Can I decline a job offer after signing the contract?

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Converse&Roses
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I recently accepted a job offer a few days ago - but I just had an interview with another company that I would actually prefer to work with, if they give me a job offer. This other job has better hours and better pay, and it is much more relevant to the career path I want to follow, and it would look better on my CV, and it will also hopefully give me a better chance of getting into the postgraduate degree that I am going to apply for upon graduating from my current undergraduate degree.

Would I be allowed to decline the job offer I have already accepted if this other company does give me an offer? Obviously I am aware that this might not happen, but I just want to be prepared in case it does (and, as I said before, the job offer that I have already accepted is not my first choice). How should I tell the other employer that I want to decline their offer, despite the fact that I have already signed all of the paperwork?

I have read the contract, and there isn't anything that says that I am unable to do this, and the job also doesn't start until July, so they will still have time to find more employees - but it's just a bit of an awkward situation, and I don't want to risk making the employer angry and ruining my chances of being able to apply to them again in the future. Surely I should be able to decline the offer if I feel like it is not the best job at the moment, or if I will not be happy working there, because in an ideal world every employee should enjoy working with their employers - but I'm still afraid that the employer will get angry if I do have to decline the offer I already agreed to.
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Doones
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(Original post by Converse&Roses)
I recently accepted a job offer a few days ago - but I just had an interview with another company that I would actually prefer to work with, if they give me a job offer. This other job has better hours and better pay, and it is much more relevant to the career path I want to follow, and it would look better on my CV, and it will also hopefully give me a better chance of getting into the postgraduate degree that I am going to apply for upon graduating from my current undergraduate degree.

Would I be allowed to decline the job offer I have already accepted if this other company does give me an offer? Obviously I am aware that this might not happen, but I just want to be prepared in case it does (and, as I said before, the job offer that I have already accepted is not my first choice). How should I tell the other employer that I want to decline their offer, despite the fact that I have already signed all of the paperwork?

I have read the contract, and there isn't anything that says that I am unable to do this, and the job also doesn't start until July, so they will still have time to find more employees - but it's just a bit of an awkward situation, and I don't want to risk making the employer angry and ruining my chances of being able to apply to them again in the future. Surely I should be able to decline the offer if I feel like it is not the best job at the moment, or if I will not be happy working there, because in an ideal world every employee should enjoy working with their employers - but I'm still afraid that the employer will get angry if I do have to decline the offer I already agreed to.
Yes you can decline the original job. It will be slightly irritating for that company but it happens - it's not really a big deal, don't worry.

Although, yes of course, it may affect your chances of working with that specific company in the near future.
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markova21
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Would they be legally allowed to decline an offer after signing a contract? Doesn't the signed contract commit you to it? I know if you sign for or buy something you have up to seven days to change your mind. But I didn't think signing a work contract would be the same, unless it specified this in the small print.
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999tigger
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It is what it is. Just contact them and politely tell them you no longer wish to take them up on their offer. It should be straightforward. If it isnt then just hand your notice in straight away. Dont talk yourself into a mess. Keep it simple.
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999tigger
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(Original post by markova21)
Would they be legally allowed to decline an offer after signing a contract? Doesn't the signed contract commit you to it? I know if you sign for or buy something you have up to seven days to change your mind. But I didn't think signing a work contract would be the same, unless it specified this in the small print.
Technically they will be in breach of contract, but not worth the hassle of following up.

ps you dont have the right to change your mind if you buy something. unless you bought it online/ distance and then you have 14 days from the date of delivery.
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Doones
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(Original post by markova21)
Would they be legally allowed to decline an offer after signing a contract? Doesn't the signed contract commit you to it? I know if you sign for or buy something you have up to seven days to change your mind. But I didn't think signing a work contract would be the same, unless it specified this in the small print.
You aren't signing up for slavery

And often employment contracts allow for "no notice" or 1 week notice by either side during a new employee's probation period (usually first 3 months). But even a weeks notice would be uneforceable in reality for this scenario..

Given the OP hasn't even started yet it really won't be a major issue.

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markova21
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Technically they will be in breach of contract, but not worth the hassle of following up.

ps you dont have the right to change your mind if you buy something. unless you bought it online/ distance and then you have 14 days from the date of delivery.
Ah OK, thanks.
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markova21
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
You aren't signing up for slavery

And often employment contracts allow for "no notice" or 1 week notice by either side during a new employee's probation period (usually first 3 months). But even a weeks notice would be uneforceable in reality for this scenario..

Given the OP hasn't even started yet it really won't be a major issue.

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Thanks, Doonesbury.
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uberteknik
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(Original post by markova21)
Would they be legally allowed to decline an offer after signing a contract? Doesn't the signed contract commit you to it? I know if you sign for or buy something you have up to seven days to change your mind. But I didn't think signing a work contract would be the same, unless it specified this in the small print.
Technically they would be in breach. However, the only recourse would be to sack the employee, and since that employee would be on a probation period, the action makes no difference and the outcome is the same.

They may be slightly miffed, but there will be a second and third choice candidate they will approach and make an offer.

OP: Just pop in to the personnel department and tell them you made an error and do not wish to continue with your employment. They may want a resignation letter. There will usually be a short termination period, but they may equally say OK pack your things and leave immediately.
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doodle_333
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Yes, you can do it. Just be apologetic and tell them ASAP, don't explain that the other company just has better hours but you could say something like 'I was committed to and excited about working for your company but an unexpected opportunity has come up which I feel I can't turn down'.

