase the pay stating that it was due to a high cost of living in the new city and my current salary.

They then rescinded their offer saying they can't meet the counter offer.

Is there a way I can accept their previous offer or is it now unlikely that I will be reconsidered?

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    Did you present the negotiation as an ultimatum? (e.g. "I will not accept any offer less than $X") What was their explanation (if any) behind rescinding the offer? (e.g. "We are rescinding the offer because we cannot match your salary") Are you willing to work at the salary of the initial offer? Do you have other prospects you are talking with, or was this your only chance? As-is, it's a bit unclear what you're trying to accomplish given the situation, or what the actual cause of the problem was. Could you clarify and/or edit your question to bring it in line with the help center? Thanks!
    – jmac
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 5:41
  • Thanks jmac for your reply. I did not present my counter offer as an ultimatum. Was open to discussion all the time.
    – Vish
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 7:14
  • What do you want the end result to be Vish? Are you deadset on getting this job even at their initial offer, or do you have things in the pipeline that you may choose instead?
    – jmac
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 7:28
  • Personally I'm curious as to the details of what they offered and what he sent them as a counter. Could also come down to phrasing he used in his counter offer, where he lives now compared to where they're located. Unfortunately I agree with others that, since they've rescinded the offer, there's likely nothing you can do unless THEY come back to YOU. Going back to them and saying, "I'll take it," will just make the situation even worse. Even if they let you take it after they took it back, you just gave them LOTS of power in future negotiations.
    – MattD
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 17:38
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    That is a risk you take when you counter. If you came back to me I would reduce the offer 5-10% if I was still interested at all. Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 17:58

5 Answers 5


An employer that wants to fill a position normally wouldn't rescind an offer. My guess is either:

  • They had already another candidate to fill it, and have extended an offer to someone else instead.
  • Your counteroffer was so unreasonable that they would rather continue interviewing more candidates rather than work with you.

Either way, it's probably time for you to move on.

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    @JoeStrazzere You are right, they may, but they usually don't. Even if they had another candidate lined up and ready to go, they clearly thought yesterday that you were the best person for the job at the salary they offered. Unless the conversation around the offer clearly raised a red in some way, today shouldn't be any different. On the other hand, some companies see any sign that you might disagree with them as a red flag. And some just play mind games. Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 15:55
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    "I tend not to like to hire folks that I believe would jump ship for a few bucks more." You mean rational people looking out for themselves and capable of analyzing what they are worth in a marketplace? Yeah, who would want those kinds of people on their team...
    – user12818
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 18:48
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    @EMS There is an interesting point here. If the counter offer was, say, 20% higher than what they expected to pay, then they might reasonably conclude that the candidate would not be content in the pay range that they are able to offer. It isn't irrational or backward to be reluctant to hire someone that is likely to be unsatisfied from day one. Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 20:16
  • @EricWilson What you suggest violates a well-known principle of economics, the Strong Axiom of Revealed Preference. Basically the consumer (in this case a firm trying to consume labor) expressed a preference for X's labor at price P, but then it was revealed that X's labor is at price Q, Q > P. It can't be rational for this to change the company's preference for X's labor at price P. It certainly could make the firm speculate that X won't take the offer at price P, but if that's what they want to acquire, rescinding is irrational.
    – user12818
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 15:22
  • @EMS You are discounting two important things: Time of employment, and fixed costs of hiring. The information of price Q carries with in the information that the likely time of employment has significantly decreased, perhaps from 3-5 years to 6-18 months. Given that the contributions of an employee will not be uniform over that time, perhaps even negative at first, and the shorter time to mitigate the fixed cost of hiring, now the employer is looking at hiring ~0.8*X at price P. Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 16:18

If the employer rescinded merely because you tried to negotiate then you have dodged a bullet.

Continue your job search and you will find a place to work that satisfies your location preferences as well as pay preferences. Even if you were able to join this firm under the original offer, you are immediately walking into a situation of total fealty -- they know up-front that they do not have to provide a fair wage to you and that they can simply deny your attempts to negotiate in the future with high probability that you'll just accept whatever terms they dictate to you. Remember, if you don't look out for yourself in compensation negotiations, no one is going to.


