You’ve been applying for multiple jobs. You completed a rigorous interview process. And you finally got yourself a job offer.
However, after you accepted the job offer, you haven’t heard back from the company.
Panic sets in and you’re not sure what to do or what it means.
To that end, this article is going to discuss what it means if you accepted a job offer but haven’t heard back and offer recommendations on what to do.
How Long Does It Take to Hear Back After Accepting a Job Offer?
In my experience, you will generally hear back within one business day after accepting a job offer.
In fact, at the time of writing this article, I just accepted a new job offer and heard back from the company on the same day.
Now, that is just my own personal experience. I did some research and tried to find some third party data to answer this question but couldn’t find much of anything.
So, take that with a grain of salt but that’s my own personal experience three job changes over the course of my career.
Can a Job Back Out of an Accepted Offer?
Yes, in general, a job can back out of an accepted offer.
The reason is because most jobs are “at will,” meaning that the employer or employee can terminate the relationship at any time.
In general, “at will” employment also applies to job offers as well, meaning that either party can terminate the relationship even at the job offer stage.
That said, in some states, the company may be liable if they offered you a job and you put in notice with your current employer. That’s because it costs you money in the form of lost income because you quit your job and a company could be held liable for that in some cases.
However, that isn’t true across the board so be sure to check your own states laws around that.
For more of a legal perspective on this question, take a look at this article from The National Law Review.
What To Do If You Accepted a Job Offer But Haven’t Heard Back?
1. Wait to Put In Notice With Your Current Employer
If you accepted a job offer, and are worried that you haven’t heard back from your employer yet, I would recommend waiting to put in your notice with your current employer if you can.
Depending upon how long it’s been since you’ve heard from the new company, there’s a good chance that there’s no reason for concern. However, if you’re worried about it, waiting to inform your employer helps to protect you from significant downside if there are any issues with the offer.
2. Get the Job Offer in Writing and Signed By Both Parties
I always recommend getting a job offer in writing and signed by both parties before putting in your notice with your employer.
It helps to document all of the details of what has been agreed to and ensure that all parties are bought in on the specifics of an offer at the company.
As an example, I just signed an offer with a new company. I was a bit anal about documenting all aspects of the offer and didn’t tell my employer until I signed.
Honestly, I felt like I was annoying the other company because of it but, then, after all of the terms had been agreed to, I had signed it, and it went to their CEO for final signature, he wanted to remove a particular stipend that was included in the offer.
Now, it was a minor part of the offer and, while I was disappointed, it wasn’t a deal breaker for me. But I share that story to share that even though we had agreed to everything, there was still a last minute change to the offer before it was signed. In my case, it was a minor one, but there was potential that it could have been significant.
At the end of the day, I felt validated that I wanted everything documented and signed before I put in my notice.
So, if you haven’t heard back, haven’t gotten the offer in writing, and haven’t told your employer that you’re leaving, I would suggest requesting the offer in writing and to be signed and counter signed before putting in your notice.
And I would suggest that you push on that, even if they want to keep it informal and just give you a job offer over the phone.
3. Wait One – Two Business Days
Before panicking about a lack of communication from the employer, I would recommend waiting one – two full business days before following up with the company.
If you haven’t heard after that point, you can follow up with the appropriate contacts from the company to confirm that they received the details and that everything is squared away.
4. Follow Up With HR
If it’s been one – two business days and you haven’t heard back, I would start by following up with your contact in HR.
Send them a short note to check in to confirm that they received your acceptance and that everything is still good to go.
If you don’t have a formal offer letter from them, I would recommend requesting one and getting it signed and counter signed once you hear back.
5. Follow Up With the Hiring Manager
If you reached out to HR, and don’t hear back from them for another one – two business days, I would then recommend reaching out directly to the hiring manager to check in.
If the hiring manager also ghosts you for a couple of days, that’s the point where I would start to get a little concerned and pick up the phone to call and check in.
If you made it all the way through the interview process, received a job offer that you’re excited about, only to not hear back after you accepted, it’s understandable to be concerned.
Fortunately, there’s generally no reason to worry, particularly if you have a signed and counter signed offer letter.
If you find yourself in that position, follow the steps recommended in this article and hopefully everything will turn out great.