It’s always an honor to be considered for a job opportunity, but sometimes you may find that the offer isn’t a right fit for you.
So when this happens, how do you turn it down in a polite, respectful, and professional manner?
According to experts, here are tips to politely decline a job offer, along with some helpful examples.
With people leaving jobs each month, unemployment at an 18-year, and companies clamoring to staff positions, you may need to turn down a job.
Don’t tarnish the “buzz” about you in the marketplace or damage future possibilities by being complacent with how you say, “thanks, but no thanks.”
Think of the golden and platinum rule
Common sense isn’t always common practice. The Golden Rule’s “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” guiding principle implies using respect, honesty, and fairness.
- Not ghosting the hiring manager
- Being prompt and personal with your reply
- Make a connection even though you’re turning down the offer
As with personal dating, skillfully and courteously declining an offer:
- Generates a positive reputation
- Maintains your self-respect
- Honors a hiring manager
The Platinum Rule of “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them” means it’s also important to consider each individual’s situation and adapt this article’s guidelines to fit the person and your experience with them.
Apply the “P.O.L.I.T.E.” formula
There are wrinkles depending on the offer and context, but here are the common elements of a telephone-based or emailed polite decline.
P — Point
Don’t waste their time more than they’ve invested, and don’t keep them hanging. They need to move on to another candidate.
Be prompt with your reply and get to the point––you’re declining their offer.
Don’t be ambiguous, but try to soften the blow with qualifiers, such as:
- “after careful consideration“
- “difficult decision“
O — Opportunity option
Don’t stress what’s wrong with the offer. Focus on how you “have an opportunity that fits more” with your “career goals” or “job aspirations.”
Staying general versus getting into the weeds avoids “dissing” the person or company. Don’t risk their planting negative “seeds” about you into the corporate grapevine.
Sharing negative reasons like:
- Job load
maybe in your “honesty DNA,” but it can backfire into resentment or their offering adjustments. Unless that’s your goal, now you must say “no” yet again.
L — Likes
Generously cite a job or company factors that you admire. Without being disingenuous, reference something positive about the interview experience or the job’s assets (e.g., mission, culture, task, benefits, etc.).
It doesn’t mean you’re ignoring the downsides; you’re just not focusing on them. Not saying everything on your mind is not the same as lying.
I — Invite future contact
You can’t predict the future, so voice the possibility for future collaboration.
For example: “My situation could change; I hope my decision doesn’t eliminate future potential.“
Invite ongoing contact via LinkedIn or email. Also, offer other assistance:
- Networking to candidates
- Referring business
- Speaking positively about them
T — Thanks
Voice appreciation for the opportunity and the company’s investment of time, energy, and expertise.
E — Express empathy and goodwill
Acknowledge any regret for the inconvenience you may have caused and wish them well in their search.
Executive Coach and Biz Consultant
Leave those you talk to with a good impression
Like Winston Churchill said, “Tact is being able to tell someone to go to Hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.“
When you’ve accepted another offer/changed your mind
Generally speaking, when turning down a job offer, you want to be gracious and grateful. This isn’t about people-pleasing but leaving those you talk to with a good impression.
Related: How to Respond to a Job Offer
After all, you never know if there will come a day when you see a future opportunity with that employer or you run into the same person at a different company down the line.
That can sound like:
“Wow! Thank you so much for the opportunity, but, unfortunately, I’ll need to decline. I loved getting to know you/everyone through the process, but (and then you state your reason) I’ve already accepted a competing offer at [company]” or
“I’ve done some reflection since we spoke, and I’ve decided to pursue a different career path.“
Communicate firmness respectfully
When they won’t meet your minimum salary requirement after negotiating
However, sometimes you don’t want to leave the door open for future opportunities or conversations. In that case, you also need to communicate firmness respectfully.
“I greatly appreciate your offer and your willingness to engage in a conversation about the salary. That alone means so much to me.
However, based on my experience and the research I’ve done for the position, I’m not comfortable accepting anything lower than $XX,XXX. I’m sorry to turn down what sounds like a fantastic opportunity with [company].
