It’s flattering to receive a job offer, especially after going through the trouble of researching and attending interviews. But the job seeking journey is rarely ever straightforward.
Sometimes in the midst of your research and interviews, you might find out that the company culture isn’t the right fit for you. Maybe you’re in a position where you find an offer with better compensation. Or maybe you just aren’t able to relocate for the job.
Whatever your reasons may be, they are completely valid.
Here’s how to decline job offers respectfully without burning any bridges between you and the employer:
1. Don’t leave them hanging
A surefire way to leave a bad impression is to simply ignore the job offer.
We’ve all received an anxiety-inducing message that we put off until it’s too late to respond to. Take control of the situation now so you don’t end up in their “Do Not Hire” list later on.
Any employer is a future employer whether or not you choose to proceed with them at this time.
2. Be honest
If you’re declining the job offer because of compensation, location, or unaligned values, it’s completely fine to make it known – but do it respectfully. If situations change in the future, at the very least they’ll know what you’re looking for.
If they have another open position in the future that fits the bill and they like you enough, they can always reach out to you again.
3. Show your gratitude
Saying ‘No’ to someone doesn’t always feel great – being told ‘No’ on the other hand isn’t any better. So show your gratitude for the hiring manager’s time and effort on you.
Leave on a positive note by mentioning how you enjoyed the conversation you’ve had with them at interviews and the learning experience it taught you.
4. Leave the door open and stay connected
The world is small and every employer is a potential future employer or colleague. Let them know that you are open to working with them in the future should the situation arise.
You could even suggest connecting with the hiring manager or recruiter on LinkedIn to stay in touch!
Here is an example of a message you could send to the hiring manager:
“Hi [hiring manager],
Thank you for considering me for this position. I have to let you know that I have accepted another offer that I feel better fits me at this point in my career.
I am grateful for the conversation we had during the interview and learned a lot from the experience.
I look forward to staying in touch with you on LinkedIn.
Thanks again and all the best!”
Of course, it’s a lot more gracious and personable to inform the employer over a phone call.
Here’s an example of what you can say when declining the job offer: