Declining An Already Accepted Job Offer

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iloveglee | 11:29 Thu 20th Aug 2020 | Jobs & Education
12 Answers
My grand-daughter has asked me for advice, and I'm not sure what to say to her. She applied for, and got a job in a government organisation (prefer not to say which one). Due to the coronavirus situation, and with them wanting to make the workplace safe, she's had to wait quite a while for a starting date.

In the meantime, a job has come up in an organisation which she prefers, and would always have been her first choice. They have offered her this job, and she would really like to take it, but feels really bad about having to turn around to her first job offer, and say she doesn't, after all want to take it. They were really nice people and the job sounded very interesting, but the other one is where her heart lies.

The second job is slightly fewer hours, although the same hourly rate. It is also 10 miles closer to home, which would mean a saving in travel costs, and time of course. It's just that she feels so guilty at having wasted the time at the first organisation, and they would then have to go through the recruitment procedure again.

Don't get me wrong, this not some high flying job, neither of them are, and the only thing i can say really is that, these days, at her age (under 21), she's in a very fortunate position.


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The organisation will be used to job offers being rejected and your daughter should not feel at all guilty about it.
Easy, Dear Sir, regarding your job offer and my subsequent acceptance, I must withdraw my acceptance. During the long lead time between my acceptance and you supplying me with a start date another opportunity has arisen, one that I prefer. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.
Yours faithfully
.... etc

Dear xxx (use name)
Thank you for your (letter, message email) informing me of the proposed start date for employment with (state department). I regret to inform you that in the interim another employer, to which I had also applied, has made me an offer which I have decide to accept.
Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience this has caused you
iloveglees daughter

I bet she won't be the only one doing this. My best wishes for her future career
She must follow her heart and delcine the first job in favour of the second. This happens all the time and she should not feel in anyway guilty . Best wishes to your grand-daughter in her new job, she is indeed very fortunate to have two offers.
I have worked for many years in a government organisation including HR - tell your daughter not to worry. This happens all the time, in fact it's not uncommon for people to not even turn up on their first day There's very often a reserve candidate anyway. Just use wording as suggested above.
I don't think the OP has asked for help in writing a letter.
no barry but I think she is agonising about backing out. I offered the letter as a vehicle to explain how she may go about it.
I have had this happen a few times with people I have recruited at differing organisations. It's life most employers will take the same view I do: I dont want a member of staff who feels they 'have' to be there and there are plenty of people who would like the job and be happy to be in my team.

So simply decline it. Phone or email will suffice to the HR department.
seriously, as said organisations are used to this sort of stuff. If they have delayed her starting, they can't really complain she's found something else.
I also work for a govt department, and when i applied i didnt know i was pregnant, when i got the job i was a few months pregnant. hThe security stuff took so long, that by the time they were ready to start me, i was due to have the baby and i had to tell them i had something a bit more important on that week, and could i delay for a few months. it was fine!
Question Author
thanks for all your insights, and the ideas for what to write in the refusal letter - all useful.

It's hard to give advice actually, because the job that she was offered first is no doubt the better job. Better prospects, better pension scheme, better job training and better money as it's more hours.

It's a question for following your head or your heart and I'm not at all certain which I would do if I were her. Having followed my heart rather than my head many many years ago, with hindsight, even though the heart job worked out, it carried many challenges that I wouldn't have had if I'd followed my head!!

I personally agree though, and would tell her so, that most organisations are used to employing people who change their minds, don't turn up, or leave very shortly after they started. It's extremely difficult when working for a totally new kind of organisation what it's going to be like. Something that you think will be wonderful turns out quite the opposite, and vice versa!!
The problem is of course if job 2 isnt what she expects, she's burnt her bridges with job1
My granddaughter was in a similar position. She rang the person who had interviewed her and explained that she had been offered another job that she had applied for at the same time. The person who she spoke to was fine and appreciated the fact that she had been informed as she said that some people just wouldn’t have turned up on the first day.

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