How to withdraw a job offer letter

Updated February 21, 2017

Unexpected events can happen in a business that forces changes of plans. Extending a job offer to an applicant and then withdrawing it is a delicate process. While common sense and good business etiquette determine the general outlines of how to approach this, it might be in the company's best interest to obtain legal advice before actually writing the letter to avoid unexpected surprises.

Follow the formatting for general business letters. Do not use indention for the paragraphs. An inside address is not necessary if the letter is on letterhead paper. Skip a line between paragraphs and two lines between the body of the letter and the signature.

Write and mail the letter as soon as possible in the process. Delays may lead to legal complications if the rejected employee has already quit his current job or otherwise created expenses that he will otherwise not be able to recoup. For example, if he has paid for a move or bought equipment or other job-related items, the company may find itself in court.

State clearly in the first sentence that the offered position is being rescinded and the date it is being rescinded.

Give a factual reason in the second paragraph. The letter may become evidence in a later court hearing, so it is vitally important that any information at this point be factual and able to be backed up with evidence. For example, the candidate may have failed a drug screening test after the job was offered, or the company may have lost the client whose account the applicant was to have worked on.

End with a desire and wish that the applicant be successful in a further job search.

Sign it with either the head of the company or the person who extended the job offer to the applicant.

Keep a permanent copy in the human resource department files of the company.

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About the Author

Jack Burton started writing professionally in 1980 with articles in "Word from Jerusalem," "ICEJ Daily News" and Tagalong Garden News. He has managed radio stations, TV studios and newspapers, and was the chief fundraiser for Taltree Arboretum. Burton holds a B.S. in broadcasting from John Brown University. He is a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Navy/Navy Reserves and the Navy Seabees.