Thank you for taking the time to get to know me. I enjoyed getting to know you and the staff as well. I’m confident you’ll find the perfect addition to your team. If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know!“
What to say after a disrespectful interview
If you’ve got an offer following a nightmare interview like when I was forced to wait for an hour in a dark waiting room after 5 p.m.
They asked why they should bother considering me when all the other applicants had better grades than me and asked questions with offensive hypothetical scenarios that played on racial stereotypes.
Here’s the answer you can give them:
“I appreciate the offer, but after my interview, I didn’t feel like [Company] would be a good match for what I’m looking to get from this next career transition. I wish you the best in finding the right candidate for the role.”
This is basically the professional way of saying, “I’m just not feeling any chemistry,” which no one can argue against. As much as you might want to tell them off and explain why you don’t want to work there, it likely won’t change anything.
This allows you to bow out in a professional way but closes the door to any arguing or questions about why you don’t want to accept.
If they do ask, you can say, “I wish I had some more concrete feedback, but I didn’t feel like it was a good match for me.“
Then you can write an anonymous review on Glassdoor about your interview experience and unleash it.
Founder and CEO, SwingSearch
Make sure they understand you were serious about evaluating the opportunity
When declining a job offer, you thank them for their time and always want to keep the door open.
Make sure they understand you really were serious about evaluating the opportunity as your next career move and were not “shopping around,” as that leaves a bad impression in the panel’s minds.
You never know if the person who interviewed you could be on your next interview panel with another company or even the hiring exec/leader themselves.
Always do what you can to help yourself with potential opportunities for the future, and do not burn bridges.
It is also essential to always follow up with “thank yous” with everyone you interviewed so that they can feel that their time was valued.
Keep the energy of future connections possible, and decline with integrity. Your integrity in handling something is the only capital you carry from job to job, and how an employee starts is just as important as how an employee leaves.
We have seen many reasons why someone has declined a job offer, like:
- The hiring manager didn’t align with them
- The candidate’s interview experience was poor and created red flags
- Compensation/equity and benefits were not attractive or at the market rate
Of them all, there have been two reasons that have stood out:
- The first one being it’s not the right time in their personal life for a career move. The timing in someone’s personal life really matters.
We recently had someone decline because she was about to begin IVF, and the timing wasn’t right for her to accept the new role.
This type of self-awareness from a candidate we commend!
- The other reason that has stood out is they’ve been given more opportunities and a raise at their existing employer.
This is called “golden handcuffs,” where they gave notice or spoke to someone regarding their status, and the employer was able to fix the situation.
This only sometimes works out, but typically the issues that made the employee start looking in the first place continue to be present. Plus, they often will then have a “target on their back” as someone prepared to leave.
Other times, they continue happily, and their decision was good, though usually, this isn’t always the case.
Recruiter | Leader, USScrapYard
Always end on good terms
Getting a job offer is very exciting news, but sometimes it can arrive at the wrong time or doesn’t have the benefits one can be asking for.
But it is very important in either case to politely reply even if one intends to decline the job offer because you’d never know when you might need to contact them again if the day comes and you’d need the job.
A polite reply to declining a job should mainly consist of three parts:
- A “thank you” for the offer
- An explanation of why you can’t take up the offer at the moment (where you can show your work values)
- Keeping the door open for any prospect of working together
So a good reply to decline a job offer should always end on good terms and keep the door open for future communication.
It can go something like this:
“I thank you for the offer you have sent, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity. But unfortunately, this isn’t the best time for me to leave my current employment as I am handling several projects at the time being.
And I wouldn’t want to leave without being able to properly end on good terms with my current employer, nor do the existing business I am working at any kind of misfortune with my departure.
However, I truly hope to discuss the offer at a more suitable time soon, as this would be a great opportunity for me personally, allowing me to move forward in my career.
Looking forward to staying in touch.“
Recruiter and Career Coach, JobzHut
Explain as clearly as possible
While getting offered your dream job is exciting, it doesn’t always mean you have to accept it immediately.
During my career, I received a job offer from a great company, which I very much liked. The offer was for a more than reasonable salary in my current position, but it wasn’t the one I wanted. So I decided to decline that offer.
