How to change your mind after declining a job offer

Looking for a new job can be stressful for candidates, and it can be easy to make an impulsive decision under such pressure. Considering the circumstances, is it ever possible to change your mind if you’ve declined a job offer?

It’s unfortunate, but it’s not actually all that uncommon. To be clear: turning a declined offer around is going to be challenging.

While not impossible, keep in mind that it’s probably not going to be easy to convince the hiring manager that, despite your initial reluctance, you’re still the best candidate for the job.

This is why you should always turn down job offers graciously

This is a good example of why it’s important to always be gracious at work, especially when turning down a job offer. It’s a good idea to view all work interactions as an opportunity to build rapport in order to expand your professional network.

While it’s always going to be difficult to get rehired once you’ve turned down a job offer, having treated the opportunity that was presented to you with the appropriate level of respect and gratitude is going to make it a bit easier to enter into discussions once again.

When is it appropriate to begin discussions?

As soon as you realise you’ve made a mistake, reach out. The earlier, the better; the longer you delay, the more time they have to offer your position to the next candidate in line.

How much time will depend upon the role. Use your discretion.

Do some research first

Before you reconnect with your contacts, take some time to investigate if the role has already been filled. If so, it’s still worth keeping in touch with the contacts you made during the interview process so they can keep you in mind the next time an opportunity comes up.

You can do this a number of ways. Do they maintain an active presence online? Do they list vacancies on their website? If it’s unclear, don’t be afraid to reach out to the company to ask about whether they found the right candidate.

It is also worth thinking about how you are going to approach them regarding your main question: would they be willing to reconsider your application?

What is the best thing to say?

If the reason you initially turned down the role is no longer an issue for you, the best way would be to approach the hiring manager directly. It is always better to call them and speak with them directly; this will show confidence, and give you a better chance of explaining yourself. It’s easy to misinterpret words on a screen; by phone, your sincerity can show through.

Be honest about what’s changed, and be prepared for them to be sceptical. Sometimes, upon considering the reasons for your initial rejection, the recruitment team is willing to reconsider your application, and would be open to renegotiate with you. After all, you were once the best candidate for the position, and you are still the qualified candidate you were then, now.

Assure them that this won’t happen again. It’s does not inspire confidence in a new hire to see them constantly change their mind, so it’s important to make them feel confident in your decision.

Whether or not you manage to win over the hiring manager you once turned down will come down to a lot of different factors, some of which is outside of your control. But if you are clear on your motivations, and help them understand your change of heart, it’s not impossible, particularly if your original rejection was gracious and professional. And use this as a lesson for the future: be sure of your decision when acting on a job offer.

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