The world and beyond – Surviving in the economic jungle

Advice, tips and tricks on how to engage with the UK jobs market and commercial environment, from a female executive's perspective

Complications after accepting a job offer? Guide to #job hunting

with one comment

FailRecently, Anthony commented on my blog post about job offers with his story:

“I recently had an interview with a company for a vacancy advertised, which occurred a couple of days after having fallen off a ladder and injuring my leg while doing a chore at home. I was succesful at interview and at the end of the interview I had shown them the swelling to my leg. The following day, the agency confirmed that the company I had the interview with was very impressed with my interview and offered me the job, which I verbally accepted over the phone. I received a letter from the agency confirming my start date and time with the company for the permanent position. Over the weekend before I was due to start my leg injury worsened so that I could not walk on my leg, and by Sunday night I was in pain all night. My wife took me to hospital early Monday morning. We finally managed to leave the hospital and be home by Midday, which meant I missed the start time of my new job for 9am. But my wife visited the company on her way to work and told them about my problem. They advised it should all be fine and okay to start in a weeks time, in accordance with the advice of the hospital to rest the leg for that minimum period of time. However, I discovered almost at the end of the week that the company had in fact filled the position with another candidate supplied by the agency and had withdrawn their offer to me. I was grossly unhappy at this decision, and the agency advised me that as I did not email or phone them on the Sunday or Monday whilst at hospital, the position was then given to someone else.”

My point of view

The problem here is communication.

When accepting the job offer verbally and agreeing a start date and time, Anthony had entered into a legally binding contract with the employer. This contract is equally binding to both parties. It is equally as important for the company to conform (By paying the agreed salary, offering the agreed terms, etc) as it is for Anthony to keep to his part of the deal (Arrive on the agreed start date and time, do the job as best he can, etc.)

Anthony’s injury made it impossible for him to deliver his end of the bargain, and this put his contract at risk. If he called the company BEFORE the agreed date and time to let them know of his problem, they would probably have been very amenable to postponing it. The agency should have been instrumental in this – After all, they facilitated the contract. However, if the agency didn’t know about his problem then they would of course assume that everything was fine, given the short time scales. Anthony’s failure in communicating his problem in time meant that he broke the contract by not arriving as contractually agreed. The fact that he sent his wife to sort it out later probably added insult to injury – The company employed Anthony, not his wife!

There also seems to be a lack of communication on the part of the agency, who obviously knew that the offer was being withdrawn without communicating this clearly to Anthony. As for the employer: they acted in good faith by making the offer because they had a business problem to solve, and they needed a person in the job. Regardless of the reason why, the fact that Anthony did not arrive on time and then also did not advise them BEFORE THE EVENT of his problem, would have tainted their view of him. They acted fully within their rights, as long as they withdrew the contract officially.


  • An employment contract is equally binding on both parties. If you want the job, you have to honour your part of the deal
  • The interview process really only finishes at the end of your probationary period. UK Employment Law favours the employer during the first year of your employment, or whatever probationary period is agreed in the contract. Until then, you are at risk of the contract being terminated through notice if you do not deliver what you agreed to deliver. Equally, you can terminate the contract by resigning if you do not feel satisfied with everything.
  • If you are serious about working for a company, it is vital to establish a good and respectful relationship. Dealing with problematic situations is a good measure of a person’s ability to organise, control and manage themselves. If you create a wrong impression when something goes wrong, all the good things you did during the interview will be negated.
  • Communicate all the time. Build a positive relationship with your Recruiter. They want you to do well and will help you when problems arise, but they can only help if they know what is going on. Likewise, if you have a long notice period, keep in touch to let them know everything is okay. Communication channels can never be too open!
  • If things do go wrong, handle them yourself. Getting wives and family members involved is a sure fire way of losing respect with your prospective employer.




Written by Cathy Richardson

August 11, 2014 at 10:37 am

One Response

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  1. Dear Cathy,

    Thank you for your reply and I note that I have no rights on this occasion.

    It would have been good if the agency had told me just as quicly as they replaced me. Simply they had no intention of telling me they had even when I spoke to them or that because I failed to start the job for the fact I was in Pain and unable to walk which they knew of my fall before the interview, they also had decided that they were not going to continue to seek analternative position for me there or any other company. Still I may just as well go and sign on and claim benefit which so far I have chose not to do for the 6 months I have been unemployed.


    Anthony Cameron

    Anthony Cameron

    March 20, 2012 at 10:58 am

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