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Job seeker guide: How to decline a job offer

Published: Monday 28th September 2020

In 2020, with the number of increasing unemployment, job seeking has taken a frantic approach. When the candidates have been hoping to be picked by a company, they all prefer to have a back-up, or even several. Oftentimes, we apply for several jobs in a row, since we do not expect to be hired at the first place we interview. But what happens when you land a great job and then receive a job offer from the other companies you applied to? Maybe the package offered was inadequate as per your current skills and lifestyle, the job description, timing, location, or culture were not the best for you.

Female asian bank job applicant talk to male hr person about declining a job offer at interview meeting

How to decline a job offer is an art that involves tact and diplomacy, because burning bridges by not responding or being rude is not a great career advice. The company whose job offer you reject today, may be the very same one you may need tomorrow. Today’s blog for job seekers will show you how to turn down a job offer, for any reason, with the right attitude and language. Take heed of our tips on how to decline a job offer below and ensure that you leave a great impression on hirers, even if you do not take up their offer.

Tips on how to turn down a job offer

From the job rejection samples given, you will understand that the key takeaway in any of the scenarios is to display the following:

  • Be quick to inform them: If you receive an offer letter you know you will not be taking up, make sure that you inform the hiring organizations as soon as possible. Causing delays in informing them that you are not going to accept the job offer will delay them from reaching their potential employee, thereby wasting their time. Companies recruiting employees hope to close the process as soon as possible, and at times it may be an urgent requirement. Be quick to respond to them with a regret letter promptly, so that they can continue their search and hire someone else fit for the job.
  • Be professional and polite: Being professional and polite while rejecting a job offer is key because there are real people working on a clock to fill vacancies of an organization. Never burn a bridge professionally unless you know that you will never need them. Be tactful in your approach, state your job offer rejection reasons (medical, locational, situational, or generic) and keep it short.
  • Express gratitude: Even though it is an organization you do not need, they entertained your resume, invited you to their interviews and opened a doorway to a career for you. Express your gratitude and regret in the letter by thanking them for the opportunity to interview with them. Gratitude always leaves a lasting impact, so thank the company and the hiring team for their effort and time.
  • Offer them to keep in touch: You can offer the hirers to keep in touch in the future and reach out to them if the opportunity to switch ever arises. This helps bridge the gap between a company and potential candidates, as they can have you on a list for the future. If the situation arises where you need a job, and you have kept in touch with the hirers on their network or any professional social networking platform, you stand a great opportunity to be called back in.
  • Offer a reference if you know someone fit for the job and is actively seeking employment: Sometimes, you have experience how to decline a job offer that does not match your pay scale. Since times are hard for both companies and employees today, it may help if you offer your referral to a deserving candidate you know who fits the job description and is looking for a job. This can help the company find the right candidate for the job they do not know they may have missed out on.

Rejecting a job, you already accepted:

If you have already accepted a job and now want to reject it for your reasons, make sure to read the contract signed to understand if you’ll have to bear any legal consequences (bonds) for it. You should do this in person rather than over an email if there is a contractual obligation involved. If it is an informal acceptance, make sure to explain well your situation to the hirer with regret.

Rejecting a job for your own reasons may seem awkward and anxiety inducing, but with our job rejection tips, you can draft the perfect email that does the job well. We hope you continue learning through our job seeker blogs as we have the latest interview tips and tricks for you to land the perfect job!

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