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Reneging: What's the Big Deal?

The job/internship search brings many challenges. At times it might be tempting to accept the first job offer that comes along with plans to drop it if a better offer is made to you. Doing so often leads to career-damaging behavior known as reneging. Reneging is a term used when someone goes back on a promise, undertaking, or contract. In the world of job searching, reneging is a very negative term used when someone accepts a job offer and then changes their mind. This applies to both verbal and written agreements. Those who renege on accepted job offers are considered by many as lacking integrity and character. Clearly reneging on a job offer will likely have serious consequences that might stick with you for your entire career.

Compelling Reasons Not to Renege on Job Offer Acceptances

For some companies, the hiring process is long, taxing, and expensive. Companies take hiring a new candidate very seriously. There are many stages of a job search, starting with advertising open positions, to interviewing candidates, and finally extending job offers of acceptance. The entire process requires the expenditure of valuable time and resources from the company. To renege a job offer would completely disregard the hard work a company puts into the hiring process, and would require a company to start another round of the grueling hiring process. In addition, the advocates at the company that vouched for the student that eventually reneged could also be questioned for their judgement. It could hurt their own career with that company. In addition, teams to which the students are assigned at the company could suffer if the position they turned down isn’t filled in a timely way.

Here are a few strategies to follow when facing job offer-related issues:

1. Seek Advice. We welcome you to visit the CCO to discuss your circumstances with an experienced professional. We’ll listen, provide you with our perspective, help you flesh out options, and share the likely results of your decision-making. You can do this through our drop-in hours - 10 am - 4 pm, Monday - Friday.

2. Request a Job Offer Extension. Many employers are open to granting students more time to make a decision on a job offer. They’ve reported to the CCO that they would much rather extend the date of an offer than have the student say “Yes” now, but say “No” later.

3. Be transparent. Employers often share with us that they prefer to hear directly from students and help them with their decision-making. Students have reported that employers took their dilemmas seriously and advocated for win-win situations.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are considering reneging a job offer, please use good decision-making skills, consider reneging’s broader implications on other peoples’ lives, seek advice, and always remember, honesty is key. We are here to help you at the CCO! Thank you for helping us represent Purdue as an institution of integrity – it’s what keeps employers coming back year after year.

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