I have a job offer from an audit firm which I have to accept or reject in the next day or so. At the same time, I am 98% sure I will receive a better one from a large financial services institution. I have already handed in my notice at my current employer. My questions are as follows (this is really urgent, please do reply within the next 12/18 hrs):
1) If I accept the offer from the auditing firm and renege on it later (could only be a week or so later), does it constitute breach of contract? What are all the possible follow-on effects from a legal point of view?
2) Is there a difference between an employment contract and an offer of employment?
3) How likely is it that i) the audit firm will seek legal action (and what kind would it be), and ii) reneging on this offer would jeopardise my potential other employment offer?
4) There was a headhunter involved in finding the offer at the audit firm; does that change any of the above answers?
5) Given we are talking about employment in the financial services sector, would reneging on the offer have any implications or consequences in terms of "character" or otherwise impair fitness for any professional roles?
6) How would you assess the risk of such a move (e.g. 1-10), and how could I mitigate it?
I am trying to "play by the book" in every way I can, but unfortunately found myself in a bit of a corner now. Your advice will be greatly valued. Thanks.