You ventured out on a number of job interviews and a few of them have sent you a job offer. However, after reviewing their stipulations, you are not enthused with the some of the offers. After careful thought, there is one that appeals to you. You are thrilled, but at the same time, you must respond to the others.
You want to maintain your professionalism and after all, they are contenders for future considerations.
So, how do you decline a job offer gracefully? Surely, this was not on the syllabus when you graduated college. The golden rule is to be courteous and respectful, despite any untoward reasons that you might be saying “Thanks, but no thanks.”
That is where we come in. Today, we will help you to handle a job refusal with style and class.
Why People Decline a Job Offer
While pursuing a new job and going through the interview process, you can get singularly focused.
At this point, you are more concerned about wearing the right clothes, being a consummate professional and answering those interview questions, just right. Not until after you have cleared those stages do you then consider, “What will I do if I am given more than one job offer?”
And in some instances, we forget to assess and consider, “How do I know if the job is not right for me?”
Here are several reasons why people decline a job offer and it is perfectly acceptable to do likewise, based on these explanations.
If trying to earn more money was the main reason for seeking new employment and you are being offered less or the same as your current salary, then it is not sensible to leave your present job. There must be other elements that outweigh this primary factor, like benefits, perks, possible job promotion or less micromanaging and a more tolerable boss.
Many people have turned down job offers simply because their salary demands were not met. It makes no sense to compromise what you want and also lose out in the long term.
The Job is Not Right for You
Job postings never really completely describe all that you are expected to do. Oftentimes, this bit of information is learned during the interview process. And sometimes maybe not until the final interview, but no matter at what point, many interviewees decline job offers because it is not what they expected.
If you hear the interviewer start to highlight additional responsibilities, longer hours or even that the role is more or less than you are capable of, listen up. Consider turning down the offer.
The Company is Not Right for You
Sometimes we get so excited about getting the chance to interview for a particular company and we forget to do our due diligence and research the organization. And at a later time, we learn of some disturbing fact that causes us to lose interest in working for that company.
This is a justifiable reason for turning down a job offer. After all, you should not compromise your morals or values just so that you can get a higher salary or more benefits.
Consider applying for another job, with another company. In this day and age, there are millions of job postings that you can access online. Just be willing to compromise in other areas.
Your Present Company Will Do Anything to Keep You
The good companies who are worth their salt are fully aware of the value of their employees. Some of them are also willing to compensate their employees to stay on.
You see, it costs a company more to retrain new staff and suffer loss of productivity. Businesses are all about protecting the bottom-line. Many are happy to keep an outstanding employee, without having to pay more money. After all, that employee is not seeking a promotion or asking for a higher salary.
However, once they realize that one of their best assets is about to jump ship, they will open their checkbook and negotiate with you to stay.
So, before leaving, try to leverage your new job offer for a higher salary, better benefits or even better overall working conditions. Think carefully about what matters to you. Sometimes, the corners you know best are safer than an entirely new room.
But, it does not end there, because with this competing offer, the company who made the first offer might be willing to increase upon the previous sum. If this is your reality, then congratulations to you, it is a desirable state of affairs.
Big Life Changes are Required
Full disclosure of what is expected in your new job, might not come until an offer is made. For example, you learn that you will have to uproot your family to Cambodia or work in Arkansas when you presently live in New York. These are major life changes that not many people are willing to make.
If you are in this situation, compare the advantages and disadvantages. Could you live far away from your friends and family and begin a new life? Could you adjust to a completely new culture? Are you willing to contend with the stresses of a new existence?
If not, decline the job offer. This job is not for you.
Any Other Good Excuse
Only you are aware of your personal situation and understand what factors could prevent you from taking a job offer. It is not mandatory for you to accept every proposal, when asked. Some people do job interviews just to keep abreast of the current job trends and find out whether they are still competitive.
For whatever reason, always gracefully decline a job offer and preserve the relationship that you have developed with them.
The company may be the right fit, but the timing may be wrong.
Gracefully Declining a Job Offer
The reasons given above are actually quite common. However, now that you have reviewed some reasonable excuses for not taking a job offer, let us discuss how to decline one.
Leave a Paper Trail
This is another of the golden rules in business. You can opt to write an email or send an actual physical letter to the company. You will choose the best option based on how the company contacted you.
If they sent an email, then return a response in like manner.
Do Not Overly Delay Your Response
Respond in a timely manner. It is perfectly normal to take a day or two to deliberate further. However, unless the company clearly gives you more time, do not keep them waiting for an extensive period.
Allow No Room for Ambiguity
Clearly express your gratitude, your intent and make certain there is no confusion as to why you rejected the offer. Any email or physical letter is usually filed for a period of time.
When the future is uncertain, it is good to have proof of what actually occurred in the past.
Call Your Interviewer or the Hiring Manager
Employers appreciate a personal touch. If you have gone through a couple interview rounds, then chances are you have developed some semblance of a relationship with them. As such, it is advised and appreciated when you extend yourself and speak with the recruiter.
It gives them a chance to make a counter offer and maybe present a more suitable offer at a later time. You cannot lose by gaining another professional relationship.
And if you did the reverse, by calling before writing an email then do the latter as well.
No Matter How You Choose To Communicate, Use a Friendly Tone
Your demeanor must be perceived as being respectful at all times. Remember, you want them to like you still after your refusal. This same guideline applies even if you had a horrible experience.
Address the Person Properly
In your email, direct your email to and use the name of the person who interviewed you. At this point, using “Dear sir or madam” is unacceptable because you would have learnt their names by now.
Example of a Rejection Letter
Dear Mrs. Murray,
I am sincerely grateful for the offer of working with your company as a Senior Branch Manager. After careful consideration, I have chosen another offer that is better suited to my salary expectations, expertise and career projection. I am appreciative of your valuable time and contemplation. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet your exceptional colleagues Daniel and Shedrach.
I am certain that your company will continue in its trajectory to achieving great things. I anticipate only greater success in the future.
How You Reject an Offer Says a Great Deal about Who You Are As a Professional
The main aim is to minimize any backlash towards you in the future. You want to maintain your reputation and not burn any bridges behind you.
For whatever reason, a job offer might just not live up to your expectations. It is fine to refuse a proposal. In some cases, you can even submit a counter. At the end of the day, you want to be honest with the employer. Respond in a timely manner and give them enough time to reach out to the second person on their list, if they so choose.
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