What I learned from a last minute rescinded job offer

Hello Elpha community,

I struggled to post about this over the last few days, but decided that I want to share my experience to help others and destigmatize talking about rescinded offers, lay offs etc. I'm going to keep the company and my identity anonymized for now but I'm considering sharing my story more broadly on Linkedin as well if you all think this would be helpful to share more broadly.

In December of 2021, I found a job posting for a great opportunity at a Series B healthcare/"femtech" startup -- it was exactly what I was looking for. After several rounds of interviews, I got the offer in mid Jan and was really excited! However, I did have some doubts about some interactions I had and during the salary negotiation process:

  • Recruiter did not use proper capitalization in her emails; insisted on calling me instead of putting things in email and in one of our early video interviews, was taking the call from her couch in a very casual manner.
  • There were negative reviews on Glassdoor, but it was contained to one department and when I asked my hiring manager about this, she had a reasonable explanation.
  • They mentioned the company was exploring a lot of new areas -- my role would be to help them figure that out -- and that there was definitey a rebranding on the horizon in order to encompass the expanded services the company expects to provide in the future.
  • Many of the leaders and people I spoke with did not have a healthcare background, which is not always a red flag (I've seen that to be the case at much larger companies as well), but it seemed to be somewhat of an "outsider" in what is a fairly insular industry.

I had a job at a great company, with really supportive leadership and struggled with the decision to leave and take this risk. It's always hard to diligence and really get to know a company, especially in the startup world. I chalked up this feeling I had in my gut as fear -- fear of taking a risk in my career, fear of not being great at the job, fear of finding out weeks later that those negative Glassdoor reviews were true afterall -- so I talked myself out of this fear and pumped myself up for a new challenge.

I ultimately decided to accept, but my start date wasn't for 2 months later (for a variety of reasons I can't get into). I was actually able to move the start date up by a week and confirmed with HR and my hiring manager about 3 weeks ahead of the start date & they said it was fine. So I gave notice, served out my remaining 2 weeks and the company began the onboarding process. I was set to start on a Monday. On the Thursday before, 4 hrs after getting off the phone with HR about picking up my work laptop, got a call back telling me that because the company was going in a new direction, I no longer had a job and this job was eliminated in order to reallocate resources.

Today would have been my 2nd day at the company and I am still in shock over what happened.

I share this to simply tell everyone to trust your gut. We'll never know enough to determine if the company is doing well or growing, but we can use our judgement of people and character to tell if a company is going to treat its people with respect and dignity. I asked all the right quesitons, asked to meet with more people at the company (even tried to find my own connections to ask current employees about the company) and asked candid/tough questions about the direction of the company. Ultimately a company is made up of people and the people at the top really create the culture and determines its values and priorities. The actions of this company tells me that they put profits before and at the expense of people. I can only hope that if employees of this company find themselves wronged, as I have, they stand up for themselves and know that they're not alone.

I hope this never happens to anyone in this community, but if it does my advice is to:

  • Get legal representation before signing any kind of termination or release agreement
  • Lean on your friends, family, and community
  • Meditate, time time off, and clear your head about what your priorities and values are. In time, you may find that there are more opportunities out there for you and that you are worthy and deserving of more.
Ughh!! I’m so sorry that happened to you. Something similar happened to me a few years back and it absolutely crushed me. It sent me into a spiral about everything I did wrong to make them “not want me anymore.” Looking back now, years later, I can agree with you that trusting my guy would have been the thing to do because I definitely had flags as well. Sometimes you’re just so desperate for that new thing, that change you need, that it makes you blind to it. Wishing you luck finding the next new thing - I’m certain you’ll find something WAY better.
Oh this is such an awful situation for you, I am so sorry and it still naturally sounds so very raw. I would like, if I may, just to share a thought. I totally agree with your sentiment about trusting your gut and what I am about to say is not in any way contradicting that. What I’d like to say also is that sometimes things simply are outside of your control and I just sense somewhat that you are beating yourself up over this, that “I should have trusted my gut” is leaning into holding yourself culpable in some way. I would really like to encourage you, when you are ready, to say that you made the best decision you could at the time with the information you had at the time. I hope that sounds OK? And it may be too soon. But, sometimes, taking that leap turns out to be the right decision. And if I’m even more brave, (again, maybe too soon?) but the company who pulled the offer possibly have to make some very tough decisions for their survival. What they did to you was totally not right for you, but it might be right for someone else. I hope you don’t mind me saying that as it may help by looking at the larger picture that it wasn’t personal to you, it is that the landscape shifted and they needed someone else. Above all, I’m so sorry for what you are going through
This sounds awful and sorry this happened to you but it really sounds like you dodged a bullet here. If this is the way they operate from a recruiting perspective, you can only imagine what it's like actually working there. Great advice - trust your gut (which is something I need to practice more!).