How to Decline a Job Offer

how to decline a job offer

Can You Turn Down a Job Offer Politely? 

The answer is simple! And it’s a resounding YES! While declining a job offer can be uncomfortable, it’s important to remember that you have the right to make a decision that’s best for you, and it’s possible to do so in a respectful and professional manner. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the topic of how to decline a job offer, providing you with tips and guidance to help you navigate this situation with grace.

Whether you’ve received multiple offers, found a better opportunity, or simply decided that the position isn’t a good fit, we’ll show you how to turn down an offer in a way that will maintain your reputation and preserve your professional relationships. 

Are You Sure You Want to Say No? 

Before we talk too much about how to politely decline a job offer, it is worth making sure that turning the offer down is the right decision in the first place. 

There are a couple of scenarios to consider here.

1. You’ve Had Another Offer

Congratulations! You’ve been lucky enough to get multiple job offers, and you get to choose which one you want to accept. 

But! Before thinking of how to respectfully decline a job offer, make sure you aren’t shooting yourself in the foot. Is the other offer definite? If not, you might be better off asking for more time to respond to this offer so you know you won’t end up without any offers.

2. You are Unhappy With Their Offer

Perhaps the offer has come in, but it wasn’t what you were expecting, either financially or in some other way

No one likes unpleasant surprises, but if the offer you’ve received isn’t the one you were expecting, take some time to consider it. Can you go back to the recruiter and negotiate for more money or get some clarity on the job role?

3. The Job Isn’t Right for You

There may have been something about the company, the people you met, or just an overall feeling that you wouldn’t be the right fit for the role. 

There’s a quote you may have heard, ‘Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.’ We can’t all be lucky enough to earn money from our passions, but we can avoid making a mistake and getting stuck in a role we know will make us miserable.

Find that remote job – If you want more work-life balance and the flexibility to work anywhere, here’s a guide on how to get the perfect remote job (even with zero experience). 

How To Turn the Job Offer But Keep the Door Open

If you’re sure that saying no is the right decision for you, then you need to decide how to respectfully decline a job offer. 

Why is that so important? Well, just because you aren’t going to be working with this company now doesn’t mean you won’t work with them in the future, or that the connections you’ve built during the interview process can’t be useful to you. 

Leave a company with the right impression and it could pay dividends down the line. So here’s how to turn down a job offer the right way.

Tips to decline a job politely

1. Consider a Call

Depending on the role and the relationship you’ve built with the hiring manager, it might be worth taking a deep breath and making a phone call to give them a heads-up in the first instance. 

This is particularly important if you like the company but not the role – keep the door open for something else. If you ring and explain why you are declining the offer it may open up opportunities at that time, or later down the line.

2. Golden Rules

There are a couple of rules to keep in mind when considering how to reject a job offer email politely. These are:

  • Be prompt – don’t rush, but don’t leave them hanging on your answer either. They need to find another candidate, so let them get on with doing that.
  • Keep your email brief and to the point, there’s no need for lengthy explanations.
  • Spell and Grammar Check – use tools like Grammarly or Hemingway to check your text, and get someone else to read it through as well if you can
  • If you know someone else who might be right for the role offer to pass their details on.

3. Write the email

If you’re wondering, ‘How do I decline a job offer without burning bridges?’ the answer is by following this simple three-step formula.

  1. Start with gratitude
  2. Explain your decision
  3. End on a positive note

4. Be Honest

While it may be tempting to provide a vague explanation or make up an excuse, being honest can help maintain your professional reputation and leave the door open for future opportunities. 

Here are some tips for being honest when declining a job offer:

  • Explain your decision clearly and succinctly, without going into unnecessary detail.
  • Be respectful and polite, even if the job offer is not what you were hoping for.
  • Focus on your own goals and aspirations, rather than criticising the company or role.
  • Express your gratitude for the opportunity and the time and effort invested in the hiring process.
  • Offer to keep in touch and maintain a positive relationship with the employer.

5. Stay In Contact

Building a professional network can be a valuable asset in your career, and even if this job opportunity didn’t work out, there may be future opportunities to collaborate or work together. 

