I have been founding and working on my start-up for a year now.

In April (~45 days ago), a potential employer from California approached me with an interesting lead position. We exchanged a few messages, I did express a genuine interest but I informed him that I was 100% committed and working hard on my start-up at the moment.

The start-up failed and for reasons outside of my control: the key founders of the project decided to back-off from the start-up.

The job offered from the employer in California was a difficult position to fill, and may still be open. I would like to get back quickly to that employer but I'm concerned that I may appear desperate

As a potential employer, how you would react to someone declining an interview who then reached out to you at a later date? What approach(es) would you recommend to someone in my situation?

  • 1
    I edited and cleaned it up to make it a bit more succinct. It might have drawn a few close-votes in it's previous form. May 31, 2016 at 14:22
  • One does not turn offers down. "I'll think about it" is way better, almost always. (Exceptions prove the rule.)
    – jawo
    Jun 1, 2016 at 9:36
  • the keywords in your reply are at the moment. plus you expressed interest in their project. They should be able to understand.
    – njzk2
    Jun 2, 2016 at 16:50

3 Answers 3


Go for it. Be open and clear about the change in circumstances. Explain why you said no the first time and why you are suddenly available. Go directly to the hiring manager (if you can) to minimize the risk that it gets snagged in HR.

Phone call preferred, but e-mail can do too. Something like

Hi XXX. Previously we talked about a lead position on your team. I was very excited about the opportunity but at the time had a commitment to my start up that I couldn't break. However, my availability has opened up following changes in financial commitments from original investing parties. I am still really interested in exploring the position we have discussed or perhaps something similar within your organization. I'd be delighted to discuss this with you in person.

  • 19
    Echo this general sentiment, though less optimistic about the position being open. Forty Five days after posting, my experience is a position is either filled, or abandoned as "no hope for it, pursue alternatives" by a company at that point.
    – tekiegreg
    May 31, 2016 at 16:47
  • 8
    The other day sounds to me like 2-10 days ago, not 45. While not a big deal, it's probably better to say "A little while ago" or "Some time ago".
    – Tas
    Jun 1, 2016 at 0:20
  • 3
    The only part I don't like is: "unfortunately my start up hasn't worked out." Don't portray things negatively. Instead: "I am no longer actively required at the start up company." When seeking a job, be completely honest at all times, but try to portray things with positive (or, if that seems really impossible, neutral) perspectives, not negative. For anything that may seem negative (company dropping you, company folding, etc.) take time to consider how to identify some sort of positive aspect that may exist (e.g., what was learned). Ideally, after you contact them, per Patricia's comment
    – TOOGAM
    Jun 1, 2016 at 3:50
  • 10
    @TOOGAM: I would read "I am no longer actively required" as "I am not wanted", and consider this a bad omen for the person saying it. "The start up hasn't worked out." on the other hand is something that happens to very many start ups, often through no fault of their founders. Jun 1, 2016 at 7:40
  • 2
    In case this clears up anything that may be cultural: some people refer to X's and O's as kisses and hugs. (@MathijsSegers might have just been joking.) The "Hi XXX" likely meant the same as "Hi ______", intending that "XXX" would be replaced by the name of an appropriate recipient.
    – TOOGAM
    Jun 2, 2016 at 12:23

There is never anything to be lost by reaching back out to the prospective employer and explain that your situation has changed if they still had any positions available.

At worst they wont be hiring and at best you end up with a job!

  • 35
    Do not delay. Do not wait for more answers. The worst outcome for both you and the employer is they settle for someone who is a less good fit for the job, and make an offer. Every hour you delay increases that risk. May 31, 2016 at 14:17
  • 1
    Spot on. (Just don't use the phrase 'reaching back out'. Reaching is an awful term for communicating, and makes business contact sound like some sort of over-friendly episode in a sauna. I got a reply from a recruiter thanking me for 'reaching back' once.) Either this employer is not looking and nothing is lost, or they are still looking and they will be glad to hear from you. Waiting only makes that less likely.
    – Phil H
    Jun 1, 2016 at 11:27

You should go for it.

Don't worry that your change of heart seems desperate.

To the employer it may as well seem you were committed until the very end - and didn't jump ship at a time that surely would have been disastrous for the start-up.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .