Let’s Chat… (Part 1) How to Professionally Decline a Job Offer

Welcome back, everyone! Today, we wanted to chat through a 2 part series in which we’ll coach you through the process of accepting or declining a job offer. The reality is, that almost every one of us will incur the need to decline AND accept a variety of roles throughout our careers, so understanding how to do so with professional elegance is crucial to maintaining positive relationships. Keep reading below to find out how to do so!

Professionally Declining Job Offers:

Saying Thank You

The absolute most important component of correctly declining an offer is to express gratitude for the opportunity. Whether that is over the phone, through email, or in-person (if internal), take time to craft a personal thank you to the recruiters you’ve met and each interviewer will show that you took the offer seriously and maintained respect despite whichever outcome occurs. Make sure to send your thank you letter promptly (within 24 hours) of the offer in addition to your decision if you are already sure that this isn’t the right fit for you.

Providing Meaningful Reasoning

Remember, you’re not locked into any role that you apply to! More often than not, candidates apply to a variety of different roles, and sometimes even just to get a ‘pulse’ on their industry,  so you may realistically narrow down or succeed in being offered two or three different roles. Especially to our college grads, make sure to effectively explain the reasoning behind your final decision to the hiring manager to avoid your answer seeming like a baseless decision. Whether you’ve decided to stay in your original role, hope to instead relocate somewhere else, have an offer with higher compensation, etc., providing additional information is a great way to justify your decision. However, make sure to always be clear and concise! There is no need to go into too much depth about which opportunity you’ve decided to pursue and where you’ll be headed next.

Maintaining the Relationship

While this aspect of a job offer conversation takes place farther down the road, we encourage you to maintain relationships with both the recruiters that connected you to the role, the hiring manager, interviewers, or anyone that you felt especially connected with throughout the process. You never know when you may find yourself back on that job search, and upholding a chance of re-pursuing a prior role as a result of relationships you’ve worked to cultivate will prove a key to your success.

It is so important to understand that it’s completely acceptable to decline an opportunity! It is how you communicate that will solidify the “terms” you leave on the company, so follow these steps and we’re sure you’ll achieve a long-term connection and avoid burning any professional bridges!

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