How to Decline a Job Offer Gracefully - Dynamic Search

How to Decline a Job Offer

Anyone can decline a job offer. But knowing how to decline a job offer gracefully, and without damaging potentially useful connections, is a valuable skill for your career. If you’ve never turned down a job offer, you might not know where to start. That’s where we’re here to help.


Common Reasons For Why You May Decline a Job Offer

You’ve been through the application process, spent hours on your CV, gone through interview after interview… So why, after all that work would you decline a job offer? Well, there are a few very good reasons that you might, and should, turn down a job offer.


The Offer Isn’t What You Were Expecting

It’s not uncommon for a company to list a salary range on their job advert, like £40,000 – £50,000. This gives them some wiggle room when it comes to a job offer, and some flexibility in the level of seniority that they hire. Some businesses however, use an attractive salary as a way to attract more candidates, only to then lowball them with a salary off at the end of the process.

But, if you’re offered a salary that is lower than you were expecting, that doesn’t mean you should turn down the job offer immediately. Job offers and salaries are completely negotiable. They’re so negotiable in fact, we wrote an entire guide here, to help you negotiate a salary during the job offer process.

But if the salary isn’t right, and they won’t meet you where you need them to, then declining the job offer is absolutely the right thing to do.


You Are Considering a Counter Offer

So you’ve got a lovely new job offer on the table. Paying you what you want, at a company you like. But as soon as you tell your current company about the job offer, suddenly they come back with a counter offer!

Given how competitive the job market is right now in the UK, counter offers are becoming more commonplace. And if the higher salary they’re offering you is all that you are looking for, it may be worth consideration. However, we’ve written about some of the things you consider, before you accept a counter offer.


You Have More Than One Offer on the Table

You might even be in the fortunate position of having more than one job offer on the table. While a good problem to have, it can still be a problem. And at the end of the day, you are going to have to decline one of the job offers you have.

But before you decline one of the job offers, there’s a few different things you should consider before making your choice.


The Job Isn’t Right for You and Your Career Plans

A job advert can only convey so much information. Sometimes in the interview, you find that the role doesn’t offer the progression plans you are looking for, or the development opportunities aren’t quite right.

But it’s only by getting through the interview process and asking the right questions that you can find out that a job isn’t right for you.


The Company Culture Isn’t a Right Fit

With how much time we spend at work, it’s important to ensure that you enjoy that time. Which doesn’t just mean your job itself, but the culture of the company and the people who work there.

If the culture of the business and the people that work there doesn’t align with your own values, it’s worth taking the time to consider whether you would actually enjoy your time there. If not, it might not be the company for you.


How to Decline a Job Offer, Gracefully

Once you’re sure in your decision, it’s time to decline the job offer. And decline it without damaging your industry reputation and burning bridges with the interviewer. While these may sound quite hefty subjects, they do happen. But they are also very easy to avoid:


Don’t Take Too Long to Reply

You should aim to reply quickly to the job offer with your decision. You will usually be provided a timeframe of when the company expects to hear back from you regarding your decision. Although sometimes, your answer would be expected immediately. So it can be well worth your time, to take the time, and come to a decision of what you would do if you were offered the job.

Being prompt with your reply gives the business and hiring manager the time to offer the position to any other candidates they had in the job process.

And it also helps to protect your industry reputation, and to maintain the relationships you have built over the course of your interview process. While you may not want to join the company right now, your decision and opinions may change later in your career.


Give a Reason For Why You’re Declining The Job Offer

While you don’t need to include the whole reason, you should give a solid reason for why you’re declining the job offer. Especially if the answer is a bit more sensitive, like you didn’t connect with the hiring manager or the members of the team. For instances like that, it’s better to just say something along the lines of “The company culture didn’t seem like a right fit for you.”

Because the aim of giving a reason, is to not burn any bridges that you may want in the future. It’s better to be brief, and be somewhat vague in your reasoning, rather than be outright too negative. Speaking of brevity…


Keep it Short and Sweet

When you reject a job offer, brevity is key. While you should absolutely dedicate some time and effort into your email about why you’re no longer interested in the position, don’t feel the need to write an essay to the hiring manager. In fact, the hiring manager probably doesn’t want to receive an essay on why you’re no longer interested.