Here are the ways to politely decline a job offer that I used:
- Be grateful and appreciative: Try to be grateful by saying that you are happy in your current role and love the company. You can also express your appreciation for the opportunity to consider their offer.
- Explain a brief reason: This is the best way to decline if you have a compelling reason. A good reason could be that you don’t want to:
- leave your current place of work
- are looking for a new job
- or have an upcoming appointment.
It’s essential to explain the reason behind your decision as clearly as possible and make sure you don’t sound like you’re trying to avoid the employer.
- Do keep in touch: This is also essential as it ensures you don’t lose touch with the company. Get in touch with them when you’re ready to make your next move, and let them know that you’d be happy to work with them in the future.
Sample Email: When wages don’t meet your expectations
I am very thankful for giving me the opportunity to work at [Company] as [Job Title].
I very much appreciate you having a conversation with me about what my salary expectations should be, but the position does not pay enough to meet my living expenses, so I must respectfully decline.
I wish you all of the best in finding someone who can accept your offer and work with you for many years to come.
Sample Email: When you’re interested in the role— but not the company
I am extremely grateful for your offer as [Job Title]. The role itself and my interest in it are both excellent. It would be hard for me to say no. After careful consideration, I have decided that your company is not right for me at this time.
I want to thank you again for considering me as a candidate and wish you all of the best in finding an ideal candidate.
Mention the things that resonated with you
When declining a job offer, it’s always best to be polite, complementary, and direct. I’m personally a huge fan of doing so face to face or on the phone.
Let’s break this down into actual steps:
- First, thank them for this opportunity–the interview, the time to meet with you, and to extend this opportunity to you.
- Second, mention the things that resonated with you and that you are grateful for, i.e., the staff, the manager, the work environment, etc.
- Third, in a warm but firm tone, a brief explanation of why you are turning down the offer.
- Fourth, end by gracefully asking them to please send a warm thank you to everyone that participated.
Here is a good example:
“Your company’s mission, values, and purpose did resonate with me deeply. However, I did receive another offer that, at this time, is in line with my career goals.
Please send my gratitude to the staff.”
This method keeps doors open for the future, and you never know who you will meet down the road. Stay classy and come from an attractive state with amazing appreciation. Trust me, from experience; it will do you wonders.
Executive Coach and Speaker
Remove your emotions from your response to provide an unemotional response
After going through an extensive interview process and learning that the job salary offered to me was too low, I was very upset.
However, instead of immediately following through with my emotions, I took a step back, thought about what to say, and respectfully declined the offer.
If you see that the job offer wasn’t the desired starting salary you wanted, let yourself feel the disappointment of not getting the income you deserve. Then, remove your emotions from your response to provide an unemotional response instead of a negative one.
Some ways to politely decline is to say how the job doesn’t meet your salary requirements at this time or the culture is not a good fit.
Related: How to Negotiate a Salary Offer
Stick to the facts about why it’s not a good fit, but be respectful to the hiring manager, so you don’t burn any bridges.
After you’ve declined the job, create a plan to help you move on and find another job. During this process, it’s important to know that it doesn’t matter how many degrees or how many titles you’ve held over your career.
If you’re going after your next level of fabulosity, it’s human to doubt yourself whenever you encounter a job offer that doesn’t fit your goals and to wonder if you can do better. Try not to let that job get in the way of you pursuing bigger opportunities.
Recruitment Manager, Financer.com
Remain professional and courteous
If you have been offered a job and you have decided that it is not the right fit for you, the best way to politely decline the offer is to follow these steps:
- Thank the interviewer for their time and offer to follow up in the future.
- Explain that you are not interested in the position and thank them for their offer.
- Include any constructive feedback that you have about the job or the company.
- Say that you hope they find someone else who is a better fit for the position.
- Close with a final message of thanks.
When declining a job offer, it is vital to remain professional and courteous. By following these steps, you will make it clear that you are not interested in the position and that you would appreciate it if they would not contact you again.
