I know there are a few questions about verbal offers vs. written offers but my conundrum is unique in that I received a verbal offer and have not yet received my written offer, but I totally jumped the gun by declining other potential interviews because of my verbal offer. I realize now that I was really stupid to not accept any more interviews, instead telling potential interviews/employers that I received another offer and I'm currently off the job market.

Now, I'm paranoid that something will go wrong and my offer will be rescinded. I received the verbal offer on Monday, accepted (verbally) on Tuesday, and was told that once they pinned down my start date, I would receive a written offer letter in the mail. It's Saturday now and I haven't heard anything from the company since Tuesday. How common is it that offers are rescinded?

And, in the worst case scenario, if my offer is rescinded for whatever reason -- how do I go about contacting potential employers that I previously notified that I would not be able to continue the hiring process with them because I received another offer? Should I even do that at all, or will I look incredibly dim?

I apologize in advance if any of these questions have glaringly obvious answers. I am a recent grad and very new to the professional world.

EDIT: Got the offer letter today! I was, indeed, overthinking the situation. Thanks a lot everyone for your help and advice.

  • For what it's worth, new grads tend to have some leeway when it comes to evaluating offers. It's usually (depends on sector, company and start date) reasonable to ask for a week's time to decide and this can give you time to contact other companies you're interviewing with. Especially if you're a strong or sought-after candidate they may rush you through the process so they can extend you an offer within that deadline if they're interested. New grads have another advantage in that many companies' timelines for hiring new grads sync up. – Lilienthal Dec 6 '14 at 21:24

How common is it that offers are rescinded?

While nothing is certain in this world, it's exceedingly unusual that a verbal offer given and accepted is then rescinded. I've hired a lot of people and have never rescinded an offer. I've never had an offer I accepted rescinded. And I don't know anyone personally who has ever had that happen to them.

I suppose it happens, but I've never personally encountered it.

And, in the worst case scenario, if my offer is rescinded for whatever reason -- how do I go about contacting potential employers that I previously notified that I would not be able to continue the hiring process with them because I received another offer? Should I even do that at all, or will I look incredibly dim?

Things happen. Offers can sometimes fall through for several reasons. Hiring managers can understand that.

If you go back to hiring managers in a timely manner, you might be able to pick up where you left off.

Even if you can't, the fact that you have gotten this interest from some potential employers almost certainly means that you could do so with others as well.

If you are really that concerned, or perhaps have some other (undisclosed) reasons for believing that your verbal offer will fall through, then keep interviewing at new companies. Just don't accept another offer until you have heard from the one you already accepted. If you do get a second offer, call the current company and tell them you need the written offer quickly.

But I suspect you are over-thinking this one, and worrying unnecessarily. Written offers take time. Try to be patient for a while.

(Note: As @WesleyLong's tale suggests, never give notice at your current company until your new offer is completely tied up - in writing. Although it seems in your case you are new to the professional world and don't have a current company that needs a notice, this is good advice for others.)

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    "I suppose it happens, but I've never personally encountered it." - I have. The guy who gave me a verbal offer got fired a week after he made it. Fortunately I was waiting for the offer/acceptance emails to conclude before giving notice. – Wesley Long Dec 6 '14 at 19:20
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    Thank you for the helpful answer. I hope that I am overthinking, as I tend to do, and I'll be sure to update the post when something definitive happens. I've read several internet horror stories of offers being rescinded, so that's why I asked. I will try to be patient and perhaps contact HR again if I don't hear anything by the middle of next week. – paranon Dec 6 '14 at 19:28

You did the wrong thing. You should never stop looking, and never tell people you have a job until you've signed the contract and sent it back, and everyone has confirmed your start date.

Even then, there is nothing to lose by keeping on looking at other jobs, maybe a really cool one will turn up?

You're thinking in terms of failing by creating a situation that forces failure. By this I mean your scenario: "if i ask i will look dim and they won't want to hire me, so I won't ask". Please never do this in the future - once you've created that situation, you won't ask, so you're forcing an outcome you don't want on yourself. Who cares if you look dim to a bunch of people if the action that caused it also results in you getting a job?

If you don't ask, you won't get a job, and then where will you be?

I think you're ok though, confirming new hires takes time. It can take a month or more, depending on the size of the company and how rubbish their HR systems are. That is a long time! But it also doesn't mean you get to be lazy.

Next week - say Tuesday, if that was your last correspondence with them - ask them what is up, politely.

If I were you - young and with nothing really to lose, I would also contact a few of the companies you rejected when you got this particular offer, and tell them you're interested in resuming the hiring process again just to see what happens and to get you used to challenging assumptions.

I think you have the job, but why squander the chance for experience in negotiating and looking "dim"? Especially when you just might learn something that will help you in a year or two?

  • Haha -- I am very aware that I screwed up now. And I am not usually afraid of looking stupid, but I'm very unaccustomed to the professional world, so I was not sure what would be appropriate. I will hold off on contacting companies I rejected because I don't want to end up contacting again the next day to say 'nevermind, take me off the list again,' as mentioned by a previous commenter, but I will continue applying to new opportunities until my offer is either confirmed or denied. Thanks again! – paranon Dec 6 '14 at 19:40
  • @paranon fair enough - but be aware that you're missing a good chance to find out what happens, to deal with nasty responses and nice responses. You really have nothing to lose - nobody will mind what a fresh college grad does job wise, they expect you to be a bit of a tit about it. – bharal Dec 6 '14 at 19:46
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    Better to look dim than to be dim. Looking dim is temporary. Being dim is a permanent condition. I've lost count of the number of times I looked dim - you're never too young to die, and you're never too old to look dim :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Dec 6 '14 at 21:02
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    @paranon Bharal makes a good point that you've got a fair bit of license as a new grad. When companies specifically aim to hire those new to the professional world they won't hold a bit of awkwardness against you. It's understandable that you may find the process daunting. What you did right is communicating clearly with all parties involved, even if you may have jumped the gun. As long as you politely write back to say you'd like to continue their hiring process you indeed have nothing to lose and stand to benefit from the experience. – Lilienthal Dec 6 '14 at 21:18

There is no offer to be rescinded, because until the offer is in writing there is no offer. Your verbal acceptance is not binding because there is so much that needs to be reviewed in the written offer. You will want to know about Salary, benefits, vacation, sick leave...Some of these items taker a whole book to describe.

If the other companies have websites that you use to apply for the other positions, it may not be possible to resurrect your original application. But you should go back to the site to see what can be done.

If you either talked to a person via phone or email, you can try to contact them again. I would personally hesitate to take this step until I was sure the verbal offer isn't going to work out, otherwise you could be calling them the next day to say never mind take me off the list again.

How likely is it that there is no offer? There is no way to guess. I would contact them at the start of the week, and then restart the application process at either the other companies or new companies.

  • When the offer was extended verbally, all of the above items (salary, benefits, vacation, sick leave, etc.) were disclosed and discussed. It seemed as though the hiring manager was reading off of a drafted offer letter, actually. But I see your point. Luckily, I did notify all of those potential employers/hiring managers via email, so if the offer does fall through for sure, I will contact them again. Thank you for your answer! – paranon Dec 6 '14 at 19:23

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