Career Advice, Interviews

How To Turn Down A Job Offer Without Burning Bridges

Businesswoman handing paper to co worker

You’ve scoured the internet and Glassdoor and have spent hours of research trying to find a job that interests you and fits your life. 

You find one, attend the interview but then decide it’s not quite right for you. However, you’re then contacted to say that the company was really impressed and they want to offer you the role. 

You’re now faced with the difficult task of telling the hiring manager that you won’t be accepting the offer. How can you do this without burning bridges?  

Don’t Hesitate 

First and foremost, once you’ve decided not to accept the offer, you should inform the hiring manager of your decision straight away. They’ll need to know as soon as possible as they may need to let others in the company know that you won’t be joining them. 

Your decision to reject their offer may come as a surprise and they may not have planned for it, but if you inform them as soon as you can, they may be able to offer the job to another candidate. 

Delaying the news may not be good for you either. Why would you want to stress yourself out by sitting on your decision and worrying about how they’ll react to your news?  

The sooner you get it out of the way, the quicker you can both move on. 

Be Appreciative 

A lot of effort goes into hiring. From advertising the role, sorting through CV’s and arranging interviews – the whole process can take weeks, even months depending on the role.  

You don’t want to come across as dismissive of their efforts by being unappreciative. Soften the blow by first thanking them for their time and follow this with a couple of things that impressed you about the company before moving on to tell them that you won’t be accepting their offer.

Give a Reason, But Keep It Brief

The easy option is to say that you don’t want the job and leave it at that. However, by letting them know what made you come to this decision, you could help the company improve its hiring process in the future.   

You don’t need to go into all the details for your reason. If it’s something specific such as a low salary, you could say, ‘Thank you so much for considering me for the role, but after careful consideration, I’ve decided to accept another offer with a salary that is in-line with what I’m looking for.’ 

If it’s the case that they’re offering a low salary or poor perks, be prepared for the company to come back with an improved offer. 

RELATED: How To Negotiate Your Salary 

If this still doesn’t persuade you, a ‘Thank you for your revised offer, but it’s not what I’m looking for at the moment’ note is fine. 

Choose How You’ll Deliver the News 

It’s perfectly acceptable to email the hiring manager telling them of your decision. And some companies will ask for your decision to be in writing. 

Here’s an example of the type of email you could send: 

“Dear [name of hiring manager]

Thank you for offering me the role of [job role]. I was very impressed by the company and the team. 

However, at this time, I feel the role doesn’t fit with my career plans. 

Thank you again for this opportunity and I wish you the best for the future.

Yours sincerely

[name]” 

Most people prefer to deliver the news by email but if you’ve mostly corresponded by phone or if you’re not comfortable with sending an email, a call may be better. 

Keep in Touch 

Saying ‘no’ doesn’t have to be the end. If you like the company but the role isn’t quite right for you at this time, you could suggest staying in touch. 

For instance, you could connect with the hiring manager on LinkedIn or follow them on Twitter. Then when a suitable role becomes available you could send them a message notifying them of your interest. 

Before you connect or follow them, ask if this is OK as it may come across creepy if you’re suddenly popping up all over their social media. 

If you’re not a fan of social media, a speculative email a couple of times a year can be enough to remind them of your interest in the company. 

RELATED: Follow Up On Your Job Application With This Easy Template

Before Delivering Your News, Are You Sure You’re Making The Right Decision? 

Before you commit to turning down the offer make sure it’s the right decision. As once you’ve said ‘no’, it’s really hard to go back to them saying you’ve changed your mind. Firstly, your indecision could make you look flaky and secondly the hiring manager may not trust that you won’t change your mind again shortly after starting.  

Before informing them of your decision, ask yourself:

  1. Do I believe in what the company is doing?
  2. What is it about this role that is turning me off?
  3. Will I regret not accepting this role in the future?
  4. Will this job help advance my career?

If, after answering these questions, you still can’t decide what to do, talk to someone close to you. This could be a family member, friend, lecturer… whoever it is, you must trust that they’ll give you their honest opinion and unbiased feedback. 

Leave a Review

Lastly, to help other job seekers find the company and prepare for an interview there, leave a review of your experience on the company’s Glassdoor profile. 

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