Here’s an example template:
“Dear [Recruiter name],
I greatly appreciate your offer for the [job position]. I learned a lot about your company and the team during the process.
However, I regret to say that I will be declining the offer. [State your reason/s]
I hope you find the right person for the job and I hope we meet again in the future.
Associate Director, VIQU
Communication is the key
Depending on the situation, declining a job offer can be deemed quite daunting, whether from a recruiter or a candidate’s perspective. However, it shouldn’t be.
Post-Covid has been a time of change for the job market; the balance between candidates and clients has shifted, which means that companies have to work a lot harder and offer more to attract talent.
Employers must remember that priorities have changed, and if the opportunity does not meet these needs, the candidate may decline the offer.
This is okay. It’s okay to say no.
Why? First and foremost, it’s essential to understand the reason for declining the offer.
The candidate might say no due to:
- The inability to work five days a week
- A better salary offer at another firm
- Or maybe they’ve attended the interview and realized that the role isn’t as expected or the culture fit isn’t right (remember, an interview is a two-way street!)
These are some of the most common reasons for a job offer being declined:
- Cultural fit
- Better offer elsewhere
- Role function is not what the candidate expected
Whatever the reason, it is always good to explain to the hiring manager/recruiter why the offer was declined.
It’s important to remember that while the candidate might be interviewing for multiple roles, the hiring manager will also be meeting with multiple candidates.
There will always be parties that are disappointed with the outcome they were hoping for. However, it is essential to note that it is not personal; the candidate needs to consider their career and livelihood, making the right decision for them. As such, it’s okay to say no.
By explaining why the job offer is not suitable, the candidate gives the hiring manager an invaluable insight into what other candidates might be looking for, which may assist them in their next recruitment drive.
It allows the client to understand where they might be falling short in terms of benefits compared to their competitors or perhaps where they are letting themselves down at the interview stage.
There is also the chance that being honest could open up negotiation channels or prevent a lot of time from being wasted later on down the line.
For example, I had a candidate whose personal circumstances changed throughout the recruitment process, and could not do five days a week after being offered the role.
She originally declined the offer and braced herself to start the job search again. However, after speaking with her and the client, we were able to execute a plan where she instead worked three days a week remotely. Again, that communication is key!
When the offer is declined, it is down to the candidate to conduct themselves politely, showing the hiring manager respect. You never know, they may be the hiring manager for another role in the future!
Senior Job Data Content Producer, Virtual Vocations
Express that it isn’t the best fit for you
Accepting an offer for a job that isn’t right for you could lead to long-term negative career impacts that impede your professional journey and diminish your career confidence.
Our Career Confidence Survey found that nearly four in 10 workers (37%) have stayed in a job they knew wasn’t right for them because they weren’t confident enough to submit their resignation.
What’s more, 42% said the biggest downside to low career confidence is the prospect of staying too long in the wrong job.
Learning how to decline a job offer politely is the best prevention for avoiding a scenario that sees you working too long in a job that doesn’t match your career goals.
Here is an example of how to politely decline a job offer you know isn’t the best fit for you:
“Dear Mr./Ms. [Contact Last Name],
Thank you for offering me the [Position Title] job with [Company Name]. I have enjoyed getting to know you and your team during this process and admire the important work you do.
Unfortunately, I have decided not to accept the position. Upon reflection and careful review of the offer, I determined that it does not fit within my current career path and five-year career goals.
While I regret that it didn’t work out, allow me to express my gratitude for your generosity and transparency during the hiring process. I know you will find the right person for the role, and I wish you well in your candidate search.
HR Specialist, Fit Small Business
Be honest about your reasons
If you’ve been offered a job and decide that you do not wish to pursue the opportunity, there are a few polite ways to decline.
Start by letting the company know that you appreciate the offer, and make sure to let the person who specifically offered you the position understand why you’re declining.
Be honest about your reasons—if they understand, they may still want to keep in touch.
