Declining a Job Offer: How to Do it

There are ways of declining job offers that will ultimately allow you to maintain positive relations with any company. While doing so may feel awkward, we’re here to teach you the most polite, respectful, and effective ways to decline your offer here!

Before Declining:

Before you make the permanent decision of declining an offer, truly take time to assess the opportunity you’re turning down. Whether this means weighing the pros and cons of a new salary, relocation, facility, benefits package, or anything else your new job entails, make sure to compare this with the aspects of the position you currently hold. Also, make sure to self-assess your current level of satisfaction. If you begin to doubt the meaningfulness of your work, it may be time to accept a new offer, as nerve-racking as it may be!

During Declining:

  • Be Timely: Remember, you are almost always one of several candidates being interviewed for a position. That means that if you’re declining your offer, the company will likely soon reach out to the next best candidate below you.  For that reason, once you’ve made your decision, don’t wait around! Let the company know as soon as possible so that they can take the next steps.
  • Tone: Make sure to maintain a respectful and grateful tone when speaking with the hiring manager, recruiter, etc. Always be proactive about thanking whoever you are speaking to, and expressing your gratitude for the opportunity. This is also a great way to maintain positive relations with the hiring staff of the organization.
  • Concision and Clarity: In your letter, call, meeting, or email of rejection, make sure to cut straight to the point. After all, you are declining the offer. There’s no reason to elongate the message and confuse the person you are speaking to. While it may feel kinder to provide an extensive list of reasons as to why you’ve decided to decline, you’re better off explaining your decision right away.
    • Extra Note: While we advise you not to prepare a list of reasons as to why you’re declining, do be sure to provide at least one substantial reason that has led you to your decision (i.e.: accepting another position, not ready to relocate, deciding to stay with your company, etc.)!
  • Next Steps… Although your decline may appear and very well be the end of your journey with the firm, if you feel as though you’ve established a strong relationship with an employee of the company, consider offering to stay in touch at the end of your message.
  • Calling vs. Emailing: While emailing is an acceptable form of rejection, we encourage you to take the time to initiate a phone call with the employer. There are several benefits to doing so, the greatest one being your ability to convey through tone genuine gratitude and thanks for the opportunity. This also showcases a higher level of care and commitment to continuing a positive relationship with the company.

With these steps, we hope that you are able to gracefully decline your offer, and potentially begin pursuing something new! If you’re searching for a new position, read through our open jobs list!

Not quite ready to decline an offer? Read our article to learn how to negotiate an offer the right way!