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What is Reneging on an Internship Offer?

by | Sep 16, 2021 | Recruiting

You have been offered an internship, congratulations! Getting an offer for an internship is no easy feat. If you accept that first internship offer, then go on and search for another internship, that puts you at risk for reneging on your internship.

What is Reneging?

The dictionary definition of reneging is, “go back on a promise, undertaking, or contract”

In the context of job offers, reneging is when a student (verbally, or written via email, or via contract) accepts a job offer with the first company, called company A, and then they secure a second offer with company B and pull out of the original acceptance with company A. 

So, can you renege on an accepted offer? Short answer, yes. Long answer, it’s complicated. Reneging on an offer comes with potential short and long-term consequences to heavily consider. 

How to Prevent Reneging in the First Place

Two people sitting, looking at a laptop and discussing.
  1. ​If you are hesitant on your first offer, request an offer deadline. 
  2. Work with a career coach to help with decision-making before accepting an offer.
  3. Do not continue your job search, filling out apps and interviews, waiting for a better offer. 

What to Consider Before Reneging

Accepting an offer is a major commitment. Therefore, breaking that commitment is a serious action to take. It should not be taken lightly and you should make an informed decision. While reneging is not illegal, it is highly unethical. 

It will harm your professional reputation. This can have lasting impacts on your future career with career goals and career paths. If you renege on an internship position offer, you will be barred from that company and any sister or parent companies.

Recruiters talk to each other, therefore it may harm your future job search when it comes to full-time offers.  

You may face consequences from campus career centers or career services. Especially if the internship program was found through career fairs, on-campus recruiting, or campus interviews. 

Typically, those consequences involve talking to the director of career services. They will discuss sanctions such as not being allowed to utilize career services programs and counselors and being barred from alumni services. 

The reason why career services take reneging so seriously is that it impacts them directly. If students at a university have a reputation for flaking out on offers, recruiters will not want to work with that university. And that harms all students!

Alternative Options to Reneging

Close up of hands typing on a keyboard.

Right away, if you are hesitant then you should ask for an extension. 

If you have to reject company B, you have options

  1. Keep the door open. Let company B know that you have already accepted other offers, but would love to be considered in the future. Give them a date that you would be open to employment. 
  2. Decline. But, communicate with company B that you would consider them in the long-term future for employment and will keep in touch. 

To learn more about internships, and internship programs, read about them on the Scholars Blog and tune into The Internship Show. 

If you are a company interested in learning how to decrease post-offer turnover, reneging, and make sure candidates stick with your company until their first day, speak to the Scholars Team about our platform. 

Want to learn more about The Great Reneging? Click here.

About Scholars

Scholars helps companies build engaging candidate experiences at scale. Create personalized journeys for all of your candidates from application through onboarding.

About Scholars

Internships and early-career jobs are unlike any others. They are often accepted months, if not years, in advance of the start date leaving plenty of time for candidates to change their minds and decide to work elsewhere, costing your team time and money.

There are two ways that have been proven to decrease renege rates for any company: keeping candidates engaged by sharing personalized information and helping them make connections with their future teammates. Companies use Scholars to accomplish both of these at scale.