How to Tell a Recruiter You Are Not Interested in a Position

We’ve gathered career experts and executive recruiters to share their insights on how to politely tell a recruiter that you are not interested in a position.

Here are their expert advice:

Darrell Rosenstein

Darrell Rosenstein

Founder, The Rosenstein Group

Clearly state that you want to withdraw your name from the candidacy

I recommend sending an email. It would be best if you were gracious and polite, but more importantly, your response should be clear and honest. The world of recruiting is a small one, so be sure to leave a positive impression on the recruiter, as you might need them in the future.

In your email, thank the recruiter for taking their time to reach out to you. Then, explain that after careful consideration, you have decided that the position is not a good fit.

Clearly state that you are no longer interested in moving forward and that you want to withdraw your name from the candidacy.

If this is the first contact you are having with them, you could simply say something along the lines that you are flattered but happy where you are and not looking to make a move or simply that this is not something you are currently interested in.

You do not have to go into too much detail, but you can let them know if you are looking for opportunities in another field or if there is a specific role that you are after—they might be able to help you with this.

In closing, thank the recruiter again and reiterate that you are happy to keep the lines of communication open for future opportunities that might be a good fit.

Don’t worry about ‘disappointing’ the recruiter. This kind of thing happens all the time and recruiters don’t take it personally but rather appreciate the heads up so they can move on and focus on other candidates who wish to move forward with the process.

Here is an example on how to politely decline a recruiter:

“Dear (recruiter’s name),

Thank you so much for reaching out to me about the Digital Marketing Manager position at XYZ Company.

It has been great learning about the company and the role, but after careful consideration, I have decided that this position is not the right fit for me at this moment, but please keep me in mind for others that might come your way.

Again, thank you very much for your time, but I would like to withdraw my name from consideration. All the best as you look for the right match. I am happy to keep my eyes and ears open for anyone who might fit the role.

Thanks,
(Your Name)”

Judith Fischer

Judith Fischer

Executive Recruiter, RJ Associates Executive Search

“After much consideration and research, I just don’t see this as a long-term place for me.”

Every company that extends an offer to a candidate wants a resounding “Yes! I want you as much as you want me.” It’s a love affair destined to benefit both parties.

Good recruiters develop a sixth sense when a candidate interviews with a client company. Following the interview or several interviews, that sixth sense should kick in. The recruiter shouldn’t be surprised when the candidate accepts the offer or even when the offer is rejected.

How the candidate may reject an offer speaks loudly about the rapport and trust that has developed between the candidate and the recruiter. No recruiter wants to hear “No.”

A candidate can soften the blow and aim to maintain a relationship. Here’s how:

  • A smart candidate will be diplomatic, complimentary, and choose their words wisely.
  • A smart candidate will keep a dialogue channel open for the future.
  • A strategically minded candidate will thank the recruiter for their support, advocacy, and hard work on their behalf.

The nimble-witted candidate will explain what didn’t click. Here are a few examples:

  • “After much consideration and research, I just don’t see this as a long-term place for me…”
  • “The hiring authority was very nice, but the company’s goals and plans don’t seem realistic or achievable…”
  • “The position does not appear to have growth or advancement…”
  • “I realized the industry is not where I see myself…”

And last but not least, the candidate could refer to a name of a potential candidate for the position. That would remove some of the stings for the recruiter.

Linda Ferrante

Linda Ferrante

VP of Operations, RFT Search Group

“I’m happy where I am and am not looking to leave.”

First, be polite. There’s no reason to hang up on a recruiter; they aren’t actually selling you on anything other than an opportunity.

If you want to decline the initial conversation, simply say to the recruiter:

  • “I’m happy where I am and am not looking to leave.”

If you want to decline the position after speaking with them about it:

  • “I have thought about it, and because of XXX, I don’t think it would be a good fit for me. Thank you for your time, and please keep me in mind if you have any other future positions that have XXX.”

If you have met with the hiring company directly and want to decline, simply say:

  • “After careful consideration, I don’t think this position is a good fit for me because of XXX. Thank you for your time, and please keep me in mind if you have any other future positions that have XXX.”

The last sentence is to not burn any bridges.