You should be aware that depending on the hiring manager/company they may never make you an offer again, they may not care as well but it's possible it affects your employment chances.
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Converse&Roses
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Update: the second employer emailed me today and offered me the job. So I now have two job offers. I am going to try and terminate the contract for the first job offer, as it is not as relevant to the career I want to follow, and I will hopefully be able to accept this second job offer.

I'm going to read through the contract very carefully - I have already read it, but I could have missed something. I only signed it three days ago, so hopefully they shouldn't get too angry, as they still have plenty of time to find new employees, seeing as the job doesn't start until early July.
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Converse&Roses
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
Yes you can decline the original job. It will be slightly irritating for that company but it happens - it's not really a big deal, don't worry.

Although, yes of course, it may affect your chances of working with that specific company in the near future.
Yes, I'll have to skip over that company when I am applying for jobs in the future, but I live in a large city with many other companies similar to this one, so hopefully it shouldn't be too difficult to find a job without applying to this company again.
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Converse&Roses
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(Original post by uberteknik)
Technically they would be in breach. However, the only recourse would be to sack the employee, and since that employee would be on a probation period, the action makes no difference and the outcome is the same.

They may be slightly miffed, but there will be a second and third choice candidate they will approach and make an offer.

OP: Just pop in to the personnel department and tell them you made an error and do not wish to continue with your employment. They may want a resignation letter. There will usually be a short termination period, but they may equally say OK pack your things and leave immediately.
Chances are they won't ask for a resignation letter seeing as the job hasn't even started yet - it wasn't set to start until July. And I haven't attended any training days or anything like that yet.

But yes, I will need to contact them as soon as possible. I just need to look over the contract first.
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999tigger
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(Original post by Converse&Roses)
Update: the second employer emailed me today and offered me the job. So I now have two job offers. I am going to try and terminate the contract for the first job offer, as it is not as relevant to the career I want to follow, and I will hopefully be able to accept this second job offer.

I'm going to read through the contract very carefully - I have already read it, but I could have missed something. I only signed it three days ago, so hopefully they shouldn't get too angry, as they still have plenty of time to find new employees, seeing as the job doesn't start until early July.
It looks like youve ignored what people have told you SMH.
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Converse&Roses
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(Original post by 999tigger)
It looks like youve ignored what people have told you SMH.
What makes you say that? Even you said "Just contact them and politely tell them you no longer wish to take them up on their offer. It should be straightforward", so???

And, as you said, it was straightforward. I contacted the company, explained that I will no longer be available to work for them at that time, and they cancelled the contract. Simple.
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999tigger
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(Original post by Converse&Roses)
What makes you say that? Even you said "Just contact them and politely tell them you no longer wish to take them up on their offer. It should be straightforward", so???

And, as you said, it was straightforward. I contacted the company, explained that I will no longer be available to work for them at that time, and they cancelled the contract. Simple.
Because you looked as though you were backpedaling and making it more complicated than it was.
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Converse&Roses
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Because you looked as though you were backpedaling and making it more complicated than it was.
Well, I made this post to make sure that it is actually possible to terminate a contract after signing it. That was it. That was the only reason for this post. I wasn't asking people which job offer I should accept, because that's my choice. That isn't your decision to make.

And I think a few people were a bit confused, or possibly didn't read the question fully. Neither one of these jobs have started yet. The one I just terminated the contract for was set to start in July. The one I just accepted an offer for is also set to start in July. They were both scheduled for the same month, so I could only accept one offer. Some people in this thread seemed to think that I have already started working with the first employer, but I hadn't.

I chose to terminate the contract for the first job because it is not as relevant to the career path I want to follow as the second job is. I am also planning on applying for a postgraduate degree, and I know for a fact that the second job (the one I just accepted the offer for in favour of the other offer) will make my application for a postgraduate degree in the career I want to follow much stronger than it would have been without it - and the postgrad I'll be applying for is very competitive, so I need as much experience as I can get. (and yes, before you ask, I do need to study this postgrad if I want anything resembling a chance of getting a job in that field).

So, at the end of the day, all I've really lost is the chance to apply to the other employer. The one I just terminated the contract with. I would much rather lose my chances of applying to that company again than turn down a job that would look better on an application for a postgraduate degree (which, as I already stated, I do need if I want a job in that field).
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by Converse&Roses)
.........
It's perfectly possible, it's just the same as giving notice, which you can do at any time to get out of an employment contract, except that, as you haven't started work, there is no logical notice period to work out. Just email and say your circumstances have changed and you need to withdraw from the contract. They may be mildly irritated, but no more.
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Emma:-)
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
It's perfectly possible, it's just the same as giving notice, which you can do at any time to get out of an employment contract, except that, as you haven't started work, there is no logical notice period to work out. Just email and say your circumstances have changed and you need to withdraw from the contract. They may be mildly irritated, but no more.
I agree.
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Trinculo
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It's well established that employment contracts are have no remedy of specific performance on the employee - you can't generally be forced to work. You can be obliged to stay in your job and get paid to not do anything, like with gardening leave - but that's about it. In most cases, the employer will just accept that you're not starting and move on.

All I would say in respect of this is that the OP is simply doing what is best for him/herself.

This is all well and good until you consider the reverse situation - imagine if OP had been offered a job, and then the employer tried to withdraw it because they found a better candidate - no one would think that acceptable.

If this sort of thing happens to big companies, they're used to it and can absorb it. When it happens to small companies, it can be needlessly expensive in terms of money and time.
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