Some examples of ways to craft a job offer decline include:
- “Thank you for the opportunity to become a part of the XX team at XYZ company. However, I cannot accept the position as I have taken another option at this time. I wish your company continued success.“
- “I appreciate the opportunity to work with XYZ company; however, at this time, I must decline your job offer. I do not feel that I have the skills or experience to perform this role successfully. Should you have any future opportunities that better match my qualifications, I would be happy to discuss them with you at your convenience.“
- “Thank you for offering me the position at your company. I have carefully considered the opportunity and have decided that it is not the right fit for me at this time. I wish you the best in your search for the right candidate.“
Manager, PEO Companies
Prioritize the situation and do it quickly
Hiring and making job offers is part of my job as an HR manager for a company that helps businesses find PEO solutions. One of my pet peeves is when I make a job offer, and the person either takes a very long time to decline my offer or, even worse, I never hear from them at all.
One of the best ways to be polite when declining a job offer is to do it quickly. This gives the person making the offer the freedom to look for someone else to make an offer to sooner.
When you receive a job offer, make time to consider it and make a decision and then share that decision with the person who made the offer as soon as possible.
This simple act of prioritizing the situation and getting a quick response is incredibly helpful for employers looking to fill empty positions.
VP Strategy and Coaching Services, Intoo
Make it about you
When declining a job offer, you never want to make it about the company that made the offer. Instead, make it about your own career goals and what you need right now at this stage of your professional development.
Keep the door open by letting the employer know you were honored to receive the offer and that you’d like to remain in touch.
If your reason for declining the offer is purely financial—assuming you tried unsuccessfully to negotiate the salary—let them know that while you’re excited to join the organization, at this time, you’re unable to accept an offer less than your required amount.
Ricardo Luís Von Groll
Content Manager, Talentify
Show that you respect the recruiter who sent you the job offer
The answer may sound a little complex, but it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Just be honest and show that you respect the recruiter who sent you the job offer.
But first, it is best to think carefully about your decision and prepare your speech not to miss the mark. There are several reasons to reject a job offer.
Find some of them below:
- The position does not fit your professional goals.
- You don’t identify with the company.
- The salary and perks are not adequate.
- You have a better offer.
In the times of the “Great Resignation,” the job market is extremely competitive, and qualified and competent professionals with proven experience are increasingly valued.
Therefore, given the relative scarcity of work hand in certain areas, it is not uncommon for companies to seek candidates out to hire them.
But leaving a company to accept a competitor’s offer is not always a good option when there are great prospects in view at the current company. Therefore, a rejection letter of a job offer helps keep the door open with the company you rejected.
Find a good email or/and letter sample below:
“Dear (Recruiter’s name)
I am honored by your offer to join the staff of this company in the position of (inform). Considering the quality and talent of the team and the good reputation of (company name), I think this is a great opportunity.
However, I am fully committed to the projects being developed by (company name) and cannot abandon my present obligations.
Therefore, I see no alternative but to decline such a generous offer, for which I am deeply grateful.
I hope that future opportunities, under other circumstances, can be taken.
I renew my ties of high esteem and consideration.
Senior Editor, Tandem
Reply nicely and honestly explain things
Though declining a job offer can sometimes seem tricky, there are some general rules you can follow.
First and foremost, be polite when you decline a job offer. The famous phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” does not only refer to the people you are familiar with. This also extends to people that a job offer or might know.
Maybe you are declining the job due to your salary requirements, and this person knows of another position with another company that might be a better fit. You’ll want to leave a good impression on this person to make them more inclined to pass your information to someone else.
Similarly, though you might be declining the offer now, things can (and often do) change at a moment’s notice.
If you decide you want to apply for the same, or a similar, job again, you’ll want to ensure that they have left the door open for you.
Being honest doesn’t mean being aggressive, wordy, or rude. But if you are honest with the person who offers you a job, they might be able to learn from the experience.
Maybe the job that they advertised doesn’t match the job description. If you nicely and honestly explain this to them, they might be able to tweak their job posting.
Ultimately, it might save them (the hiring company) and potential employees from wasting anyone’s time. More likely than not, they will appreciate your candor.
It can be hard to turn someone down. Do you remember the first time you broke up with someone? It might have felt uncomfortable, and turning down a job offer can feel somewhat similar.