Sometimes questions haven’t been asked or answered, so it’s important to be open and honest with your recruiter. If there is something that hasn’t been discussed yet, or if you are not clear on the answer, ask before turning down the job.

Use this relationship to communicate what is lacking in the position, and sometimes the recruiter can help educate and align the hiring company with the market rate. Recruiters are salespeople and problem solvers.

Give them the information needed to help them help you (and their clients).

Anjela Mangrum

Anjela Mangrum

President, Mangrum Career Solutions

From my experience in the industry, I appreciate straightforward responses when potential candidates turn down an offer. I have the following tips you can use to write the ideal response:

Give a brief explanation

To politely turn down an offer and avoid seeming blunt, consider being honest about the reasons for your disinterest. For example, you may be overqualified, or the job position may require more traveling than you’re comfortable with.

Show some gratitude

Thanking them for expressing interest in your career is a good way of declining an offer. You can say you’re happy with your current job, but you appreciate their effort to reach out to you.

Offer to help them find a suitable match

While excusing yourself, you can be helpful by forwarding the position to someone who may be interested. Consider telling them that you’ll keep an eye out for another candidate who would fit the role.

Here’s a quick draft that would be a good response to a recruiter:

“Dear (Recruiter’s Name),

Thank you for reaching out to me with the (Job Position) vacancy at (Company Name). I appreciate the fact that you took the time to explain the job details and helped me learn more about the company.

After careful consideration and research on the matter, I’m afraid this position won’t be a good fit for me.

Insert your reason. Here are some examples:

  • “The job requires me to move to XYZ city, which probably won’t be best at this point in my life.”
  • “With my (insert some qualifications or achievements), I feel like I’m overqualified for this job.”
  • “I’m comfortable working as a (your current designation) at (your company name) at the moment, as I can sense a promotion is on the way.”

I will, however, keep an eye out for potential candidates who would fit this role well. I look forward to hearing from you about more job vacancies that match my skill set.

Regards,

(Your Name)”

Randy Zinn

Randy Zinn

Software Developer and Owner, Zinn Consulting

There are several ways to tell a recruiter that we are not interested. Unless we choose not to respond at all, we should thank them for reaching out to us.

Choose your medium to respond to

How we respond may depend on the medium. We usually want to respond the same way that they reached out to us, as it implies their preferred method.

However, if they called and left a message, it can be advantageous to not get on the phone with a recruiter because many of them refuse to take “no” for an answer, and we can spend 20 minutes talking to someone about a job we don’t want.

This can be a significant problem in a hot job market when we are contacted by a dozen recruiters a day. Minimizing interaction with such recruiters is a skill of survival.

But getting on the phone can be helpful if we’re okay with talking about what we need and want, instead of the job they approached us about, and we have time for a long conversation. It’s networking. But we need to anticipate someone who won’t stop pushing a specific job.

Sometimes a recruiter will text, email, and call. In this case, we can choose which one to respond to.

Be specific when responding

If we respond vaguely, only saying we’re not interested, it invites the question of why. It can also be off-putting partly for being uninformative and a “hard no.”

Related: How to Respond to a Job Offer

Strive to sound more cooperative with an explanation of which part is not a good fit – location, salary, or skill set, etc. This can help them send us appropriate positions, which avoids wasted time for either of us.

Not responding at all is another option

Some will say it is rude, and there’s some truth to this, but we always have the excuse of it going into our spam folder, and not receiving a response is a fact of modern life.

To boot, even when we respond that we are interested, many recruiters do not respond to US, so this is a two-way street – either we’re all required to respond every time, or none of us are. It is the latter. This opinion won’t be popular with recruiters, but it’s true.

In addition, many recruiters contact us when they really should not have.

We can receive emails about jobs halfway across the country when moving is not an option. Or the job field doesn’t match our career at all, as if they didn’t read our resume. Or it’s the wrong technology, in which we have zero experience.

Many of these are arguably unprofessional outreach to us and can be significant time wasters, especially if we end up on the phone with them and they won’t take no for an answer.

Why are we required to respond to this nonsense? We’re not.

Our approach will depend greatly on our field, our market, and our experience level. Entry-level professionals are advised to be more cautious and err on the side of politeness.

