How to Decline a Job Offer

Declining a job offer can be quite an awkward task, especially after everything you’ve gone through to get it. Here’s how to do so without burning any bridges.
Ivy Simon
Editorial Writer
How to Decline a Job Offer

Getting your first job offer as a fresh graduate can be a great feeling, but what if the offer you received was not the one that you are looking for? In this situation, how do you turn down the offer without ruining the relationship with the hiring manager and the company? 

Sometimes it is necessary to turn down a job offer for any number of reasons. These could include: realising the position is not a right fit for you, wanting to accept a different job offer instead, or perhaps a desire to pursue your other interests. Regardless of your motivations, it is important to be professional and respectful when turning down a job offer from a company. Here are some tips:  

Show Appreciation

As contradictory as it may sound, the first step to declining an offer is to show gratitude for the opportunity. The recruiters and hiring managers have, after all, spent time and resources into going through your application, interviewing you, and offering the position to you. 

As a result, it is important to thank them for their consideration and time. In addition, be open and specific about anything you valued through the job application process, such as the opportunity to learn more about the organisation or the chance to meet them. 

Don’t delay in responding

Once you have made up your mind to reject a job offer, do not delay in writing back to the employer. 
The sooner the employer knows your decision, the sooner they can make any necessary arrangements to move forward with other candidates. Being prompt in your response shows your respect for the employer and their time, and helps you cultivate a professional image. 

Keep it short and straight to the point 

There are many reasons to decline a job offer. Maybe the salary did not meet your expectations, or you realised you were ultimately not as excited about working for the company in the end. However, it is important to remember that when declining a job offer, be straightforward and honest in your response. 

You do not have to give a complete account of why you are turning the job offer down, but don’t get defensive or emotional either. While you have no obligation to give the employer a specific reason for your rejection, you also don’t want to say too little or bring up anything negative. Sometimes, recruiters may even appreciate if you give specific reasons because it can serve as good feedback for them.  

Here are some examples of appropriate responses you can give:

  • “After careful consideration, I’ve decided to accept a position at another company.”
  • “After much consideration, I have decided to pursue another role that will offer me more opportunities to pursue my interests in [insert interest] and [insert interest].”
  • “I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to discuss salary expectations with me. However, I will have to decline this role/job offer as the salary is too far outside of what I require at this moment.”

Offer to stay in touch

If you have built a relationship with the hiring manager but have decided to reject the job offer, you can actually still consider asking to stay in touch on a professional basis. It is, of course, entirely up to you whether you want to do so. But having more professional contacts is never a bad thing.

You never know as well where your career may take you. Perhaps you might end up applying for a different role with this same employer again in the future! This is why it’s important to maintain professional relationships wherever you can and not burn any bridges in the process of rejecting a job offer.

Example Responses

As mentioned above, you should be clear, to the point, and straightforward in your response when rejecting a job offer. Here are two example emails that show you how to politely decline a job offer:

Example 1:

Subject line: Job offer – [Your name]

Dear Mr./Ms. [insert name of hiring manager],

Thank you very much for offering me the role of [insert name of position] with [insert company name]. Though it was a difficult decision, I have accepted a position with another company.

I sincerely enjoyed our conversations and appreciate you taking time to interview me over the course of the past few weeks.

Again, thank you for your time and consideration, and I hope our paths cross again in the future.


Example 2:

Subject line: Job offer – [Your name]

Dear Mr./Ms. [insert name of hiring manager],

Thank you very much for offering me the role of [insert name of position]. However, I have ultimately decided that this position is not the right fit for my career goals at this time.

I enjoyed our conversations at the various career fairs as well as all the discussions with your team, and I very much appreciate your taking the time to share all the information about the role and the company culture.

Once again, thank you for your time and consideration; and I hope you and your team manage to find the right person for the position as well.