Though you might want to put off telling the employer that you will not be accepting the position, this is not advisable.
In the same way that you would like to know, right away, if you have gotten a job, the employer would like to see if you will accept their offer within a reasonable amount of time.
After all, if you don’t take the job, they will want to move on to their next candidate swiftly.
When you decline a job offer politely, honestly, and in a timely manner, you are helping everyone involved. And later on, when you “have the shoe on the other foot” and are doing the hiring for a company, you will appreciate all those times that you politely declined jobs.
CEO, First Day
Part with the employer on a friendly note
Declining a job offer is bound to sit unfavorably with any employer, whether you like it or not.
The employer spends hours and hours interviewing numerous candidates to find the right one, and when the chosen candidate turns down the job offer, it obviously is a waste of resources and is bound to not sit right with them.
However, what you can do is decline the job offer in a way that not only lets you move on to do what you have decided but also lets you part with the employer on a friendly note.
Here are a few helpful tips to decline a job offer politely:
Send them a polite email
When you decide to turn down the job offer, send the employer an email as soon as possible to let them know. They will appreciate your prompt response, and even if they try to persuade you to reconsider, they will value this gesture of mutual respect.
Make a call
It’s preferable to call the employer or hiring manager to tell them that you have chosen to refuse the job offer.
They deserve the call because they have invested time and resources to hire the perfect candidate. Making the call will reflect positively on your professional ethic.
Be grateful and be polite
Use professional language and show your gratitude for being offered the job regardless of how you feel about it.
Refer someone you know
If you know someone with the same expertise and years of experience as you, it’s preferable if you offer to share a referral to save the employer’s time and resources in trying to hire a new candidate all over again.
Your reason for refusal could be anything. It could be that the employer is offering a low salary or you found a better opportunity. In such a case, you can still turn down the offer politely.
“I want to thank you for taking the time to consider me for the position. After much deliberation, I’ve accepted a position with another organization.
Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me and for thinking about me for this position. I wish you luck in your search for a suitable applicant for the post.
Once again, thank you for your time and attention.”
Managing Director and CEO, WebSpero Solutions
Don’t let the organization wait for your reply
If you didn’t like the job offer, just be honest and don’t let the organization wait for your reply. Immediately after making your mind respond to them, honesty will take you a long way and build stronger connections with HRs, employers, and hiring managers.
So here are a few examples of gracefully saying no to a job offer.
I am very grateful to you for offering me the position of [name of the designation]. I really appreciate how you and your staff members made me comfortable throughout the hiring process. But with a heavy heart, I would like to inform you that I will not be able to accept the offer due to the salary presented.
I wish good luck to the company and hope to work with you in the future.
Once again, thank you for your kind consideration.
Thank you for considering me for the designation of [name of the job profile]. From the bottom of my heart, I want to oblige you for the valuable time and efforts that you shared with me.
Unfortunately, I will turn down the offer because it doesn’t align with the growth and learnings that I want to be part of.
But I will definitely like to work in your company in the future; till then, keep rising and shining. Once again, thank you for your valuable contemplation.
Head of Growth, Yotta
Be mindful of what you reveal
Hiring managers don’t like to feel as though their time is wasted.
You should speak to that when you craft a letter stating that you’re passing on a job opportunity. If you’re not taking a job because you got a better offer elsewhere or your current employer offered you more to stay, then be sure to state that.
If you’re not taking a job because you have doubts about it, be mindful of what you reveal. Less is better in that instance.
In every case, point out that you were appreciative of being considered and mention something specific about what you liked about the experience of being a candidate for that particular job. Show them that you took the process seriously.
Employers regularly tell candidates they passed on that they went with someone who was a “better fit.”
“I wasn’t certain that we’d be a perfect match” is an easy way to phrase it. Be sure to convey that message if you’re the one who is turning them down.
Again, if there is something specific that the hiring manager said or did that gave you second thoughts, there’s no good reason to express that. There is no point in airing or disclosing something critical. It will only make the rejection feel worse.
In my cover letter, I always state that I’m happy with the job I have. After making that point, I add, “Only a terrific opportunity would take me away.” Whenever I pass on an offer, I refer to that part of my cover letter.