As someone with two decades of experience in a hot field and market, I ignore everything that doesn’t catch my interest, and I never answer the phone from a number I don’t recognize because I already know it’s a recruiter who won’t let me get off the phone.

In conclusion

If not responding seems rude, it should be remembered that as our career continues, our resume will end up in many recruiting databases, whether we submitted it or they scraped it from a job board.

Recruiters will therefore reach out to us when we are not on the job market. Our resume can be “inactive” or hidden on job boards, and yet still, the emails, texts, and calls come, even if we haven’t looked in years.

On one hand, this is great, but it can also mean a lot of unwanted contacts. Just because someone is trying to sell us on a job we don’t want does not mean we must reply.

Recruiters are telemarketers, ultimately. They will be back because recruiters cast a wide net every time a job is even remotely close (and often when there isn’t a chance in hell) to catch our interest.

Us having previously ignored their emails, texts, and phone calls won’t change this because maybe this time, they get us. And in the end, that is all that matters to any of us.

Matt Erhard

Matt Erhard

Managing Partner, Summit Search Group

One concern I think many people have when turning down a job from a recruiter is whether that will prevent them from seeing future positions—basically, they’re worried one “no” is enough to burn a bridge.

As long as you turn it down in a professional way, this isn’t something that should worry you. Recruiters want to find the right person for the job. If you think it’s not a good fit, they’d rather you speak up so they can find someone who is.

Of course, at this point, candidates are probably wondering just what “professional” means in this context, especially if you haven’t turned down a job offer before. Here are my top tips:

Be specific about why you’re turning down the job

Be honest and specific about why you’re not interested; whether it’s because the pay is too low, the company culture feels off, etc. If you’re working with a recruiter, this will give them valuable insight into which jobs to bring to your attention moving forward.

If you’re contacted by a recruiter out of the blue, explaining that you’re not looking for a new job right now but appreciate the offer can keep you from getting more unsolicited offers while still maintaining a potential network contact for the future.

Tell them as quickly as you can

If you’re not even interested enough to go in for an interview, you probably knew that as soon as you read the posting. The sooner you tell the recruiter you don’t want the job, the faster they can focus on other candidates, and they’ll appreciate you being respectful of their time.

Be gracious

Thank the recruiter for thinking of you for the position, and let them know you appreciate the offer. You could say something like:

  • “I appreciate that you think I’d be a good candidate for this job, but…”
  • “I’m honored to be considered for this position, however…”

Then, go on to explain why you’re turning the position down. Keep the tone positive, kind, and respectful throughout the message.

You’d be surprised how much simply being polite can make you stand out in a good way in someone’s mind.

Clay Burnett

Clay Burnett

President and Executive Recruiter, Clay Burnett Group

Honesty is always the best answer

If you have been contacted by a recruiter for a position that is not right for you, there are many good ways to show the appreciation that they contacted you without closing the door for any future possibilities.

Ideally, your response should create future opportunities. The key to your answer is in the positive way you explain that the fit is not right for you right now.

If the suggested salary range is too low, say that you are already on a higher pay scale. It is important to be realistic when you define your current pay range and your goals. Salary is always a key component of any job change, and it is okay to be up-front about it; just do not push the envelope too far.

If you are working with a recruiter, you should receive good advice about the salary range for the job description.

If the job sounds uninteresting and below your capabilities, give a quick summary of what you have done and can do and suggest that you want to stretch and grow into something bigger and more challenging.

Often, we get feedback from potential candidates that the new job does not fall within the industry in which they are experienced. Although this can be a valid issue, it is possible that you should consider how a change might broaden your skills and enhance your resume.

Candidates sometimes have preferences about the size of the company or industry and again, do not be too rigid in these ideas because there are values to be found in stepping up into a larger field of dreams, or, conversely, bringing your abilities to a smaller company which needs and will appreciate the experience you bring.

The increase of working from home has materially changed a large part of the workforce, and before saying that the distance between home and the potential new office is too far, you should consider suggesting that perhaps you could commute one or two days a week while working from home during the other days.