Here are some tips for staying in touch after declining a job offer:

  • Express your gratitude for the opportunity and the time and effort invested in the hiring process.
  • Let the employer know that you value their organisation and are interested in staying in touch for future opportunities.
  • Connect on LinkedIn and other professional social media platforms to stay up-to-date on company news and updates.
  • Attend industry events and conferences where you may have the opportunity to network with the employer or their colleagues.
  • Send periodic updates on your career progress or noteworthy achievements, to keep the employer informed about your professional growth.

3 Email Examples For Declining a Job Offer Politely 

Taking into account all the previous steps, here are some email samples of how you can reject a job offer politely in different scenarios: 

1. How to Decline a Job Offer If You Received Another Offer (Email Samples)

Example #1:

Dear [Name of Hiring Manager],

Thank you for your time over the past few weeks and the job offer. Unfortunately, I cannot accept it.

I have received a job offer from another company which better suits my needs as it offers flexible working.

I wish you and <Company Name> all the best in the future and will follow your progress on LinkedIn.

Thanks again,

[Your name]

Example #2:

Dear [Name of Hiring Manager],

Thank you for your generous offer to work with <Company Name> as a <Role>.

While this is a great opportunity, I have decided to take another position that will allow me to focus more on my interest in <subject area>.

I would like to thank you personally for the support you have given me during the interview process. I hope to connect with you at <event> later this year.

Thanks again,

[Your name]

2. How to Decline a Role When You Just Don´t Think It´s Right, or Rather Not Say Why You´re Turning It Down

Example #1:

Dear [Name of Hiring Manager],

Thank you for the job offer letter dated <date> which I was happy to receive. 

After giving it some thought, I will not be accepting the offer as it does not align with my long-term career goals.

I am grateful for the opportunity to interview and learn more about <Company Name> and wish you all the best in your hunt for the perfect candidate.

Thanks again,

[Your name]

Example #2:

Dear [Name of Hiring Manager],

Thank you for your recent job offer letter, which I was pleased to receive.

While I would love to work for <Company Name>, unfortunately, I don’t believe this is the right role for me as I believe my skillset is more suited to roles in <area>. 

I hope you will keep me in mind for any future roles at <Company Name> that are more in line with my goals, and I will watch the company’s activity with interest.

Thanks again,

[Your name]

3. How to Decline a Job Offer That Was Accepted? 

First, review the terms of the job offer and determine if there is any legal obligation to honour your commitment. Next, promptly notify the employer of your decision and provide a clear and concise explanation of your reasons. Apologise for any inconvenience caused, and offer to assist with the transition as best as you can. Remember that declining a job offer after acceptance can leave a negative impression, so be sure to handle the situation with care and consideration.

Example # 1

Dear [Employer],

I am writing to express my sincere apologies for having to decline the job offer that I previously accepted. Unfortunately, I have been presented with an opportunity that I simply cannot pass up, and I have decided to pursue it instead. I understand that this is an inconvenience for you and your team, and I regret any disruption this may cause to your hiring process.

Please know that I value the time and effort that you and your team invested in the hiring process, and I am grateful for the offer you extended to me. If there is anything I can do to help with the transition, please do not hesitate to let me know. I would be happy to assist in any way I can.

Thank you for your understanding, and again, please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused.


[Your Name]

Example #2

Dear [Employer],

I wanted to personally reach out and let you know that I have decided to decline the job offer that I accepted earlier this week. After careful consideration, I have determined that this role may not be the best fit for my career goals at this time.

I understand that this news may come as a surprise, and I apologise for any inconvenience it may cause. If there is anything I can do to assist with the transition, please let me know. I want to ensure that this process goes as smoothly as possible for both of us.

Thank you for your time and understanding, and I wish you and your team all the best in your future endeavours.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

That’s How You Can Turn Down a Job Offer

Turning down an offer isn’t an easy thing to do, and that can make us feel anxious. The truth is though, that a short, simple, and genuine (but polite!) email is all that is necessary to respond. The company is going to be disappointed, but a polite rejection is a lot easier for them than hiring the wrong person, and better for you than taking the wrong role. Good luck finding the right one!


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