How to Professionally Decline a Job Offer (With Example)
After making it through the application steps and several rounds of interviews, you’ve finally received a job offer from the company. There’s just one problem: you don’t want it. Whether it’s because of salary, the responsibilities, or any of the numerous other reasons to turn down a job, you’re faced with the tough situation of declining a job offer without burning bridges.
The good news is that declining an offer letter isn’t unprecedented, and as long as you remain professional and polite, the employer will usually understand. Follow our advice on how to professionally decline a job offer to ensure you stay on good terms.
What to Do Before Declining a Job Offer
First, before you send any correspondence, you need to make sure you really don’t want the job. If you could see yourself accepting the offer with just a few tweaks, you may want to consider negotiating for a counteroffer instead of outright rejecting it. For example, if the salary isn’t right, there may be alternative benefits you can ask for.
You also need to be certain of why you’re not interested in the position. You’ll need to include a reason when declining a job offer (even if you keep it vague). Here are some of the most common reasons to decline a job offer:
- Salary. Probably the most common reason to reject a job offer. If the pay is below the market rate or just not up to what you were expecting, you could try to negotiate for more, but you might have to start looking elsewhere.
- There’s no room for growth. It can be difficult to know if this is the case during the interview process, so don’t be afraid to ask about your potential career path at the company to be sure. But if there’s no way to further your career, it could be better to turn it down rather than start your search all over again in a few years.
- The job/company isn’t a good fit. If you don’t think you’ll succeed at the position based on your skills, it’s better to look for somewhere you will than to force it. Likewise, if the interviewers or the company culture raised red flags, you don’t want to work at a place where you won’t get along with your colleagues.
- The duties aren’t what you expected. Occasionally, job postings don’t give the full picture of what the job entails. Declining because you learned your role would be different than what you expected is understandable.
- No flexibility. Most people want to fit their work around their life, not the other way around. If this job forces you to adjust your lifestyle, it might not be worth it.
- You got a better offer. Choosing between multiple offers is tough, but inevitably, you can only pick one.
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How to Decline a Job Offer
To decline a job offer without burning bridges, keep several things in mind:
Respond in a Timely Manner
Don’t keep the employer waiting or drag out the process (or worse, “ghost” them completely). If you’re prompt with your reply, they’ll be able to move on quickly without any hard feelings.
Thank Them for the Offer
Politeness and gratitude will go a long way in your response. Thanking the hiring manager for their time shows you appreciate the opportunity they’re providing, even if ultimately you decide it’s not the right one for you. Staying polite will also help keep you in the running for any future positions at the company, too.
Give a Reason (But Keep it Simple)
You don’t have to go into specifics, but including a brief mention of why you’re turning down the offer can help the employer understand your reasoning. Remember, at this phase, you’re no longer negotiating so in many cases a simple “the job isn’t the right fit” or “the position doesn’t align with my career goals” can be enough.
Offer to Stay in Touch
Along with remaining polite, this is another great way to keep the door open for future positions at the company. If you got along with everyone you had the opportunity to meet, you can provide your contact info or reach out on LinkedIn.
The last thing you want to do is give them a reason for being glad you didn’t accept the offer, and a poorly worded or typo-ridden rejection letter will reflect badly on your professionalism. Run it through a spellchecker and consider having someone else look at your email before sending it off.
Example of Declining a Job Offer
Use this email template for declining a job offer to help you craft the perfect response to the employer and remain on good terms.
Dear [Name of Person Offering the Job],
Thank you very much for offering me the position of [Job Title] at [Company Name]. I truly appreciate the time everyone took throughout the interview process and enjoyed meeting the team.
Though it was a difficult decision, I must decline the offer. [Insert brief reason]
It was my pleasure to learn more about [Company] and the role, and I sincerely hope you find the right candidate.
I would like to keep in touch with you in case an opportunity arises in the future. You can always contact me at [your email and phone number], or if agreeable, we can connect on LinkedIn.
Thank you again,
Declining a job offer is difficult, but it can be necessary in order to make the right career move for you. To get more email and letter templates, or for more job search tips, head to our Job Seeker Resource Center.
June 17, 2022
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