If they rescinded the original offer, I think that negotiations are done, they have moved on. Somehow your request has convinced them that they would rather not have you work for them at all.

I wouldn't have expected this response. Depending on the relationships that you have built during the interview process, you might be able to ask why they have made such a drastic change of course, expressing that you thought that the counter-offer was a normal part of the negotiating process.

But whether that opportunity is there or not, you need to move on. Begging for the original offer at this point will not likely succeed.


How you should respond, you say? First, you should make your decision concrete. If they rescinded your demand, I would assume that it is final. Actually, you're one who can read between the lines because you personally talked to them.

Here are my thoughts:

  1. Out of respect, I would not re-negotiate, especially if I heard the final tone.
  2. You can re-negotiate, but you have to persuade them nicely by telling them how valuable you are (oh, is this really necessary?).
  3. If you're out of options, I think you should accept their initial offer. Being closer to family is more important to me. I understand your sentiments.

Well, decide. Money or family? I think that's the only question. Hope it helps!

  • Thanks Lester! I made a counter offer to avoid leaving money on the table. I can accept the initial offer for family reasons, but the rescinded offer...totally unexpected. How best I can say that I am ready for the initial offer or am open for discussion.
    – Vish
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 3:45
  • Hmm.. I think just be honest and tell them humbly. I find it hard to put it into words. Haha. What do you mean by you're open for discussion? Do you still want to re-negotiate? Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 3:52

Do what you want to do, which is to tell them that you would still like to accept the job at their original offer.

Worst case, they tell you no.

Best case, they tell you yes.

There is no need to worry about the appropriateness of continuing discussions. If they don't want you after all, they'll tell you. But if you don't tell them what you want, then they will not be able to give it to you.

Don't concern yourself with losing face by approaching them with their original offer. If it's still what you want, then it can still be a strong business relationship where you both get what you want out of it.

There's no need to assume that their "no" to your offer was the conclusion of the negotiation, unless they actually said that they will not talk to you again, which is unlikely.

Go for it. It isn't going to hurt you, and you might then get what you want.

  • I don't consider them changing their mind a "best case" they have made a decision for a reason. The reason likely is a good reason. Acceptance of a job could come with a catch, for instance, you could always be that guy who didn't walk away from lower pay after asking for higher pay. That isn't a good position to be in.
    – Donald
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 16:03
  • I meant to say is not a good(positive) reason. In other words they were turned off by the counter offer so much they decided you were not the best candidate.
    – Donald
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 16:21
  • Honestly I'm not into these political/bureaucratic games you and others here seem to be alluding to. You are attempting to form a business relationship with a company. You go back and forth until you both arrive at a solution where you are both comfortable exchanging services/benefits, or you separate. That's it. You can pretend you know what their reasoning is for refusing an offer, and you can decide that their refusal without a counter is the end of the negotiations. But that's not always the case, and you assuming more about the situation than is actually the case doesn't help anyone.
    – Adam Davis
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 16:40
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    If you feel that accepting the job comes with a "catch" then beware, but the reality is that this "catch" you seem to allude to, "you could always be that guy who didn't walk away from lower pay after asking for higher pay" has absolutely no material bearing on your work and the benefits they give you, unless you allow it to affect you. I honestly think this is all in your head. But if that's the case in this situation, this is still a good move - get a job with this company, move to the location the OP wants to be at, and then continue to look for another job. It's not a bad choice.
    – Adam Davis
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 16:43
  • "they were turned off by the counter offer" This just baffles me. Is getting a job like buying something from walmart? People who have negotiation skills should be valued by good companies. A company that is inflexible and will not negotiate, nor hire anyone who does is exceedingly rare exception. Honestly the only weird thing about this situation is that the company didn't come back with a counter offer. But accepting a previously extended offer doesn't put the candidate in a bad position.
    – Adam Davis
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 16:47

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