How to Turn Down a Job Offer Gracefully (+ Example Email) [2020]

how to turn down a job offer

Turning down a job offer can be difficult for job seekers. It can cause a job seeker to question their career goals, motivators, and feel uneasy about what the rejection is going to do for their relationship with the hiring manager and employer. The process for gracefully turning down a job offer is quite simple but takes clear and professional communication in order to execute.

Before a candidate decides to write a rejection letter or rejection email, they should consider the factors that are motivating the decision to turn down the job offer. Is the salary lower than expected but the candidate didn’t engage in a salary negotiation? Is the company culture not what was expected? Some rejection factors like low salary can be handled with better communication as a candidate. But other factors may be irreparable and it’s time to write the rejection email to the company and hiring manager.

Good Reasons for Rejecting a Job Offer

Below are good reasons for rejecting a job offer:

For job seekers, these reasons don’t need to be outlined in the job rejection email or letter. Having internal reasoning behind the decision is enough to move forward with the rejection process and turning down the job offer.

Send a Rejection Email and Turn Down the Offer

Job seekers should send a rejection email as soon as they feel comfortable with their decision to rescind their potential employment. This could be after the first interview in the interview process. Or after receiving the job offer. It’s important to communicate with the hiring manager, HR manager, or recruiter of the desire to withdraw.

Whether it’s after receiving an offer letter or after having the first phone interview, within any part of the hiring process it’s polite and respectful to communicate the decision to move forward with another potential employee.

Tip: A job candidate should still want the recruiter or hiring manager to feel as though the candidate is a “good fit” for the role even after rejecting the job offer letter or rejecting the job after a job interview. This is the ideal outcome for the potential employee as they could come back to the offer from the prospective employer at a later date and start discussions once more.

The only step that truly needs to be taken by a job seeker in order to turn down the offer is to send back a formal email indicating that they’d like to withdraw.

Sample Email

Below is a sample email or sample letter rejecting a job offer. It is more common for the rejection process to take place by email rather than writing a formal letter and mailing it to the employer or human resource department.

Dear John —

I wanted to email you to express my desire to rescind and withdraw my potential employment. This was a difficult decision but I have decided that it is very early in the process for me and while it was wonderful to be able to receive a job offer so quickly (from a company that is clearly my dream job), I’d like to wait on deciding what my new job should be for a few weeks. I’d like to stay in the job hunting mode for now.

I wish the team continued success with their work, clearly, they are onto some groundbreaking revelations that will be impactful to the company and the industry.

I hope we can stay in touch and revisit this or another opportunity down the road if it presents itself.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur,, SparkHire, and many more.


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