You’ve been on the hunt for a job for months now. But, as much as you want to secure employment, you don’t want to accept a position that’s less than ideal. The question is, how can you decline a job offer graciously, without burning a bridge or sounding unappreciative?
Don’t worry, it’s surprisingly easy to say no without creating enemies. Use these tips to navigate the rocky waters of refusals.
Be Polite, But Brief
It’s common (and let’s admit it, easiest) to decline a job offer through email. If email is your only method of communication, or you’re not sure you can adequately convey your ideas in a phone call, then construct a polite but brief email explaining your decision to decline.
Remember, your hiring manager or recruiter doesn’t need the three pages of backstory that led to your decision to look elsewhere. Stick to these basics:
- Show your appreciation in a professional yet heartfelt way: Thank you again for the opportunity to interview with your company last week. It was great to see the headquarters in person!
- Briefly touch on your rationale: After careful consideration, I’ve decided to accept a position at a different organization. Or, This position is a wonderful opportunity, but I’ve made the decision to pursue an opportunity that requires less travel.
This two-step combination conveys the most important information without writing a novel about your decision.
Give a Concrete Reason
It’s important to make your reasoning concrete and clear. This is especially true if the company you’re declining committed a great deal of time and effort to recruit and interview you. Hiring managers understand that selecting a new job is a difficult decision, so they probably won’t take it personally when you decline their offer. They simply don’t want to be left in the dark.
Instead of staying quiet or divulging a few too many details, stick to a clear, simple, and concrete reason. Perhaps you had another offer that made more sense for your work/life balance, or maybe you decided to stay at your current job after all. Explain that, but nothing more.
Here’s a solid example: Thank you again for taking the time to consider me as a receptionist for your practice. After much thought, I’ve decided that now is not the best time to leave my current position.
Keep in Touch
Conclude your phone call or email with a sign of appreciation and willingness to work together in the future, if the opportunity arises. And it well might. You never know when you’ll bump into the same companies or hiring managers again
Here’s a good example: It’s truly been a pleasure getting to know your team. I wish you all the best and hope we cross paths in the future when the time is right!
Or, give this a try: Thank you again for your time and support during my hiring process. I hope to see you at next month’s industry conference!
As long as you put forth the effort to remain professional and courteous, you’ll decline your job offer with success – and style.
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