How to Turn Down a Job Offer Gracefully

September 26, 2018 • Rehack Team


Congratulations! You’ve just received an email from a company that wants you to start as soon as possible. At the bottom of the text is an attachment with a contract for you to sign and return, sitting there expectantly, waiting for you to click.

The trouble is — you have no intention of signing anything.

Your reasons could include meager pay, no benefits, inflexible scheduling or a different offer from an alternative company. Regardless of why, you’re now responsible for issuing a polite “No, thank you,” that doesn’t burn any bridges or step on any toes. Easier said than done.

The process of securing a job involves multiple interviews and extensive networking. To avoid compromising your connections, take note of the advice detailed here. We’ll walk you through the sensitive issue of how to turn down a job offer gracefully.

Decline Over the Phone

A longstanding problem with email communication is expressing your message in the proper tone. It’s all too easy to misconstrue enthusiasm for excitability if the sender is too liberal with their exclamation marks. At the same time, an absence of exclamation marks reflects a somber, uninterested voice.

This problem has a simple solution, though it isn’t always for the faint of heart. If you want to avoid conveying total apathy, find the phone number of the company’s hiring manager. Express your appreciation and a brief explanation as to why you’ve decided to pursue other opportunities.

“After a lot of deliberation, I’ve chosen to accept another offer,” or “It was a pleasure to meet you and learn more about your business,” are both effective lines to soften the impact of your rejection. Make an effort to communicate in a subtle, but straightforward, manner.

Be Concise and to the Point

The email you send should be explanatory. It’s rude to leave them without a reason after they’ve invested time and resources in the interview process. Still, keep the message short and clear, touching only lightly on the reason behind your decision to search elsewhere.

An extended diatribe of complaints, suggestions and footnotes may feel cathartic to write and deliver, but it won’t earn you any friends. The person in charge of hiring doesn’t want or need a thorough explanation. Just keep it brief, succinct and to the point.

Express Your Gratitude

The process of finding and vetting a candidate is a labor-intensive task. Bosses are people too, and they deserve a degree of gratitude. Make sure that gratitude comes through clearly in your email, leaving no room for interpretation that you’re thankful for the company’s investment in you.

At the same time, remember the kind of email you’re writing. You don’t want to exaggerate your appreciation with excessive thanks — making it appear as though their decision to hire you was humanitarian. Leave on agreeable terms while they have a high opinion of you.

Recommend Another Person

A company you’ve interviewed for may need someone with similar qualifications. If you know a person who would be an excellent fit for the job, refer them to the hiring manager you were in contact with. It could be a classmate from college, or a past co-worker you know is looking for a change.

It’s crucial for you to trust the person you’re recommending. If the company does decide to hire your referral, your reputation with that network hinges on the person’s behavior and performance on the job. Suggesting an inexperienced friend could result in a lose-lose situation for everyone involved.

Continue to Network

Even if you turn down a job offer, send a LinkedIn request to the employees you spoke to along the way. Include those involved in the hiring process and any additional people that helped you secure the position. If they demonstrated traits you admire, reach out to the boss of the organization.

LinkedIn allows the sender of a request to personalize their message. Mention the choice you made, but focus on your professional interest in staying connected. Workers at other companies represent a valuable resource as you advance in your career.

Don’t Delay!

It’s not the first time a company has received a rejection, and it won’t be the last. Apply the tips here to help turn down a job offer and reduce any unnecessary pain. And remember, it’s business — nothing personal.