How to Turn Down a Job Offer Politely, with No Regrets

Looking for a job isn’t always easy, but what is even harder is finding a job that is perfect for you. Sometimes, you might not be offered your dream job. In such cases, you might find that accepting the offer is not an option. Therefore, you need to know how to turn down a job offer without upsetting anyone.

Young man during an interview with a woman

Why turn down a job?

There is nothing wrong with turning down a job offer. If you feel like you cannot work in certain conditions, this is the sensible thing to do. Even if you haven’t thought much about it, you have to be prepared for a situation when you have to say no to a recruiter.

Let’s say you have been dreaming about receiving an offer from a reputable company you knew a lot about. The time has come to invite you for an interview and, in the end, they make you an offer. Your levels of excitement can drop from various reasons.

Reasons to refuse a job offer

You might have been dreaming of working in a certain position, but the company offers you a different job. This might not coincide with your qualifications, or might belong to a field you are not particularly happy about. The problem might also be about money, when you receive a smaller payment than you have expected.

This shouldn’t necessarily be a company you dreamed about. It can be anything that isn’t suitable for you and your requirements. In this case, it’s perfectly okay to say no. This can be seriously unpleasant, so you have to know how to turn down a job offer in a nice and polite way.

Tips on how to turn down a job offer

This is not a nice moment, as you did your best during the interview and now you feel obliged to let the employers down. No matter what your reason is, get ready to be transparent and abandon all awkwardness. Also, don’t forget you shouldn’t feel bad about doing it.

1.      Thank the employer for the opportunity

You should start by showing the employer how much you appreciated the offer. Even if the job is not for you and they might find a better person to occupy that position, they still gave you some of their time. The recruiter consumed several hours to read your resume thoroughly, ask you to come over for an interview, develop the interview, and then consider you for the position.

This is a basic politeness strategy. Even if it won’t improve the situation too much, it will prevent your rejection from being too bold.

2.      Explain why you made this decision

To respect the time they offered you, it would be nice to offer them a reason to why you turned down the offer. However, leave out some uncomfortable details. If it was something about the manager you didn’t like, it’s better if you keep it for yourself.

If you have received a better offer, you can feel free to tell them about it. This way, you’ll give the company a chance to improve some of the benefits it offers to its employees. Also, if you didn’t enjoy the payment or things regarding the schedule, you should talk about it freely.

3.      Be quick with your reply

The search for employees might take a while when the company might actually be in serious need of one. Therefore, as soon as you have decided the job is not for you, let the employers know. If you delay the moment, they might lose another candidate they could have been considering for the position.

In this case, you risk losing all the contacts with this company. You can stay in touch with it and consider future open positions, but letting the employers down will destroy all ties with them.

Man stretching his hand for a handshake

4.      Give them a phone call

The most common practice in job interviews is communicating via email. It might feel more comfortable to write a rejection email, but it would be better to choose the phone alternative. Writing them an email might tell them you are afraid of transmitting your decision.

On the other hand, giving them a phone call is an example of professionalism. Also, this decision is better if you took a lot of time giving interviews and negotiating with the employers. Calling them will show you they respect them and their company, and will maintain a good relationship between you two.

5.      Announce all people you have talked to

This applies only in those cases when you talked both with recruiters and managers. Contacting all of them to communicate your decision will be appreciated, even if you don’t bring any good news.

6.      Say what you liked about the company

Even if the job is not perfect for you, there must have been something you liked about the company. If you are the one that applied for the job, tell them what made you do it. If not, say what convinced you to come and give an interview.

This way, they’ll know what attracts people’s attention, and see how they should promote their company. It might also be a way to sugarcoat your rejection message, but maintaining a good relationship until the end is the key.

7.      Make a recommendation

The job might not be good for you, but it might be just perfect for someone else you know. If you can recommend a person for the position, don’t hesitate to do it. Chances are the person would be really good for the job, and the company will remember you for making a great recommendation.

People sitting at a desk during a job interview

Summing up

Learning how to turn down a job offer politely is necessary as soon as you start going to interviews. Not all jobs might be good for you, so it’s important to know how to tell the employers the bad news. Rejecting offers isn’t something you should feel bad about, but you should know how to be polite and reject a recruiter without being rude.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4.

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