Overall, the best thing you can do when turning down a job offer is to pair your honesty with your sincere appreciation for their interest. Remember that your response can be an opportunity to summarize your skillset and interests. Show that you are open to change and challenge and invite them to contact you again.

And say thank you, that always makes a good impression!

McLean Mills

McLean Mills

Co-founder, Resume Writing Services

Always think long-term

If you tell recruiters you’re uninterested in a job position, at least let them know that you’re open to changing your mind in the future. I suggest even building a connection with the recruiter and letting the recruiter know you’d love to stay in touch.

This way, you never shut yourself out of any potential job opportunities that might come your way later on in your career when you’re actually back on the market and job searching.

Here’s an example of what not to say:

  • “Thanks for reaching out to me with this job opportunity. However, this position doesn’t interest me, and I am fine with where my current career path is headed.”

While it’s good that you’re cordial to the recruiter, you’re potentially shutting yourself out of other job opportunities in the future that might actually interest you this time around.

Here are two better ways to respond that will set you up better for future offers from the recruiter:

  • “Thanks for reaching out to me with this job opportunity. However, this position focuses on X while my passion and expertise are in Y. If in the future a job position opens up that might be a better fit for me, I’d be happy to hear about it. Feel free to reach out anytime!”
  • “Thanks for reaching out to me with this job opportunity. I truly appreciate it. I’m currently not in the market, but feel free to keep me updated in the future with anything that might be a good fit.”

Jagoda Wieczorek

Jagoda Wieczorek

HR Manager, ResumeLab

Try to decline the offer by phone or via Zoom if you can

When you get an offer from an employer, it probably makes you want to jump up and down for joy. But sometimes, you have to decline a job offer because you might have better options, or you learned that the company is somewhat shady.

In this case, you need to know how to tell the recruiter you aren’t interested in the position without burning bridges. To do it utmost professionally, I recommend following a simple formula:

  • Try to decline a job offer by phone or via Zoom if you can. If not, send a quick email to the hiring team.
  • Thank the employer for the opportunity.
  • Provide a reason for declining the offer without going into too much detail.
  • Ask to stay in touch.

Below is a real-life example of how to decline a job offer professionally:

“Dear Ms. Smith,

Thank you so much for the offer to work as a content marketing specialist at XYZ. I really enjoyed our Zoom call last week.

Unfortunately, I have to decline because, after thorough consideration, I feel the position doesn’t exactly fit my current career goals.

That said, I wish you the best of luck in your search for the ideal job candidate. In the meantime, I’ll be more than happy to connect with you on LinkedIn so that we can stay in touch.

Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in.

Yours sincerely,
John”

AmyJo Mattheis

AmyJo Mattheis

Co-Founder and CEO, Pavo Navigation Coaching

Be clear, honest and gracious

Recruiters are typically “people people,” and like other people, they build relationships and enjoy the connection they get to have with others in their role. It’s also their job to fill a predetermined number of roles each month.

If you have gotten to the place where you have received an offer from a recruiter, you have built a relationship with them, and they want and need to close the role.

It can therefore feel awkward and even wrong to tell a recruiter, who you have been interacting with for a period of time, that you are not going to accept the offer and, it is absolutely within your purview to do so.

Additionally, if you are clear that this role at this company is not a fit, you should not accept it.

Saying no, when it needs to be no, will serve you and the company or organization in the end. Everyone wants the right person in the right role at the right company or organization. We can forget that with the pressure of KPI’s and needing to fill headcount.

There is a subtle difference if the recruiter works for a hiring agency or if they are internal to the company or organization you have been interviewing for. If they are an agency recruiter, the pressure to close the offer is greater than for an internal recruiter.

Therefore, the likelihood of an agency recruiter turning up the pressure to convince you to change your mind will be higher than if they are with the company or organization recruiter. It is good information to know as you prepare to refuse the offer, so get to know who you are working with on that level.

Follow these tips to help you retain a healthy and ongoing professional relationship with the recruiter, even when you are telling them no.

Be clear as to why you are saying no to the offer.

  • For instance, is it the compensation package?
  • Did your current employer make a counteroffer?
  • When you researched the company or organization, did you find reviews or information you didn’t like?