“I have been very happy at my current job, and I feel I still have more to offer and more to accomplish here. Thank you so much for considering me.”
That could make the bitter pill easier to swallow for them.
Be sure about your decision and wish them well
I have prior experience with the HR department and have witnessed all sorts of behavior. Some candidates are eager to get a job, while the offer does not have much value for some.
It is essential and highly appreciated for an employee to reply to an email if they are accepted; similarly, a company needs to inform each candidate if they have made it or not.
It is usual for candidates to apply to more than one company to keep options open. If you have received more than one job offer and have decided, you must politely decline the other offer.
However, you must be sure about your decision.
Typically an email is constructed that says:
I want to thank you very much for offering me the (position) at (company). As delighted as I am to receive the news, I regret to inform you that I have accepted an offer at another company.
I wish you all the best in future endeavors, and I hope you find the best fit for the job.
Regards (your name).”
Another way to reject an offer is to inform them about the news via phone call, but that is best only if the company has reached out to you on the same medium of communication.
Again, wish them well and tell them you will suggest a recommendation for the best candidate.
If you are rejecting an offer because the salary they offered is not satisfactory or the work conditions are not safe, you may write back to them. Convey your concerns and that you may only be able to accept the offer if the offer you made can be considered.
If they refuse, thank them for the response and tell them that you cannot accept the offer and wish them well.
Make up your mind. The first thing that you want to do is to sort everything out. Sometimes while we are declining a job offer, we are not 100% sure that we want to say no. You must have the resolve to say no before actually dropping an offer.
To do this, list all of the reasons you wouldn’t want to accept the offer and list the reasons that can make you accept the offer. This way, you can weigh whether the benefits outweigh the sacrifices.
You must also include the anxiety it will cause you or if it is too bad for your mental health by just declining an offer.
Explain your reasons thoroughly
You must explain your reasons. The hiring process is no joke. It takes so much time just to get to the interview portion, so they deserve to have a valid explanation from you.
Your reasons must be well-stated so that they can easily understand the reason behind your rejection.
Recommend another person you think is fit for the job
This is not so common, but if you try to decline an offer, you can recommend another person you think is fit for the job. You will not lose anything by doing this. All you can gain are benefits.
Your friend or colleague will be happy that you recommended him, and the company where you declined the offer will also be glad because they can save time finding suitable candidates for the position.
Founder, Via Travelers
State your change of plans
As long as an applicant doesn’t try to skew the facts or subtly lie, they can have many justified reasons through which they are well within their rights to decline an offer, bearing in mind they are respectful.
First of all, plans can often change, especially if you are a fresh graduate who is still trying to find your course and direction. You may have taken time to decide you want to look elsewhere, and the places you applied to no longer seem to rouse your interest.
In this case, you can craft an honest and polite email stating your change of plans.
Mention that you might have chosen to side with their competitors
Recruiters know beforehand that applicants rarely apply to one organization and place all their bets on the eggs in the same basket.
This means they are aware that they must be competing with many other firms in the industry to hire you. Hence, it is alright to disappoint them slightly by mentioning that you might have chosen to side with their competitors.
Say it does not meet your expectations and desired role
An often witnessed problem is that the final offer made by a company does not hit the sweet spot in terms of lucrative financial affordances.
The recruitment process up until then might have made it seem to the employee like the company would offer more; however, if that is not the case, they are disappointed and turn to look elsewhere.
Similarly, suppose someone applies for a teaching role, but the subject division is upon the company’s discretion only.
Being given a different subject to the one you’re looking forward to teaching at the last hour is worthy of declining an offer. Employers will understand your reasons.
Be clear with what you want and why you have chosen to part ways
If you want to decline the offer, do not sugarcoat it. Avoid things that could cause ambiguity like, “I wish I could stay” or “Let’s see next time.” Rather be straightforward, so each party knows where they stand.
Try things like:
“This has been a great opportunity for growth, but the time has come that I part ways with you and move on to my next opportunity,“ or
“Maybe we can work together in the future one day, but for now, I will be moving on.”
