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How To Politely Decline A Job Offer

If you find yourself in a situation where you must turn down a job offer, here are five tips and email examples to help you do it gracefully.
How To Politely Decline A Job Offer

You’ve been interviewing for months and finally got a job offer. In today’s economic environment, that would make most people burst into song and do a happy dance in their living room. But what if, after thinking long and hard, you decide it’s not the right career move? Maybe the salary is too low, the culture isn’t a good fit, or you detected other red flags during the interview process. You may even have decided to stay in your current role. If that’s the case, it’s okay to turn down a job offer.

Of course, it can be tricky because you don’t want to burn bridges with the company or hiring manager. The key is to communicate in a way that is honest, professional and concise. If you find yourself in a situation where you must turn down the offer, here are five tips and email examples to help you do it gracefully.

Respond in a timely manner

Once you decide the position isn’t for you, the last thing you want to do is procrastinate. By letting the hiring manager know as soon as possible that you’re declining the job offer, you’re showing them professional courtesy. Plus, responding promptly also gives the employer a chance to move forward with alternative candidates.

Example:

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

Thank you for offering me the [Job Title] role at [Company Name]. I am grateful for the time you and your team have invested in considering my candidacy.

After much thought, I have decided to decline the offer. While I was impressed with your company culture and product roadmap, I have accepted another role that is a better fit based on my current career aspirations.

While it wasn’t an easy choice, I wanted to get back to you as soon as possible.

Again, thank you for your time, and I wish you and your team continued success.

Kind regards,

[Your Name]

Express gratitude

In your email, show appreciation for the opportunity. The hiring manager invested time reviewing your resume, interviewing you and creating the job offer. They may also have recommended you to other people within the organization. By expressing gratitude, you let them know you acknowledge their efforts.

Example:

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I’m grateful for the time and effort you and your team have invested in interviewing me for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. Thank you for the chance to learn more about your company and what you stand for.

After a lot of thought, I have decided to decline the offer. While it was unexpected, there is a new position within my current organization that more closely aligns with my long-term career goals.

I enjoyed getting to know the team and am grateful for the positive experience I had interviewing over the last several weeks. I wish you and the company continued future success.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Provide a brief explanation

It’s unnecessary to provide a long-drawn-out explanation for why you are declining the offer. But it is essential to be honest, clear and concise. Be specific as it relates to the position, salary or responsibilities. Also, make it a point to be respectful without being overly emotional.

Example:

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

Thank you again for allowing me to meet the team last week. Learning more about everyone’s roles and seeing the offices was eye-opening. I enjoyed learning about the [Job Title] position and appreciate the job offer.

While this position offers incredible perks, I have decided to pursue another role that will provide more opportunities for personal and professional growth.

It’s been a pleasure getting to know you, and I’m looking forward to seeing you at the conference next month.

Regards,

[Your Name]

Be professional and polite

Even if you decide to decline the job offer, it’s important to be courteous. Avoid sharing any negative comments regarding the position, company or hiring manager. Instead, keep your feedback positive. Thank them for the opportunity to interview for the role and offer to maintain contact moving forward.

Example:

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I want to express my sincere appreciation for offering me the position of [Job Title] at [Company Name]. While I am grateful for the job offer, I have decided to decline in order to accept another role that is a better fit for me at this time.

I was very impressed with your company’s mission and enjoyed learning more about your department during the hiring process. I have no doubt that your team’s dedication to innovation will lead to continued growth and success.

If any future opportunities within your organization align with my career goals, I would love to be considered.

Again, thank you for your time.

Kind regards,

[Your Name]

Offer to stay in touch

Declining a job offer doesn’t mean eliminating all contact with the employer. In fact, it will benefit you to stay in touch. You never know what the future holds. At some point, circumstances might change, or a more exciting position could open up. By offering to stay in contact, you remain open to the possibilities.

Example:

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

Thanks again for inviting me to the office to meet the marketing team last week. I enjoyed learning more about your company culture and mission firsthand.

While excited about the role, I have decided to accept another position that more closely aligns with my professional goals. This in no way reflects negatively on your team or the job offer.

Despite the circumstances, I hope we can stay in touch. And if there are any openings at your company in the future, I would love to be considered.

Thanks again for your consideration.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

It pays to remember that interviewing is basically an exercise in networking. No matter what happens, the experience allows you to meet people you otherwise wouldn’t have crossed paths with. Most importantly, even though you are saying no to a job offer, you can still say yes to building a positive long-term professional relationship.


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