Sure, they might appreciate the effort of your thoughtful reply. But they’re also probably going to be disappointed in your decision. And now their focus will turn to offering the role to someone else, or continuing their search for your replacement.

So give them the reason you’re no longer interested in the position (which may help them in their hiring process in the future), but don’t feel the need to go into too much detail. Keep it short, sweet, and appreciative.


Be Appreciative 

While you’re declining the job offer now, you don’t want to damage your chances of working at the company in the future. You may change your mind in the future, at which time it would be incredibly useful to have pre-existing and positive relationships with the hiring manager and team.

In addition, the hiring manager and people you interviewed and spoke with may change companies in the future. And while chances are slim, they could interview you at a different company later in your career: So it’s best not to burn any bridges you don’t have to.

So show your appreciation to the hiring manager and company for their time and consideration. The business has invested time and money into interviewing you and reaching the point of making you a job offer. So while you don’t want the job, you should still thank them for the opportunity.


How Should You Turn Down a Job Offer?

But what about the actual act of declining the job offer? Should you do it over email? Phone? Telegram? Carrier Pigeon?..

A good rule of thumb is to turn down the job offer in whichever manner you received it: Meaning, if you were made the offer over the phone, returning the phone call is a good idea. Or if you were made the offer in person (and it’s not a long distance for you to travel), the best way to decline the job offer would be face-to-face.

However you choose to do it, you should also follow up with an email. This gives you the opportunity to reiterate your thanks for the offer. It’s also never a bad idea to get the rejection in writing, for if you need it for any reason.


Email Templates For Turning Down a Job Offer

We’ve put together a few templates and examples for you to use for your own rejection emails. Because what’s better than helping you decline a job offer? Writing the email for you!


If the Company Culture Isn’t Right For You

Sometimes the job sounds great, but the company isn’t right for you: Which can be a tricky reason to give while remaining polite. So we would suggest keeping it brief, without going into a ton of detail.

Example Email Template: 

Subject: Job Offer – Your Name

Dear [Name of Hiring Manager],

Thank you for offering me the position of [job title]. Unfortunately after careful consideration, I have decided that the role isn’t the right fit for me.

Again, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your time and your consideration, and I wish you all the best with finding the right person for this role.

Many thanks,
[Your Name]


If The Salary Doesn’t Meet Your Expectations

As we mentioned, a salary is always negotiable. If the employer has made the offer, they clearly want you, and it’s always worth taking the chance. 

But if you’ve been through the process and you still have to reject the offer, it’s worth mentioning that was the deciding factor: For the small chance they change their mind after your rejection.

Example Email Template:

Subject: Job Offer – [Your Name]

Dear [Name of Hiring Manager],

Thank you for considering me through the interview process. I appreciate you and the rest of the team at [company name] for taking the time to discuss the salary with me for the [job title] position. Unfortunately the salary offered doesn’t meet my financial needs, and I am unable to accept the role at this time.

Again, thank you for considering me for this position, it’s been a pleasure getting to meet you. I wish you all the best with finding the right person for this role.

Kind regards,
[Your Name]


If You’re Accepting a Different Job Offer

When you’re accepting a different job offer, it can be hard to not hurt feelings. After all, you’re choosing a different company/ job over their offer. But it’s still important to avoid damaging industry connections that may be useful in the future.

Example Email Template: 

Subject: Job Offer – [Your Name]

Dear [Name of Hiring Manager],

Thank you for considering me through the interview process. It’s been great to get to know you and the rest of the team.

While it has been a difficult decision, I have decided to accept another offer that better aligns with my future career goals. This means I will unfortunately have to decline the generous offer you have made.

Again, thank you for considering me for this position, it’s been a pleasure getting to meet you, and I hope we have the opportunity to work together in the future. I wish you all the best with finding the right person for this role.

Kind regards,
[Your Name]


Whatever the reason for turning down the job, you should only accept a job offer when it’s the right role for you. If you work in the IT industry, you can have a look at our open vacancies here, and find a role that you deserve.

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