Whatever the reason(s), be sure you know what they are. This is critical for your own decision-making as well as your capacity to communicate honestly and respectfully with the recruiter.

Be honest.

Regardless of why you are saying no, it is best practice to be clear and truthful with the recruiter. This is a relationship you don’t want to harm, both for your professional career and because you can be respectful and decline an offer at the same time.

Telling the recruiter the truth actually helps the recruiter going forward. When you are honest, whether it is about the company, the recruiter or interview experience, or anything else, it is helpful information for them to have. People don’t know what they don’t know. Telling the truth is a gift and opportunity for them to adjust and change.

Be gracious.

Treat this relationship the way you would other relationships, with respect and gratitude. Begin your conversation by thanking them for all they’ve done for you and show appreciation for the experience. If the truth is that your interview experience has not been good, again, be honest.

Keep it short.

There’s no need to go into a lengthy dialogue or defend why you are not going to take the role. This is your right, and in the end, you need to do what serves your life. Be clear, be honest and be gracious and it will be good for everyone.

Here are a few extra tips to take with you as you negotiate and navigate the waters of interviewing and accepting/rejecting offers.

Don’t play games.

If you are saying no as a way to try to increase compensation, don’t. Only refuse the offer if you have honestly come to the decision that this role at this company or organization is not for you.

Playing games with a recruiter creates bad juju between you and the recruiter, the company or organization you are interviewing for, and for any future interactions with this recruiter in this industry. It’s generally understood as bad professional behavior.

This point bears mentioning again, be honest! If the compensation package is not what you want, say so. Ask for what you believe you deserve. Decide on the number and/or package as a whole that you expect and hold to it.

If you are saying no because your current employer gave you a counteroffer, consider whether that increase or bonus is worth the opportunity of moving to a new role in a new company/firm/organization.

Ask yourself if your current employer is counteroffering because they seriously recognize and value your contribution or because keeping you is more convenient and less costly than backfilling for you once you leave.

When you close the conversation, be clear that you will be the one who reaches out in the future to connect.

Recruiters need to fill roles, and if you say, “let’s stay connected,” they will.

Cale Loken

Cale Loken

CEO, 301 Consulting

Your response should depict loyalty, professionalism, and politeness

It feels good to know when a recruiter reaches out to you with a job opportunity. It makes you feel confident about your professional profile and convinces you that you’re in the right direction.

However, you are not always looking for a switch, and there can be many different reasons for that. In such a situation, using polite words to decline the opportunity respectfully and leaving the impression that you would like to stay in touch for any future reference can be helpful.

You can use soft words and responses like:

  • “I am flattered by your offer; however, I am happy where I am currently working and not looking to switch.”
  • “Thank you for reaching out. Your offer sounds great, but I am satisfied with my current employer. However, if I ever feel the need to switch, I would like to know that I can get back to you.”

Your response should depict loyalty, professionalism, and politeness. Maintaining contact with a recruiter can be very helpful for future employment purposes. Even the recruiter himself can move to a new job in the future at a better company and offer you a job there.

Nancy Michieli

Nancy Michieli

Women’s Empowerment Coach, Nancy Michieli Coaching

  • “Thank you for reminding me how valuable I am, and at this time, I am seeking bigger opportunities on my journey to success. Feel free to reach out if any of your clients are seeking [Position Title].”
  • “Wow, how wonderful to be considered. I am currently at a stage in my career where I want to achieve [Position Title] as my next step. Keep me on your list for future opportunities in this [Area of Interest].”

I believe it is important to be kind in responding to the recruiter; you never know when they may be a good supporter in the future. As well, clarifying what you are looking for gives the recruiter knowledge of your next steps.

You never know that they may have currently on their list or in the future. Finally, I believe short and sweet are appropriate.

Benjamin Farber

Benjamin Farber

President and Owner, Bristol Associates, Inc.

Don’t burn bridges

When a recruiter presents you with an opportunity, they are essentially saying, “hello, I believe you would be a good fit for this position.” Furthermore, they are giving you a chance to apply.

Be professional even if you are not interested. You never know when another opportunity might arise, and the likelihood of that recruiter contacting you again could certainly be influenced by your previous interaction(s).

