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I accepted a job offer from Company A a few months ago, but I never signed any contracts. Company B contacted me for an interview and gave me a better offer. I decided to accept it, so I notified Company A promptly that I would be rescinding my acceptance of their offer, stating that:

I recently received an offer from another company that I feel is more aligned with my needs at the present.

...and that I was going to take it, albeit with great difficulty since I was very attracted to the offer from Company A initially. I am nonetheless happy with my decision.

However, the recruiter from Company A contacted me today to tell me that she was very disappointed (Company A had put a lot of time, effort, and resources into my hiring process) and then asked:

I’d like some more detail about what opportunity you will be pursuing and what your reasoning was for choosing that over your Company A offer, if you don’t mind.

This is setting off alarms in my head. Should I respond? What should I say? I realize that I am likely blacklisted, but if my response could determine whether or not that would be the case, I'd like to avoid it, obviously; even then, I'd like to be as kind and professional as possible.

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Never tell a previous employer (or in this case, the company you rejected) where you are going to be working. While there are some places in the world where you have to do this (India comes to mind), it isn't required most places.

I have actually seen a person from the company I was working at call the new employer of an ex employee, provide all kinds of information that wasn't proven, and the ex employee lost his new job.

If you feel comfortable telling the rejected company about the package you got from your new employer, then do so. I would keep it as generic as possible or even omit benefits that would identify my new employer.

  • Thank you for the bold text; I knew this implicitly but almost made that mistake before asking my question here. – 2rs2ts Apr 18 '14 at 1:16
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    I have actually seen a person from the company I was working at call the new employer of an ex employee... - While I am not saying it did not happen, this scenerio is highly unlikely. Most companies would fire a manager for this type of action, because it opens them up to potential litigation that is likely to end up costing the company tens of thousands and potentially hundreds of thousands in legal fees and costs. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 18 '14 at 14:02
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    It was over 25 years ago, at a small company with less than 100 employees. If it was something recent, I would probably agree with you. I was in the room when the phone call occurred. I actually heard one side of the conversation. Ever since that event, I refuse to share info about my new position with anyone outside the spouse. – Adam Zuckerman Apr 18 '14 at 14:15
  • I think that nowadays this advice is pretty moot, to be honest. In the age of social networks like LinkedIn, everyone will know where you're working soon enough. This is just information that's pretty impractical to hide. I'd worry more about leaving the previous employer with relations good enough not to worry about such drama. – Bartek Banachewicz Jun 1 '18 at 8:09
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I wouldn't give them detail about what you'll be doing, for who, or where. That's all company-confidential information, and the other business has no legitimate need to know.

However: Think about it from their point of view.

They're competing for good employees, and they have a legitimate interest in knowing whether there's something they should be doing, or not doing, to market themselves better -- just as you might appreciate feedback on whether there was something that you might want to do to improve your own marketability.

They might even have been fishing for "is there anything reasonable we can offer to keep you, in particular, from changing your mind".

So giving them some general indication of "Well, their location was more attractive to me, and they've got better educational benefits" seems both harmless and courteous. But I wouldn't go into more depth than that.

  • I can definitely use location as an explanation. I know more people who work near Company B; I only know one person who lives an hour away from Company A. – 2rs2ts Apr 18 '14 at 1:12
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    You don't have to explain. But it's sorta polite to do so, especially after you'd already accepted and they'd started making plans based on that assumption. – keshlam Apr 18 '14 at 1:16
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    Well, I'm keeping it high-level: "The other opportunity was in an area where I could be close to former colleagues and friends... I came to feel [Company A's offer] was not as good of a fit for me only after considering my need for a personal network." I did emphasize that Company A made a competitive offer. I doubt inadequacy is something they feel but just in case... – 2rs2ts Apr 18 '14 at 1:19
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    Excellent answer - remember that we normally like feedback from a failed application, it's reasonable that the employer would too. I'd try not to insult their company or make it seem like I moved for money - but then I also wouldn't move solely for money. Chances are it was because it better fit your personal situation, so just tell them that: and reassure them that it wasn't anything they did wrong or wrong about them. Shorter commuting, closer to your family etc are all very reasonable justifications: 10 hours extra a week with your children is hard to argue with, for example. – Jon Story Nov 26 '14 at 13:27
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    @dyesdyes: You aren't obligated to tell them why either. But it's courteous. And I prefer to live up to my own standards, not down to someone else's practices. – keshlam Nov 27 '14 at 16:32
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I accepted a job offer from Company A a few months ago, but I never signed any contracts.

Have you started working there yet? This line sets off alarm bells. If the company spent that much money hiring you, it seems they would not drag their feet getting your signature of a few pieces of paper.

If you haven't started working their yet, I would cite the months of waiting for an official offer, and move on. Also, don't say which company you are moving to or give enough specifics to make an educated guess.

If you HAVE started working for them, be prepared that they may have been paying you out of the cash register, and not paying your employment taxes. This happened to me when I was working as a contractor during college, and continued to bite me each subsequent job due to my background check not coming back clean. AFAIK I never lost a job over it, but I had to talk to several HR folks about it.

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