7

This question is based on working in United States.

I have accepted a job offer and signed a contract with Company A about a week ago. Just today, there was another job offer from Company B with significantly better compensation. The working culture and the types of project Company B does also nicely aligns with my interest. I'd like to take this new offer.

Obviously, I'm going to be burning bridges with Company A if I decline to work there at this point, so I'm looking for pointers on how to best handle such case. Should I notify them immediately or after signing a written contract with Company B? Are there any legal repercussions on declining to work with Company A?

  • 3
    Just like you wouldn't give notice at your job before you have a new one, don't tell Company A you have another job until you officially do. – The Muffin Man Dec 30 '16 at 2:26
  • What exactly have you signed so far? Did you sign a non-compete and if so, would that non-compete have prevented you from immediately moving between these jobs if employment had already begun? Depending on state law and how interested their legal team is at litigating, they may have a significant wrench to throw into the works. State law is all over the map on non-competes in general. – PMV Dec 30 '16 at 20:24
  • @PMV - If the non-compete doesn't kick in until the first day of work, then the non-compete is a non-issue. Non-competes and NDAs apply to employees of the firm not to those who are not yet employees of the firm - not usually. If you are not yet an employee of the firm, then you aren't an employee of the firm. Period. – Vietnhi Phuvan Dec 31 '16 at 1:38
  • Theres usually a clause in employment offer contracts that state either party can renege on the offer at any time for any reason. I'd let them know you can no longer accept their offer. Since you havent started yet, it's a small bridge to burn. – Charles Addis Dec 31 '16 at 6:25
11
  1. Review your contract with A and make sure that your contract with A doesn't kick in until your first day working at A.

  2. Make sure that you haven't received anything from A such as a moving allowance, an advance on salary, a sign-on bonus, etc. If you have received any of those, it's probably a sign that your employment contract with A is already kicking in.

  3. Sign your contract with B and only after you get an offer in finalized form from B complete with start date do you tell A that you can't make it.

You are worried about burning bridges? Then stay with A.

Personally, once I make my decision, I don't worry about what bridges I am sending up sky high.

5

There is no really good way, since when you accepted and then reconsidered you may have cost them the opportunity to hire the second best candidate.

All you can do is tell them that you hate doing it to them, but have been offered an exceptional opportunity to further your career and are regretfully forced to decline their offer

3

Obviously, I'm going to be burning bridges with Company A if I decline to work there at this point, so I'm looking for pointers on how to best handle such case. Should I notify them immediately or after signing a written contract with Company B?

Before you notify Company A, make sure of two things first.

  • Make sure you have a formal, written offer from Company B that you are sure you want to accept as is. If you need to continue negotiating, or if this offer might fall through, then don't notify Company A yet.
  • Make sure there isn't some other Company C,D, or E that is ready to give you an offer that you want. You don't want to stiff more than one company if you don't have to.

Your best bet is to be honest with Company A and explain why you have changed your mind. I'm sure they won't be happy about it, but these things happen. If you are prompt, polite, and professional they will understand. Don't delay any longer than necessary, so as to minimize the damage.

I once worked for a company that hired a software engineer. He was due to start in a month, and waited until his expected start date to tell the company that he changed his mind and wasn't going to show up. There's no way anyone who worked there at the time would ever want to work with him in the future.

On the other hand, I've had several people over the years change their mind within a week or so after accepting my offer. I wasn't happy, but I understand that these things happen.

Are there any legal repercussions on declining to work with Company A?

That depends on your contract, and local laws.

In most US locales, in most contexts, there will be no legal repercussions, although as you indicated there will be a hit to your professional reputation and you will clearly be burning bridges at Company A and with anyone there who knows what you did.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.