Do your research first before declining

Don’t be too hasty in saying “not interested” in a new job opportunity. Do some research on the position, recruiter, and visit their profile/website.

Give them an opportunity to give you all the details before you ignore their call or delete their email. A good recruiter won’t spill all the good beans at first glance; it could be more worthwhile than you originally anticipated.

Honesty is the best policy

If a recruiter contacts you for a position you are simply not interested in, be honest. Tell them you are not interested and tell them why.

Note: A simple introduction may also benefit you down the road, for when a more appropriate role with their firm comes about.

Timothy G. Wiedman, D.B.A., PHR Emeritus

Timothy G. Wiedman

Associate Prof. of Management & Human Resources (Retired) | Member of Human Resources Group of West Michigan

Explain exactly why you’re reluctant to continue pursuing the position

If, after learning enough about the terms and conditions of employment to reach a decision about the merits of a specific job, you conclude that the position (or the employer) wouldn’t be a good “fit” for you, simply tell the recruiters the unvarnished truth and move on.

But if the issue that concerns you seems limited to one aspect of a job you’d actually love to accept, that situation requires a very different type of response.

However, you must still be completely honest.

Explain exactly why you’re reluctant to continue pursuing the position (i.e., what your specific concerns are). That leaves the recruiters the opportunity to modify their employment terms a bit if they can (assuming that they really want you on board, of course).

But even if no modification is possible at that particular time, a large corporation might well have a more-suitable opening at a later date. And that ultimately could result in a future job offer. So thank them for their interest and reiterate the fact that you believe you’d enjoy working for their organization under slightly different circumstances.

Who knows? You might be contacted again at a later date!

Michael Trust, MPA, SPHR, PHRca, SHRM-SCP

Michael Trust

Human Resources Leader & Certified Mediator, Michael Trust Consulting

Be polite, don’t be dismissive, and make an offer to help

If you are approached by a recruiter for a role, always, always take the call (or return the call) or email. You never know – it could be your dream job.

If you are not interested after a brief conversation, politely let the recruiter know. This is a great opportunity: you have the ability at this point to make a true connection.

Offer to refer the recruiter to others in your network who might be a good fit.

This helps the recruiter greatly and ingratiates you to them. There will come a time when you will need a recruiter’s services. It’s inevitable. You can then call in the favor.

But it’s not about chits; it’s about helping others and doing the right thing. Whatever you do: be polite, don’t be dismissive, and make an offer to help. It’s really that simple.

Jessica Salter

Jessica Salter

People Operations, Best Response Media

The speculative approach

If a recruiter approaches you without making an application first, then the balance is in your favor. If you are very happy in your job and not looking, simply thank them for their interest and wish them good luck in finding the right candidate.

If you are still not excited by the job offer after seeing a job description, it would be helpful if you told the recruiter why you are not interested. A good recruiter will take note of this and approach you again in the future with your exact job requirements.

If you have registered a CV

If you are actively looking and have registered your CV with a recruitment agency, you may feel guilt when being approached about a job opportunity that does not interest you. Recruiters can be very persuasive, insisting that they need to put your CV forward straight away and that the job ticks all of your boxes.

The best way to handle this is to do your own research first. Accept the job description but be firm in letting the recruiter know that you will get back to them shortly with your final answer.

Research the employer, check out their profile on Linkedin, and read Glassdoor reviews. If you ultimately feel the job is not right, then email the recruiter with your reasons for not going forward for the position. Hopefully, soon, they will get back in touch with a more suitable role.

If you have been offered the job

In this scenario, things could get awkward. You have gone through the interview process, met members of the team, and said all of the right things. Sometimes, things don’t work out.

You could have a counteroffer from your current employer that you can’t turn down, or you have a gut feeling that things aren’t quite right. When you have invested so much time and effort into the process and undoubtedly built a relationship with the recruiter, then a phone call would be the most professional way to turn down a job.

Thank the recruiter for their time and effort, and be honest with your feedback.

Dr. Stephen Carman

Stephen Carman

Adjunct Professor for the Online MBA Program, University of Tulsa

Explain clearly and concisely with the recruiter

When it comes to your relationship with a recruiter, you need to treat this the same way you do with any other professional relationship — with respect and courtesy.

