How to Cope with Retracted Job Offers

Getting your first job offer is a truly exciting moment - until the other shoe drops. While having a job offer withdrawn is typically rare, it can still happen, and if it does, it'll be up to you to know how to handle the situation.
Sarah Si
Sarah Si
Editor, gradsingapore
How to Cope with Retracted Job Offers

Everything was in place just before you graduated – after numerous internships and a lengthy interview process, you managed to land a role before graduation. Adulting awaits! You then enthusiastically rented your graduation gown, planned the outfit you would wear underneath and even picked out the most suitable pair of shoes to walk in across the stage to receive the proof of your degree.

Then the pandemic hit, turned the economy topsy-turvy and reduced physical convocation ceremonies to rushed virtual goodbyes over your last days in school. And if that wasn’t enough, your future company rescinded their offer.

The best-laid plans can go awry. But the combination of your security blanket (or rug) being tugged out from above (or below you) so quickly, coupled with the uncertainty prevalent in everyday life, means that you’re not coping well. You may have even fallen into a rut. How can you get out of this funk? Here are some tips to help you.

It's okay to take time to deal with the shock

Even if you were aware that your offer might be revoked (you saw fellow graduates have their own offers rescinded), getting the news itself may still lead you to the six stages of grief. And if you were mere weeks or days away from reporting for your first day of work, the surge of adrenaline and shock you got from the news may even leave you feeling emotionally drained and unable to think straight.

Give yourself the chance to calm down. Sit still for a few minutes and wait for your brain to start working rationally again. Once you’ve processed the shock, you can think about your next step.

How to Cope with Retracted Job Offers_Symptoms of shock

Grieve so you can move on

Suddenly finding yourself adrift without your job offer anchor is jarring and will leave you feeling off-kilter. To make matters worse, in the middle of this new normal where change often comes at the drop of a hat, your feelings of rejection can be intensified several times.

Understand that it’s okay to grieve for the role you never got the chance to fill. Take some time to retreat from the world and wallow for a bit. Work on getting rid of any self-defeating scenarios in your head, take some time to re-focus and get ready to jump back into the game.

How to Cope with Retracted Job Offers_Grieve

Understand why the company rescinded your offer

Before you start thinking the worst of the company, think about this simple truth: Companies don’t want to take back job offers once they send them out. They usually only retract offers when they have little to no choice. For instance, in pre-pandemic times, companies usually only revoked offers due to negative or unprofessional candidate behaviour post-interview.

That’s because hiring processes aren’t just a strain on your time and resources – they’re hard on recruiters and company resources, too. Chances are, in the wake of slashed budgets in this new normal, their changed financial situation means that the role is either no longer available, or they’re forced to freeze hiring.

How to Cope with Retracted Job Offers_Common reasons

Update your job search plan (and expand your search)

You can stick to the original plan you had adhered to during your job hunt in university. But if you think you need to update it, or even draw up a new one, please do so by all means!

Also, consider casting a wider search net, and look at employers who offer roles related to your course of study, but may not be in the industry of your choice. For instance, if your degree is in accountancy and you were just about to step into a job in an accounting consultancy (that was rescinded), you can tweak your plan and apply to the accounting department in an IT company.

How to Cope with Retracted Job Offers_Update job search

Jump back in

In the wake of the severe blow dealt to the job market, schools have stepped up their efforts to help graduates. On top of the career advice that campus career centres typically offer graduates, they now also provide new modules and training. Leverage on the opportunity and familiarise yourself with video interviews, as well as how to tailor your resume and cover letter further before sending them out!

Also, check in with your campus career centre for dates on physical and/or virtual networking sessions and career fairs, and make it a point to show your best self when you attend. Don’t disregard other methods of finding a job, too! For instance, you can take up a traineeship or graduate internship. If you do well, your manager may even offer you a full-time position at the end of your time there.

How to Cope with Retracted Job Offers_Jump back in

Getting your job offer retracted is a painful experience. It will severely test your resilience, perseverance and mental fortitude. Keep your head up high, and don't give up on yourself. While it's unfortunate that your job offer has been rescinded, you can bounce back if you keep trying. After all, you still have much to give – you just need to let others know that!