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change of mind after contract offer

#1 change of mind after contract offer
28/09/2007 13:07



Need of some advice.

I have accepted an offer (signed contract) and have since been offered a much better role elsewhere. What is my legal committment to the signed contract.

Anyone experienced this. Tony any insight into this from your background?

Many thanks,

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#2 RE: change of mind after contract offer
01/10/2007 09:35

IN real terms to axxi (#1)

... none. A quick apologetic call and email should do the trick. There is not a lot they can do. Just handle it nicely. DO not write the dead sea scrolls. a short to the point message. If you built a rapport with someone there, it is better to put a call in so that you do not damage your reputation. It is really not as big a deal as you might think

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#3 RE: change of mind after contract offer
01/10/2007 10:02

anon to IN real terms (#2)

strictly speaking, surely he has to work his notice from the date the contract becomes/became effective?

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#4 RE: change of mind after contract offer
01/10/2007 10:56

Tony Restell ( to axxi (#1)

I can't comment on the legalities, but I can certainly comment on the practicalities. I can't imagine any consulting firm wanting to enforce you showing up for work (even assuming this is legally enforceable). Imagine being a new joiner who is moping about from day 1 and telling everyone you meet that you've got another firm lined up that wants to pay you far more for a similar role. This just saps the morale of everyone else in the office and would be retention suicide for the consulting firm. The only scenario in which I could envisage them wanting you to work your notice period is if you are an expert on a topic and have been hired in specifically to fill a gap on a client assignment that has just been sold. But even in this situation they'd only want you to show up for work as a last resort...

Good luck with your decision.

Tony Restell

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#5 RE: change of mind after contract offer
01/10/2007 11:06

Gazumper to Tony Restell ( (#4)

I agree 100% with Tony's comments - realistically, they're not going to quibble and the worst case scenario is you burn bridges with that particular firm.

However, this whole topic has got me thinking. Does the fact that no rational firm will make somebody work for them if the candidate wants to reject the place prior to starting yet after having signed a contract mean that, if you have an offer from one firm but are maybe 2-3 weeks away from potentially receiving one from a better firm, you should sign up in order to 'bank' the offer and then 'gazump' them if something better comes along? My thinking here is that some firms might not take things too well if you ask them for a 3 week extension on their signing deadline because you have a few more interesting prospects in the pipeline (it kinda contradicts what you have to say in the interviews about always ever wanting to have worked for XYZ Ltd because they are the best thing since sliced bread), so rather than risk a sure thing, you reserve your 'seat' with that firm whilst the offer's there and then gazump them if necessary?

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#6 RE: change of mind after contract offer
01/10/2007 11:15

Mars A Day to axxi (#1)

Legally there is no BINDING contract until you have actually set foot on their premises or on the site of a client while representing the firm. So legally there is no recourse.

As regards the point made by Gazumper, whether a hiring firm agrees to extend the start date is up to them; they will certainly have an idea as to why you want an extension! If you get a better offer before you start then fair play - it's a free market after all, and many companies play games with candidates around offers and start dates etc e.g. take a look at recent posts regards BAH.

If you have a better offer, and have not actually started with the firm, you can rescind your acceptance contract or not. Just be prepared to burn your bridges - but then joining them and then leaving asap to take another offer would be as bad or worse so it's the lesser of 2 evils.

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#7 RE: change of mind after contract offer
01/10/2007 11:47

indeed to Mars A Day (#6)

It is not unusual for a person simply not to turn up for the first day. No-one is going to miss you until you have made your mark in the company. Gazumper is kind of right, actually. The decent thign to do is to be honest with your company but the same thing happened to me. I had signed a contract, was discussing joining arrangements and suddenly got a call regarding another opportunity. I opted to stick with the first offer as I had a better feeling about it but would certainly have "gazumped" company 1 if I had felt I wanted to work for company 2. Generally speaking, as long as all communication is managed in the appropriate way, this is a far bigger issue for the candidate than it is for the hiring company. I really would not sweat over it. They will have forgotten your name by the end of the week!

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#8 RE: change of mind after contract offer
02/10/2007 16:17

man on the inside to axxi (#1)

Just had a guy who was made an offer by my employers. It took them 3 months to obtain clearance, references and confirm his starting date.

He resigned from his current employers on the basis of the offer and went without pay for 2 months. He joined for one month to get a pay cheque quit with one weeks notice and took another top 4 positio

moral of the story: look after no.1

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