7 Tips on Reneging
So you were a summer intern at Company A and got a return offer for FT after you graduate. Congratulations! Except now that you're half way through the fall semester you are starting to have doubts on whether you should have accepted that offer. Or maybe you were approached by a recruiter from your dream job and don't know how to handle it. I was this guy. Over the past year I went through all of these thoughts, consulted a lot of professionals, and ultimately reneged on an offer – and it could not have gone better. Going through this process taught me a lot and I decided to share with WSO what I learned about accepting a FT offer that you may possibly renege on later.
1. Don't actively apply to everywhere and anywhere.
Be selective. If you've already accepted an offer you have a job, which means you have leverage. Additionally, you don't want to apply to so many places that it somehow gets back to Company A. I took the mentality of waiting for opportunities to come my way through networking, didn't apply anywhere and it worked out well.
2. Do your research on places you interview to make sure they have no connections to Company A.
This goes off of the first point. If the head recruiter for Company A is a recent transfer from another company, chances are good that he/she still talks to the recruiters at that company. No matter how badly you want to work for that company, it is a huge risk to engage in conversations with them because there is a very high chance that they will ask about you. Another thing you need to do is search LinkedIn for possible connections. It is possible that the MD of your group at Company A is best friends with someone at a firm you are looking into. Before you engage in conversations make sure there is no chance of your name coming up in discussions.
3. Make sure everywhere you interview knows you have already accepted an offer.
This is important for a few reasons. First, you don't want them to find out after the fact and then take away your offer because of it. I don't know anyone this has happened to, but have heard some crazy stories. Honesty is always the best policy. Second, telling them you have an offer already shows you are wanted and tells the company you have a certain level of intelligence or work ethic. If Company A gave you a return offer after a, you must be a decent guy. This also helps if there is the potential for salary negotiations and Company A offered you more than a newer offer – most companies will match or beat it if they can.
4. Understand that you may burn a few bridges.
This is one of the most obvious aspects of reneging, but it is also important to remember. Some people at Company A may be very unhappy with you. You need to do what's best for you and shouldn't not renege because you are afraid of hurting someone's feelings. In my case, I still have a good relationship with the people at Company A. Ultimately, most people are going to understand if you handle everything correctly. (See below for how to handle correctly).
5. Carefully evaluate your options and only renege if it is truly a significantly better option.
This is key. If you have an offer at MSand get an offer from , don't renege. I'd like to think this is obvious but I am sure that some people consider doing this or have done this. You should only renege if it is a significantly better opportunity.
Examples of okay to renege are no name boutique to/EB, /MO roles to , etc. If you have mentors in industry or professors that you can talk to about this I would. Those people will do a good job of grounding you and will tell you whether it is an opportunity worth reneging for.
6. When it is time to renege be considerate and friendly, but to the point.
Don't be a dick. When it is time for you to renege, it is almost like breaking up with a long term girlfriend. Especially if it's the spring semester and you accepted back in August. Try to do it in person if you can, but the phone is acceptable too if the person you need to talk to isn't able to meet in person. DO NOT RENEGE THROUGH EMAIL. When you have the conversation, be friendly and talk about the positives of Company A, but say you had an opportunity come to you that you couldn't say no to and are going to have to rescind your acceptances. Get it out there as quickly as possible and don't beat around the bush. You also want to sound confident in your decision. There's a very good chance that Company A will try to talk you into staying with them, but you need to stick to your decision at this point.
7. Never forget that if you want to find something better but don't, you are still in a much better spot than most college graduates.
Lastly, don't stress if you have accepted a return offer but are hoping for something else to come along. If you have a return offer you are in a significantly better spot than the majority of college graduates. If you have your sights on IB but only get a Corp Fin or BO role, work your butt off and good things will come your way. I promise that it'll work out in the end.
Hopefully this is helpful to some of you. I've been a long time reader of WSO and just recently started posting. I figured since this site helped me with my pursuits I'd give back in the only real way I can right now.