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Is it OK to Renege on a Job Offer?

Finding a job is not easy. It can be hard to know when the right job offer comes around, especially since companies are working on different timelines. You might receive an offer for one company, knowing that you have final interviews with another company in two weeks. Should you accept an offer as soon as it comes in and keep interviewing? Should you just say "yes" and see if anything better comes along?

The answer to both those questions is an emphatic "no". Accepting a job, only to turn it down later is called reneging. While this might seem harmless, there are far reaching implications of these decisions to the student, the employer, and the university.

1. Poor professional reputation.

Even if a company does not keep a physical list, the recruiter will likely remember a candidate that has reneged. The recruiter would have worked with you and your name throughout the hiring process, and is not likely to forget about you anytime soon. Reneging will most likely bring up negative thoughts about you, should you wish to apply for that company again.

University recruiters in particular will often see their colleagues from other companies, and might even switch positions to a different employer. With the amount of work it takes to build your professional presence, you do not want to harm it by creating a poor reputation among recruiters.

2. Loss of money/time for employer.

The interviewing process is exhausting for you and the company. Hiring a new employee is a difficult, long, expensive, and stressful process that companies are not wanting to repeat. When they receive an acceptance from a candidate, they will often shut down the recruiting efforts and let other candidates know that the position has been filled. The process of reopening that position and contacting candidates again can be very burdensome.

3. Damage to employer and university relationship.

Companies often choose to come to Ohio State because of our fantastic students! The knowledge and experience you bring to these companies makes it worthwhile to come back year after year. If companies have negative experiences with students, however, they may consider going elsewhere to recruit talent. ECS works hard with companies to build relationships and provide Ohio State students with the best possible opportunities, but ultimately it is up to you—the student—to represent the knowledge and professionalism of Ohio State.

4. May affect future ECS involvement.

ECS has a renege policy and asks you to agree to an ethical job search within our registration policies. Students who renege on a job offer are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Not only is reneging inconsiderate and unprofessional, it also can be grounds for exclusion from ECS services and programs.

The best way to avoid reneging is to talk with the company who gave you the offer. If the timeline seems too quick, ask for an extension so that you have the time you need to compare offers. Once you accept an offer, stop looking! Don’t continue applying, and reach out to any companies you have not heard back from to let them know you have accepted an offer. Even though you are going a different direction, companies appreciate students who are respectful of their time by letting them know sooner rather than later. Learn more about how you can avoid reneging here.

“One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.” – Chinua Achebe

About the author

Alex Austin

Alex Austin is a Graduate Administrative Associate with Engineering Career Services.