withdrawing a job offer

Withdrawing a job offer & the law

On occasion, you might be faced with the prospect of withdrawing a job offer. Your recruitment plans might have changed, funding for the post may have been withdrawn or you could have discovered that your star candidate isn’t suitable for the role after all.

Regardless of the reason, employers need to be cautious when withdrawing a job offer to ensure they stay on the right side of the law and to protect their reputation.

If your recruitment circumstances change
Should you find that funding for the role is no longer available, or an organisational restructure is on the cards then you must contact the candidate as soon as possible to inform them of this as soon as possible.

With a bit of luck, your selected candidate might not have given notice of resignation from their current employer yet. If they have and they have no other alternative source of income, they might find themselves in the awkward position of asking for their resignation to be withdrawn and for their old job back. In this situation, the candidate is highly unlikely to be happy but the sooner you communicate the news that the job offer has been withdrawn the better.

In most cases, the candidate will be working out their notice period and this news would come before their due start date, but you still owe them a full explanation and apology.

Bear in mind that if you withdraw your offer of employment and the candidate has satisfied any conditions, you will be seen to be in breach of your contract and may be liable for damages and compensation to the candidate.

If your pre-recruitment checks do not satisfy requirements
Before you make a job offer, you must ensure that your offer is conditional subject to the candidate satisfying certain criteria, such as evidence of their right to work in the UK, satisfactory references or a clear CRB check for roles working with minors or vulnerable people.

If your candidate does not meet these requirements, then you are well within your rights to withdraw the offer of employment without being liable for damages. But make sure in your offer of employment that you make it crystal clear that the offer is conditional subject to these items, or you could find yourself faced with legal proceedings.

For more information on offers of employment and legal recruitment methods, contact the Appointments team on 01782 338787

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Emma Bonfiglio

About the author, Emma Bonfiglio

Managing Director at Appointments, Emma has spent 15 years building up a stellar reputation for commercial recruitment excellence across a variety of industries and sectors. There’s no staffing challenge Emma hasn’t encountered and her insight into the recruitment landscape has assisted countless clients achieve their goals over the years.


Specialising in the legislative and procedural side of business operations and through her extensive knowledge and continual training, Emma has a wealth of legal and contractual recruitment knowledge to help advise and support organisations of any size and in any industry.