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How to politely reject a job offer

Politely rejecting a job offer will not only keep your reputation intact but also make you an interesting candidate for a future position. In this article you can find some tips on how to best do it!
Joyce Schultz

Joyce Schultz

Recruitment Analyst
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How to reject a job offer?

Getting a job offer can be really exciting. Is a testament you performed well in the interview and that you have the right skills and personality for a certain position. But what if you have the feeling you are not a cultural fit, the salary is too low, another position might be more interesting or you don’t want to end up relocating? In these situations, it is worth learning how to politely decline a job offer.

It is not only the right thing to do, but it is critical for maintaining a strong reputation. After all, the same company you end up rejecting a job offer for could be a potentially interesting employer in the future.

In this article we will provide you with some tips on how to respectfully say no to a job offer!

First: do a final check!

Take some moments to reflect if you are really not interested in the job. After all, once you turn down a job offer, there is little chance an employer might consider you again. An employer is unlikely to hire you after you rejected them and the reason is quite simple: turning them down and changing your mind afterwards could suggest you might not stay loyal to the company in the long run.

To be certain that you’re not interested in the opportunity, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why am I not interested in this job? Is there any way I can negotiate with the employer the points that would possibly make me unhappy? (negotiate your salary, working hours, benefits, location…)
  • Is the reason I’m not interested in this job likely to change anytime soon? (location, distance from home)
  • Will this opportunity help me accomplish my future plans?

If you are still unsure, try talking to friends, family members who work in the same position, industry or company. If you don’t know anybody, you can easily make a quick Google search and see what is a normal day in that industry or company looks like. At this point, it might also help to check out the social media of the startup! The recruiter might have given you the wrong impression, and the real culture can be easily reflected in the social accounts. For example, we at Speedinvest Heroes love to share authentic content both on wecanbeheroes.io‘s and Speedinvest Heroes‘s Linkedin profile. We aim to not just help candidates to develop their career but you can also gain a glimpse of how friendly and accepting our environment is. You can also further explore the comments below the social posts: if colleagues comment, make jokes with each other, this can be a great sign of a great culture.

Important: If you need more time to reflect on the job offer, make sure to ask the company when they would like to have a reply. Companies often want to place people as soon as possible and you do not want to miss out on an opportunity because you were too late with your reply!

How to reject a job offer in email

What if, after reflecting, you still decide the position/company is not the right fit for you? 

Respond kindly

The candidate selection process takes a lot of time and resources from the company. Show that you appreciated the time they took to interview you and make the job offer by thanking them for their time and mentioning one or two things that you really liked about the company.

Give a brief, honest reason!

Briefly explain the reason why you didn’t take the job offer. Make sure to be honest and not to include any offensive reasons (personal comments about the interviewer, bad comments about the company…). Remember, you probably still want to be considered for future positions! If you give the company some positive critique, they will appreciate it as it can help a lot to improve their hiring process! But don’t get me wrong, don’t say an improvement point just for the sake of saying it, just if you really encountered it.

Express your desire to keep in touch

Maybe the position is just not the right fit for you at the moment. That does not mean, though, it can not be interesting in the near future! In that case, make sure to let them know you would like to keep in touch with them for future opportunities.

Example sample for how to reject a job offer

Here is an example of a template you can use:

Dear [Hiring Manager Name],

Thank you again for the interview (time)—it was great to meet the team and learn more about the xxx position.

Although I really appreciate the generous offer, after careful consideration I decided not to take the job. While I really enjoyed [one or two things you liked about the company], [reason you’re turning the opportunity down]. 

I would love to stay in touch in case any relevant positions come up in the future.

Kind Regards,

[Your name]

How to decline job offer for specific reasons

Example rejection because of salary

After carefully considering the compensation package explained in your offer, I must regretfully decline. The salary does not meet the financial requirements of my current situation. 

Example rejection because of another job offer

I concluded that your offer is not the right fit for my career goals at this time. Therefore, I have decided to accept a position with another company that is a better match for my current professional goals.

Example rejection because the company is not a fit

Unfortunately, I have decided to accept a position with another company that is a better match for my current goals and expectations.

Rejection after accepting another job offer

This is a tricky situation. But don’t feel bad. It is perfectly acceptable that you might have changed your mind. Bellow are some tips on how to do it the best way possible:

  • Think it through if this is really a job/position you do not want to consider.
  • Read your contract carefully. Make sure there will be no legal repercussions to rejecting the job. For example, some contracts say that you have a certain notice period before quitting the contract.
  • Don’t wait and tell them as soon as possible. Preferably over the phone. Speak with the hiring manager directly. It is the best way to make sure you maintain a positive relationship with him/her despite the circumstances. 
  • Be honest and explain the reasons why you are declining the job offer.
  • Express gratitude. If you quit, they have to start the hiring process from scratch, which takes a lot of time and resources.
  • Make sure to also formally decline the job offer via email.

Example of a template

Dear xxx,

Thank you so much for offering me the position of xxx. It has been a pleasure speaking with you and learning more about your company and the xxx position.

Unfortunately, after careful consideration I have decided that it is in my best interest, as well as the company’s, to turn down your job offer.

I have recently decided to accept another position that I believe is a better fit for me. I am so sorry for any inconvenience my decision may cause.

Conclusion

When sending a rejection email, the most important thing to keep in mind is being kind and respectful towards the startup you have applied for. Make sure to reflect if the reasons for rejection can not be negotiated with the company. If it is still the case you want to reject a job offer, keep the email short and simple, and honest. Show appreciation for the time taken to conduct the interview and include a sentence that you would like to keep in touch for future openings.

Declining a job offer is a big decision and it can be frightening. But when it comes down to it, it’s all about treating the company the way you want to be treated. You can be professional and kind when declining a job offer while still positively being remembered by the company for future openings if you follow the steps above!

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