Recruiters are advocates for you as well as employers. They best serve you when they are in alignment with you, and the best way they can do this is when you communicate with them.

When you come to a point in an opportunity that you are no longer interested in, your best course of action is to clearly and concisely share why with the recruiter.

The reason does not matter as much as that you are honest and clear.

If relocation is the issue, yet you were not clear, the recruiter may come to the conclusion that any opportunity that requires relocation is not an option for you. Of course, if this is the case, make that clear. Otherwise, let them know if it’s a “no relocation now” type of thing or a “not this part of the country/world” type of thing.

The same holds for any other number of reasons you may decline an opportunity. Be clear.

This saves you and the recruiter lots of time and energy as they will more likely calibrate their search and reach out to you based on opportunities that best fit your background, interests, and timeframe.

Chris Muktar

Chris Muktar

Founder, WikiJob UK

To find the best candidate, we search for people on LinkedIn that we think will fit the job. We send them a message of invitation to apply, and some accept some decline.

What I notice is some people don’t know how to properly decline an invitation. Here are my tips on declining a job position to a recruiter:

Set an appointment.

If you already went through interviews and was accepted for the job but wasn’t satisfied and want to decline the offer, it is best to set an appointment with the hiring manager.

Doing so will show that you respect the time and effort they have given you throughout the whole process. Sometimes, this appointment will help you relay the things you want for the job offer, especially if they are really eager to hire you.

Thank them.

Appreciate their efforts in offering you a job, so thanking them will help you send your appreciation. However, inform them of your reasons behind your decision to decline the offer so they would understand you better.

Susan Norton

Susan Norton

Senior Director of Human Resources, LiveCareer

Focus on your career goals in explaining why an offered position is not a good fit for you

No one likes rejections, also in the recruitment world. As hiring managers, we would always love to pick the best candidates and match them with a suitable role. The truth is that we might devote a lot of effort to get to know you, but you’re the one who knows yourself best.

It’s your responsibility to choose a position that will advance your career and make you happy.

That’s why it’s essential to get as much information as possible about the potential position. If you see that a particular role is not for you, be open about the reasons.

My advice is to focus on your career goals in explaining why an offered position is not a good fit for you. Even if recruiters see you as a perfect candidate for the job, they won’t push you if they see it’s simply not for you.

Related: How to Stay Focused on Your Goals – [The Ultimate Guide]

Being honest with yourself about your career plans will make you more confident when speaking with recruiters and help you build meaningful relationships for the future.

The key is to be fair to the recruiters. It’s a no-go to keep them waiting for weeks for your decision or reject their offer at the finish line without any explanation. If you communicate, there is nothing wrong when you say “no.”

Maybe a certain role is not right for you, but what if this company will have an excellent opportunity for you in a couple of years? The world is small, so never burn the bridges behind you and treat others the way you want to be treated.

Rene Cheng

Rene Cheng

Content Marketing Growth Specialist, JobSeer

It is great to tell a recruiter that, although you are thrilled by the opportunity, you will need to pass on this opportunity this time. It is important to be as polite as you can as a candidate, because you never know, in the future, you might need a job!

It is super critical to keep a good relationship and connection with the recruiter. Here is the example I’d say to a recruiter:

“Hi [First Name],

Thank you so much for the offer, and I am thrilled to have this opportunity. Although I am honored to be invited to the team, I will need to pass on this opportunity at this time.

I hope you will find a better candidate for this position. I will be more than happy to refer you individuals who may be the right fit for this position.

I’d love to stay in touch with you. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.”

John Touey

John Touey

Principal, Salveson Stetson Group

Think about the future

Think of the first call with a recruiter as the start of a long-term relationship. Your engagement now makes it much more likely that a recruiter will reach out with more ideal opportunities down the road.

Be polite and professional

If you must refuse an opportunity, do it in a manner that leaves room for future conversations. Thank the recruiter for presenting the opportunity. Let them know why you aren’t interested in a way that provides them with insight into the type of career opportunities that would be of most interest to you.

Make a referral

If you are in a position to refer the recruiter to other potential candidates, it will also make a positive impression.