How to renege offer gracefully?

New answer on Jun 12, 2020
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on May 15, 2020

Hi, I would like to know how to manage offer cancelling / reneging. I am now in an awkward situation: I have received an offer from a firm, and I have signed the offer digitally. After a few days, now they want me to sign the hard copy. At the same time, another company I am more interested in gave me an offer, but the official offer will take one week to be released. What should I do now? Should I tell the firm that I've signed offer digitally to wait a few days? Or, should I sign the hard copy now, and then renege it next week? Appreciate your advice.

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Anonymous replied on May 15, 2020

Hey there,

It doesn't matter whether the the offer is signed digitally or physically. Once you sign (regardless of format), you accept the offer.

If you really want to cancel it, here is what you should do:

  • Wait for the 2nd offer to officially come in, so you have a real option
  • Tell the 1st company politely and seek their understanding in pulling back
  • Once you reach agreement with 1st company, then you cancel the 1st offer and after that you sign your 2nd offer

Before you do all these, do think carefully - is the difference between the 2 firms / offers big enough to worth such effort?



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Content Creator
updated an answer on May 15, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


In the US and EU the digital copy have exactly the same legal status. So it really doesn't matter.

If the company promised you the offer and you want to accept it - you should just tell this openly to the first company. There is no other way



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replied on May 16, 2020
FREE 1st session in November | From Lawyer to MBB | Top in FIT | 10x your structuring skills | Message to get Free Prep Checklist


It is a very tricky situation. First of all, take into account that your situation depends a lot on your jurisdiction and the legal nature of the offer. Anyway you would need to mitigate your risks by waiting for your “more desired” offer to be issued before declining your first offer.



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Anonymous replied on May 15, 2020

Dear A ,

My congratulations to your 2 offers! In this situation I would recommend you to put an absence note to your e-mail and don't respond for e-mail for one week. That means wait till the offer from the other company will be released, because if you reject your first offer, which you already have in your hand, but then second company might rescheduling the starting date and you could be in trouble. Therefore, wait for the second offer and don't do any actions on the other offer. And after you receive you favorable second offer, sign it and agree on the starting date. Afterwards you can take actions on your first offer.

Hope, it helps.

Good luck ,

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Content Creator
replied on May 15, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep


That's a very tricky situation. Ideally you could have avoided this situation in the first place by:

1) Telling the 1st firm you had to think about the offer and

2) Asking the 2nd firm to accelerate the interview/offer process as you had an offer on the table.

I can't advise on what to do next, but in this case you need to consider:

1) Longer term reputational risk

2) Risk of 2nd firm offer falling through

3) How soon hard copy needs to be signed (by the way, at this point there isn't much of a difference morally/ethically/reputationally in terms of the hard vs soft copy)

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Content Creator
replied on May 15, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Couple things here:

  • Regardless of digitally or physically, you have already accepted the 1st offer.
  • Even if accepted, you can always reject it without more consequences -in most cases, but read the fine print and also double check with their HR-.
  • If you are sure about the 2nd offer being solid, then respectfully resign from the 1st one:
    • You can find email templates in the internet or from business schools to politely reject
    • Explain briefly that you found something more suitable
    • Emphasis your gratitud towards them once again

Hope it helps!



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Anonymous replied on Jun 12, 2020

Hi Anonymous,

Can you share what you finally did? I think it would be interesting for other people in the same situation to read what the process was if you asked to withdraw your signed offer :)

Congrats anyway


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