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How to decline a job offer

Received a job offer but not sure how to decline it? Follow our framework to decline a job opportunity with class.

How to decline a job offer

It’s always nice to receive a job offer, but sometimes you’re not in a position to accept the role. Whether you received a better offer elsewhere, or maybe you just had a change of heart, the best practice is to let the hiring manager know you’ll not be accepting the offer – and to do so with integrity so you don’t burn any bridges.

In today’s post, we’re sharing how to politely decline a job offer with examples.

  • Show appreciation
  • Be prompt
  • Opt for a phone call
  • Give a reason
  • Leave the door open

Best practices for politely declining a job offer

Show appreciation

No matter what your reasons are for declining the job offer, always express appreciation for the hiring manager’s time and for the opportunity. This will leave a positive lasting impression, which is one of the end goals of declining a job offer.

Be prompt

Don’t leave it too long before you let the hiring manager know your decision. Although it can be an uncomfortable conversation, it’s more respectful to let them know as soon as possible so they can offer the position to someone else.

Opt for a phone call

The best way to decline a job offer is via a phone call. Email is acceptable too, but ideally you want to have this conversation over the phone. This will make it easier to express your sincere thanks, and shows a certain level of integrity because you took the time to decline the offer over the phone. 

Give a reason

It’s best if you can provide a reason for not accepting the job opportunity. If you fail to give some form of explanation, this can come across as quite blunt and abrupt. Don’t feel as though you have to go into too much detail about your reasons though – it may be enough just to say you don’t feel the opportunity is right for you at this time. If the hiring manager probes for more details, feel free to give more detailed and constructive feedback.

Leave the door open

Always decline a job offer with the intention of leaving the door open for the future. You may not ever envisage yourself working at this company, but it’s always good to nurture relationships and widen your network – you never know when this will come in handy!

Examples of what to say when declining a job offer

Example 1 – leaving the door open

“Firstly, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity – I really do appreciate it. However, I’m sorry to say I won’t be accepting the job offer as I feel it’s not the right opportunity for me at this point in time. I really did love the company though, so, if it’s okay with you, I would be glad to keep in touch in case things change in future.”

Example 2 – found a better opportunity

“Thank you so much for the opportunity and offer. Although I do like the sound of the role, I have unfortunately just accepted another position which I feel is better suited to me. Again, I would just like to thank you for your time throughout this process.”

Example 3 – salary is too low

“It was great meeting you and the role sounds fantastic. Whilst I respect you have your allocated budget for the role, the salary doesn’t quite meet my financial needs unfortunately. For that reason, I’m unable to accept the job offer on this occasion. But again, I’d just like to express my sincere thanks for your time and wish you all the best with finding a suitable candidate.”

Nicely does it

Always remember to decline a job offer with the intention of leaving the door open. Even if you’re not interested in the company, keep your reputation in mind. So be transparent yet gracious and you can’t go wrong!

If you’ve recently been rejected from an interview, check out our blog about dealing with interview rejection.

Got an upcoming interview? Don’t forget to research the most common interview questions and answers beforehand!

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