I believe that making your intentions clear of going through the interview process or opting for or rejecting a promotion can make or break your relationship with the company.
If you have a better offer, the employer should be mature enough to wish you well or offer you a competitive offer. Stating your intentions can help the company set itself up to either offer you more or let you go to your greener pasture.
Ultimately, be clear with what you want and why you have chosen to part ways with the current company.
Founder and CEO, Convrrt
Proofread, revise, and test your message
Paying close attention to details is one of the most critical aspects of politely rejecting a job offer via email.
The only thing worse for a hiring manager than a candidate turning down a job opportunity is receiving a poorly written email about it.
Your email reveals a lot about your personality and professional abilities. To avoid errors:
- Make sure you properly prepare the email and read it several times.
- Spend time editing the email to eliminate any mistakes.
- Read your email out loud to ensure that your message is clear and respectful.
- Don’t rush to send your email; take your time and polish it as much as possible.
Provide positive reasons and be truthful at the same time
It is always recommended to tell your potential employer why you are declining a job offer. Maybe it is something that both of you can work out, or maybe there is something that they haven’t done right.
Make sure to provide positive reasons and be truthful at the same time. Remember always to show appreciation.
Thank you so much for considering me for the [position] in your company. After much consideration, I have decided not to accept the job offer since the salary does not match my financial requirements in my current state.
It was a true pleasure to meet your team members and see around the office plan and the company. I wish you further positive and successful advancements in your future.
In this example, you can see that we have told the employer the truth, and so they know what they are offering to you is not to your requirements.
At the same time, you were very positive in your reply to them, and you gave them a genuine reason why you could join them.
Do not give offensive reasons
Don’t deliberately mislead recruiters; even white lies have a way of getting out and spreading. Explain why you did not accept the job offer briefly.
Recruiters understand that job seekers have options, and if they’re interested in you, they won’t hold it against you. Include no offensive reasons, such as:
- Personal remarks about the interviewer
- Or negative comments about the company
Remember that you most likely want to be considered for future positions. If you provide positive feedback to the company, they will appreciate it because it will help them significantly improve their hiring process.
“Dear [Hiring Manager],
Thank you for allowing me to work at your company in position XX. I appreciate you and your company’s willingness to negotiate salary and benefits with me.
However, while I understand that you cannot raise the salary any further, I regret to inform you that I must decline the position. Since I don’t see the situation changing anytime soon, I thought I’d let you know ahead of time so you can reconsider opening it up to other candidates.
I hope to stay in touch and collaborate with you someday.
Customer Success Manager, Onsiter
Keep the email short and to the point
In situations where:
- The company’s reputation
- The work environment
- The culture is not acceptable
You may question how to respectfully decline a job offer without offending anyone.
It is better to keep the email short and to the point without too many details.
If there is something about the firm that you dislike and you do not want to accept the offer, it is preferable to write an email and inform your prospective employer of your concerns or dissatisfaction with the organization.
“Dear [Insert the Interviewer’s Name],
Thank you for considering my application for [Job Title]. I am appreciative of the chance you have provided me. Unfortunately, I have opted to take another offer from a different organization because the position is more aligned with my current career aspirations than the previous one.“
Chief Executive Officer, Vivipins
Make the statement with a minimal amount of words
I recall interviewing for an IT company a few years ago. I was a good candidate during the interview; however, those interviewing me were a bit irritated.
There was something that didn’t seem right. They reminded me of bosses I worked with at my previous job that ended up being terrible. While I had only an instinctive fear of them passing by, I decided to put my faith in the rumors.
I called my Human Resources contact, who was managing my application. I told her:
“I am writing to thank you and your hiring manager for interviewing me. I’m not thinking about a position with your company.“
I made my statement with a minimal amount of words. It was courteous, thanked the person for their consideration, and then gave an unambiguous declaration.
The conversation was not for formality; no explanations or excuses were needed.
Any reason I could have offered could have been a lie to the fundamental fact: I’m not a suitable candidate for the position, and they have to locate another candidate. This is all they need to be aware of.
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