How to Decline a Job Offer Politely and Professionally

Derek Doeing
Derek Doeing  |  February 27, 2019

Getting my offer to work at G2 was one of the biggest reliefs I’ve had in my career. However, it also provided a unique challenge that I’ve never experienced up until that point.

While waiting to hear back about my job offer to work here, I was also involved in the interview process with a company I considered my backup option. Thankfully, I received offers from both companies. Unfortunately, that meant I had to decline the job offer for another company who I was also incredibly interested in.

The task of turning down an offer can sometimes make you feel like you’re damaging your reputation, but with a little poise, you can decline a job offer politely and professionally. Let’s get into the best way to tackle this while reducing any unnecessary anxiety throughout the situation.

Feel free to skip ahead to an email template to help you turn down a job offer.

How to decline a job offer

Whether you have another job offer you want to accept instead, had trouble negotiating a salary, or ultimately just want to stay where you are, there are a few important factors of a job offer rejection to keep in mind. Declining a job offer is very similar to how to decline an interview. Here’s where to start when you get the call or email regarding your offer:

Show your appreciation

Before even giving an answer to your contact at the company, you should express your gratitude for being offered the position. By now, you’ve likely gone through a couple of interviews or discussions with the company. They have put forth time and resources in determining whether you’re a good fit and you don’t want that to go unrecognized. This also serves to show friendliness and goodwill to the company.

Be timely

You should aim to send your response almost as soon as you make your final decision. This again is done to show respect to the people you have been communicating with at the company. The sooner you inform them that you are declining a job offer, the sooner they can extend the offer to another candidate.

A vague reasoning

While it’s not absolutely necessary that you provide an excuse for declining a job offer, failing to do so can make you seem deceitful. Rejecting a job offer is almost like breaking up with a company. After interviewing and expressing interest, pulling out of the conversation can leave the hirer feeling rejected. A simple explanation stating that you’ve decided to go in a different direction or that the company’s culture no longer seems like a good fit should suffice.

Offer to continue contact

Extending an offer to keep in touch with the contacts you’ve made at the company ensures that you are ending the discussion on good terms. It never hurts to grow your network, especially with people who are familiar with your work and consider you a qualified member of the industry.

These connections may benefit you further through your career, so offering to keep contact really can solidify a positive professional relationship down the road.

Declining a job offer email template

Why turn down a job offer?

According to a 2017 Management Recruiters International study, the most common reason that candidates rejected a job offer was due to a disappointing compensation package. The responses also showed that many turned down offers in order to accept other positions.

job offer rejection statistics

Source: Management Recruiters International 2017 Recruiter Sentiment Study

This all makes sense when considering that you typically see the most significant change in compensation when making a job change. If the compensation associated with a change isn’t up to par, there’s likely little incentive to make a job switch.

In addition, it may be very possible that you just don’t see yourself as a fit within the company’s culture. Throughout the interview process, you were likely to get a clearer picture of the company and its values. Failing to connect with the way a company does business is sometimes enough to push qualified candidates away.

Moving on

Whatever reason you find yourself declining a job offer, you can now do it with confidence. Remember that if you’ve gotten this far, they want you more than you want them and you’ll be just fine. Stay calm, collected, and handle yourself with poise. Be sure to show respect to the company and the people you’ve been in contact with following the process.

Choosing to decline an offer is the end of the road for you with this position. It should be noted that turning down a job offer is not a tactic that should be employed to negotiate a better deal as you will not be getting another offer after this point.

Even if you’re planning on declining a job offer, it may still be helpful to send a thank you letter after an interview.

Derek Doeing
Author

Derek Doeing

Derek Doeing is with G2 as a Content Marketing Associate. He hails from small-town Newark, Illinois and recently graduated with a degree in Agriculture Communication from Iowa State University. He enjoys long road trips, eating Oreos and milk for breakfast, and listening to Panic! at the Disco.