How to Decline a Job Offer Politely

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What is one way to politely decline a job offer?

To help you politely decline a job offer, we asked business professionals and leaders this question for their insights. From showing appreciation and gratitude, to proofreading before sending, here are several tips to keep in mind when declining a job offer.

Here are nine tips to decline a job offer politely:

1. Show Appreciation and Gratitude

Firstly, show appreciation and gratitude to the hiring manager who extended the offer. Don’t forget that they put in the tough and time-consuming work assessing you, and you should show some consideration of this. Secondly, honestly explain why you’re unable to accept the offer. There’s no need to go into too much detail, but they do deserve to know your basic reasons for turning them down.

Stephanie Tanhueco, C9 Staff

2. Offer to Stay in Touch

One way to politely decline a job offer is to stay in touch. This can be as simple as leaving a quick message or actionable by providing a way to keep in contact. For example, you can state that you hope to cross paths in the future and/or ask to connect on LinkedIn. Offering to stay in touch with a hiring manager is always a good idea. You never know what future opportunities may come your way if you do.

Adrian James, Markitors

3. Choose a Comfortable Medium of Communication

There’s no hard and fast rule that limits employees to a specific medium of communication. If you find that you’re able to better express your feelings via an in-depth email over a phone call, then stick with it. By choosing a platform that you’re comfortable with, you’ll be able to authentically express your concerns and highlight the reasoning behind your decision so that you paint a clear picture.

Richa Nathani, Dialed Labs

4. Respond in a Timely Manner

There are many ways you can respectfully decline a job offer, but all of them require you to do it immediately. It doesn’t matter how valid your reasons are or how professionally you phrase your message; if you make an employer wait too long, you can be sure that the bridge will stay burned. If you intend to pass up a job, do it formally within two days of receiving an offer. Earlier is better, but any later than that is very inconsiderate and disrespectful.

Johannes Larsson,

5. Offer to Share Details with Other Potential Candidates

When declining the job opportunity, offer to share the details with other potential candidates you may know in your circle. This helps build a good rapport with the HR team making the offer and enables you to gain the reputation of a proactive and helpful person. On the other hand, when you pass on news of the opportunity to others, you will also be of tremendous help to those who may require the very position you are turning down.

Krista Haws, Dripped Coffee

6. Consider a Phone Call

Sending an email noting you decline the job offer is acceptable in most cases, but calling them takes the polite gesture to the next step. It may not be a comfortable approach for everyone, but making a call informing the employer of your decision adds a personal character to it. Either through a phone call, video conferencing, or the like, it gets your reasons across more directly. It also helps avoid possible miscommunication in context or tone that emails may fail to communicate.

Arthur Iinuma, ISBX

7. Thank Them for Their Offer

You must do so gracefully, keeping in mind that it probably took a lot of work for a hiring manager to get to the point of making a job offer. So, you should be upfront, thanking that hiring manager for the offer. Say how much you appreciate their time and consideration of your application. Then, clearly explain why you cannot accept the position, and wrap it up by wishing them success in the future.

Jon Schneider, Recruiterie

8. Use ‘Fit’ as the Scapegoat

If you’re declining a job offer because something about the culture or business itself is unappealing, you’ll want to tread lightly to avoid the worst-case scenario: blacklisting your name in the industry with a disgruntled hiring manager who tells their friends all about you. Instead, simply say that you don’t feel the role is the right fit for you, after you thank them for the offer, of course. A hiring manager might be disappointed temporarily, but in the long run, they’ll be thankful. When you don’t see long-term potential, you’ll be saving yourselves both pain and inconvenience later on.

John Li, Fig Loans

9. Proofread Before Sending

Even when you are turning down a job offer, it is important to be as professional as possible. Many times applicants forget to look over their rejection emails and leave them with glaring spelling or grammar mistakes. It is best to leave a company with a good impression, in case an opportunity arises with their organization in the future.

Jacob Dayan, Community Tax

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