So, you’ve applied for a number of different jobs and you have given interviews at a few different companies. You quickly hear back from two companies, who both extend you an offer to work for them. What should you do?
First, congratulations on being extended a job offer, that’s a big accomplishment. But now you are in the position where you will have to turn one down, which may feel difficult given how much you have invested in your job search.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss how to decline a job offer. We will also provide you with an example email you can use to help you decline an employer’s job offer.
Before You Turn Down an Offer
When you notify an employer that you are not going to take them up on a job offer, there is no going back. Even if you ask the employer to extend the offer again, doing so may send a negative signal. They may think that your other deal fell through and wonder whether you are the right candidate for a job.
Before you turn down an offer, you should take some time to reflect on whether you want to decline the job offer.
If you are unsure, think about the reasons behind your hesitation. Careful consideration will help you decide which job offer you should decline and which one you should accept. Here are a few questions you can use to evaluate if a job offer is worth turning down:
- What does this job offer lack?
- Will I regret not taking this job offer further down the line?
- Will this job help me reach my long-term career goals?
Once you have considered these questions, you should have a better idea about whether you should turn down an offer. If you are still struggling to make a decision, then you should make a list of all the features in a job that you care about, then rank them in order of importance. If the job does not meet your top requirements, you should consider whether it is the right one for you.
Steps on How to Turn Down a Job Offer
So, you’ve decided that you are going to turn down a job offer. What’s next? That’s a great question. Let’s discuss the main steps you should follow next.
Step #1: Thank the employer
The first step to turning down a job offer is to thank a hiring manager for extending an offer and for taking the time to speak with you.
Although their job is to evaluate candidates for jobs within a business, they will have spent a lot of time thinking about you and whether you were a good fit. A hiring manager has had to do research, host meetings to discuss your candidacy, and take a chance on you being the right fit.
When you’re ready to decline a job offer, start by thanking the hiring manager. This will go a long way to maintaining a professional reputation even though you are not going to be working for the business.
Step #2: Provide a reason
While you are not required to provide a reason for turning down a job offer, doing so is a strong act of professionalism. If a hiring manager has spent hours interviewing you, being told that you are turning down the job may be confusing.
The hiring manager may think: Why did this person turn down the job? Was our offer not sufficient enough? The last thing you want to do is leave them with these questions without answers.
Your reason should be both honest and to-the-point. For instance, if you have a better offer to work elsewhere, you should tell the hiring manager you will not be accepting his offer. Or if you felt like the job lacked something, you could say that you are going after another role that closely aligns with your long-term goals.
Step #3: Stay in touch
Even if you turn down a job offer, there is no need for you to completely cut ties with the company. If you have built a good connection with a hiring manager or recruiter, you may want to offer to stay in touch with them after the interview process.
This presents you with a good opportunity to build your professional network, which may be able to help you later in your career. This will also help you leave the door open for future opportunities at the company in the future.
Tips on How to Turn Down a Job Offer
If this is your first time rejecting a job offer, or if you are still unsure about how to deliver the news, then you may want to consider the following tips as you turn down a job offer:
Tip #1: Be prompt
When a company extends a job offer, they may give you a certain time frame to consider the offer and submit a response. The time frame can usually be a few days or weeks. If you have decided that a position is not for you before the time frame expires, let the recruiter know.
The earlier you notify the company that you will not be taking a position at their organization, the more time they will have to extend an offer to another candidate. After declining an offer, the business may need to hire someone for the position as soon as possible. So by responding to them sooner than later is best practice.
Tip #2: Consider leaving the discussion open-ended
If you are turning down a job because the position is not right for you at the time, you may want to keep the discussion open-ended. For instance, you could say that you don’t think the opportunity is right for you, but that you are still interested in the company.
Employers will understand if you think a job is not right for you at the time. As mentioned earlier, there is no need for a relationship with an employer to end as soon as you have informed them that you cannot accept an offered position.
Tip #3: Be concise
It may be tempting to spend a few minutes writing about how the company sounds like a great place to work and to discuss how polite everyone has been to you. However, this is still a rejection letter. If the company was that great, then you would be going to work for it.
When you notify an employer about not accepting a job, make sure that your answer is precise and concise. Tell them that you are turning down the offer, state a reason why, and then move on.
Turn Down A Job Offer Email
One of the most common ways to turn down a job offer is to send an email. Here is an example email that you can use as inspiration for writing an email to turn down a job offer:
Subject line: Job offer
Dear Ms. Isaac,
Thank you for extending me an offer to work as [Position] at [Company]. However, I would like to decline this offer. After further contemplation, I have decided that this role is not a great fit for me based on my goals at this time.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
I enjoyed corresponding with you and learning more about your organization and I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to interview me.
Thank you again for considering me for this role.
This email starts with a thank-you note to the employer. Then, the candidate declines the job offer. The candidate also provides a short reason as to why they are turning down the offer.
Toward the end of the email, the candidate expresses their sincere appreciation for the time and effort that the employer has invested in evaluating them. This letter allows the candidate to show that they have considered their decision in-depth and politely informs the employer that the position is not a good fit.
Turning down a job offer can feel unnatural and can be a difficult decision. After all that work talking to a company, you may have to tell them that a position is not right for you.
If you are offered more than one job or are offered a job that, after deeper consideration, does not align with your needs, you should notify the respective employer that you are turning down the job. This will help you maintain a good relationship with an employer even though you are not going to work with them, and will give them time to consider their next steps and reach out to another candidate.
By following the tips in this article, you should be able to turn down a job offer gracefully and professionally, without leaving the wrong impression on an employer.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.