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It doesnt happen often, but it has happened more in the past thirty six months than over the past three decades: the dreaded rescission of a job offer. More lawyers are reporting that their first choice, and the one who offered a position, has sent letters explaining that for reasons out of their control, but most likely due to the recession, they must withdraw the recent job offering. A. Harrison Barnes, attorney and founder of, says what makes this especially grueling is that the candidates have usually already declined offers from other firms.

Making it even more difficult is the varied responses youre likely to receive to the question of, Should I contact those firms I turned down to see if the position is still available? Many career coaches say you should absolutely not contact those firms while others say there is a graceful way of doing it. So, with that thought in mind, and assuming youre going to contact those you declined, here are a few tips of the best way of doing it. Keep in mind, if you ask twenty attorneys their thoughts on whether this is a good idea, youre like to get twenty different answers, says the founder.

Be honest. This cant be stressed enough, says Barnes. You will need to decide if a letter or phone call is best, but regardless of which vehicle you use to reconnect, you owe it to them to be honest. Something along the lines of, I appreciate the offer you extended last month and while I had accepted another position, I find myself now in the job search once again. I realize youve likely already chosen another candidate; however, I would appreciate your consideration should another position come available.

Keep in mind you may or may not receive a response and even if you do, it may or may not be promising. You very well could receive a cold reply, but by the same token, you may receive a letter from someone whos been in your position and isnt as offended as youre expecting.

The job market is competitive and aggressive, says A. Harrison Barnes. Fair warning: even if you are offered the position again, dont be surprised if youve lost some of your negotiation rights. Its not uncommon for a new package to be offered. You need to decide before you approach the firm again if youre willing to compromise. Otherwise, you may find yourself accepting a position out of guilt that you already resent because its not paying enough or youll find yourself declining yet another offer.

Finally, Barnes says to not underestimate an entirely new job search. Odds are, thats where youre likely to find yourself anyway. Sometimes a fresh start is just whats needed and who knows, you may find yourself face to face with your second choice yet again; this time, the playing field will look different than had you approached them cold.

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