How To Decline A Job Offer After Accepting (With Sample Email)

a picture of business person and how to decline a job offer after accepting

Did you already accept a job? But not feeling like this is the right move for you after giving it some thought? Here’s how to decline a job offer after accepting it.

Firstly, you have more flexibility than you might think. Most resources will tell you that you might have a difficult time navigating this scenario. But it’s quite simple if you don’t overthink it.

Ready to get started? Let's go!

When Can You Withdraw Your Employment

Did you already sign the employment agreement? Did you not sign it yet? Either way, you can still rescind yourself from the job. The reality is, you have up until your very first day of employment to be able to withdraw yourself.

If you wait too long, you most likely will be taking a hit on your reputation. And reputation is significant in the job market today. That said, all employers know that situations change, and they need to be flexible.

Simply put, you can withdraw your employment up until your very first day of work.

Should You Turn It Down

Before you go ahead and communicate with the HR manager that you are going to withdraw yourself be sure that you spend the time to ensure this is the right path for you.

Did someone give you a better job offer? If that’s the case, be sure that you absolutely know that you have that job locked in. You don’t want to get into a situation where you accepted one job offer that ends up falling through while withdrawing from the other. That’s probably the worst situation that could occur.

If you still feel this is the right move for you, be sure you don’t waste any time. Communicate with the HR manager as soon as you possibly can. The more time you wait and the closer it gets to your start date, the worse of an impact it will have on your reputation.

Should I Continue Interviewing After Accepting An Offer

This question comes up a lot. An interviewer is asking, "Should I continue to apply and interview for jobs even after I've accepted a job offer?" The answer is no. That's because you should have made sure that the job you were applying for is one that's going to have an impact on your career path as well as be beneficial to your financial requirements. If it wasn't, you might want to calibrate how you are performing your job search.

How To Decline The Job Offer After Accepting Email

If you want to withdraw after you’ve accepted the employment offer, you’ll want to keep your email and reasoning quite simple. I would recommend email as your form of communication as the phone encourages the interviewer to pry into your personal reason for declining. If they call you, be sure that you reiterate exactly what you said by email.

Here’s an example of what you’ll want to say by email:

Hi [Hiring Manager],

Unfortunately, I am going to need to withdraw my employment. I apologize for this inconvenience, and I realize this puts the company in a challenging position to make a replacement. I wouldn’t have made this choice unless it was for serious reasons.

I hope this doesn’t diminish the opportunity for us to work together in the future.

Thank you,
[Your name]

That example keeps it to the point and doesn’t elaborate on your reason for withdrawing even after you’ve accepted their offer for employment.

What you want to avoid is anything that:

  • Over explains why you are withdrawing.
  • Being overly apologetic about your withdraw.
  • Alluding to the fact that you’ve done something illegal (which you haven’t).
  • Explaining personal reasons or elaborating on your personal life, keep your personal life private.

Declining The Job Offer Email Subject Lines

If you're sending the email above, you might not be sending it to an email thread. If that's the case, here are some professional and courteous email subject lines that you can use to inform the employer that you will be passing on the job opportunity.

  • "Regarding [Job Title] Opportunity"
  • "Regarding The Employment Opportunity"
  • "Rergarding The Offer For [Your Name]"
  • "Regarding Our Discussion On [Date]"

If It's Not By Email, How Do You Decline A Job Offer Over The Phone

If you're discussing over the phone, the principals of declining the job offer (even after accepting it) are the same. You should be polite, thankful, courteous, and apologetic for the fact that you have to go with someone else. Here are a few example answers to what you can say over the phone, depending on the scenario that you're in:

Already accepted but need to decline the offer

"This job opportunity is one that I'm incredibly gracious for. I understand how much effort your team put in to ensure that you created the ideal position for me. I can't thank you enough. Though new information has come to light for me, I have to withdraw my employment before the start date. I am deeply sorry for this inconvenience, and I would not be doing so if it wasn't a must."

If you don't want to proceed with the job opportunity

"I'm so thankful for the opportunity that you've provided me. I recognize that you've gone a great distance to make this process easy for me. Unfortunately, I have to withdraw my employment. I took additional time with the opportunity and didn't feel like I can fully commit. I'm deeply sorry for not knowing how I felt about the opportunity earlier. I recognize this will cause a large inconvenience for you."

Try not to tell a lie during this scenario either. Provide communication as soon as you possibly can and go straight to the point. If the HR department replies to you asking for additional questions that they’d like answered, you’ll have to navigate this with brevity and little emotion. Keep your professionalism intact.

Example Of Declining The Job Offer (Even After Accepting) To Stay With Current Employer

Let's say you accepted a job offer and you go to tell your current employer. You sit down with them, explain you'll be leaving. And then they tell you that if you stay, they'll provide you a raise in salary as well as a new job title. This changes your mind about the job you just accepted. How do you handle that? It's simple. Here's what you might want to say in your email:

"I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity that you have provided me. With the time that the team spent with me as well as yourself. Unfortunately, I have to withdraw my employment as I've chosen to stay with my current employer. I apologize for how this inconveniences you and the rest of the team. Please know that I hold everyone in very high regard, and I hope they can understand."

You Always Have Options

Even if you started your first day of employment with a company and you’d like to leave, then you can do so. Leaving a company pretty quickly is fairly common. You have options. Don't ever feel as though you are handcuffed to a position and that all is lost.

Job Seeker FAQ

Questions about the hiring process and when you want to decline a job offer.

What if I received a better offer? Is that a good reason to decline a job?

Yes, it certainly is. It would help if you thought about what's best for you and your career goals as well as your family.

What if I got an offer letter? Is it too late to decline a job offer?

No. But it will be more difficult to do so. You'll need to explain to the company's hiring manager that you had to reconsider very quickly and apologize about what you have to do.

What if I decline a job offer because the salary negotiation isn't going well?

You can say that you need to seek a new future opportunity because you cannot get on the same page about compensation. This is absolutely okay to say to your hiring manager.

Do I need to send an offer rejection?

It doesn't need to be a formal job offer rejection letter. But it should be an email, like the one provided above in our email sample.

Should I mention why I am rejecting?

Only if it is related to salary. It would help if you didn't say anything about the company culture or anything that was part of your decision. The decision that you made needs to stay private. For example, feeling like this isn't your dream job. Just inform your HR representative that this was a difficult decision, but you need to withdrawal yourself.

What is a rejection letter?

A rejection letter is an older form of declining a job offer. It is more formal and outlines reasons for declining, much like a resignation letter indicates. But this is not necessary for a candidate in today's modern employment world.

Can I decline right after my job interview?

Yes, withdrawing yourself after your job interview is the best time to do so. Your recruiter will appreciate you doing it so early in the process. You can say it simply wasn't a good fit, but you appreciate the opportunity and want to stay in touch.

Job Offer Resources

Similar resources

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo,, SparkHire,,, FairyGodBoss,, St. Edwards University, NC State University,, Thrive Global,, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

Fact checked: Our small and dedicated team rigorously evaluates every article, guide, and reference to ensure the information is accurate and factual. Learn more.


Help us by spreading the word