How to Decline a Job Offer Professionally (With Examples)
There will come a time that as a job seeker, you'll need to decline a job offer. Knowing how to decline a job offer in a professional way is highly useful. It's important to make sure that the hiring manager and human resources team doesn't take insult to your decision to rescind yourself from the hiring process.
Here is how to decline a job offer in a way that will keep a professional relationship intact. And will make sure that you can move forward in your job search.
How to Decline a Job Offer
Follow these steps to learn how to turn down a job.
When turning down a job, it's important to communicate quickly.
The speed of your communication will certainly help the hiring manager with their needs.
Remember, a hiring manager's job is to place a position. And the sooner they learn that you want to turn down the job, the sooner they can move onto replacing your candidacy.
Speed of a response. And letting the manager know that you've decided to decline the job offer quickly is a great way to keep your professional relationship with the manager.
Try to respond within 48 hours of receiving the job offer.
If you need more time to decide, ask the hiring manager if you can take more time to consider the offer.
Be open and honest with your reason
It's best to communicate your reason for deciding to decline the offer. The reason doesn't have to be too detailed.
When communicating your reasoning, using a short, generic description is going to be best.
Remember, the hiring manager works at the company. Meaning, they could take insult to a reason that seems too forward.
Here is an example of communicating a bad reason:
I've decided to decline the offer because I don't see how the company is going to win in the market. It doesn't seem like a leader to me.
Here is an example of a good reason:
I've decided it's best to go with another company at this time. It was a difficult decision as both companies are great. I'd love to stay in touch, though.
Good reasons for declining a job offer:
- A company fits more with your career goals.
- You were offered higher salary.
- Offered better benefits.
- Decided it was best for your family to decline the offer.
- Didn't feel like the "right fit."
Send an email or make a phone call
Send an email or make a phone call. When you know it's time to turn down a job. And you want to communicate quickly, email or a phone call is your best option.
If the hiring manager is expecting a phone call from you, then be sure to make that call.
Or if they're expecting an email, then be sure to send your email.
Remember to send your message within 48 hours of receiving the job offer.
Communicate how this might affect the manager. Is it going to set the team back? Will there be disappointment within the company? Try to show empathy.
When communicating understanding, here is a good example:
While this decision was really difficult for me, I understand how it might be more difficult for you to replace the role last-minute. And I'm very sorry about any issue this might cause.
Thank them for the offer
Being sincere and showing appreciation for the job offer is a great way to ensure that you keep the professional relationship. Networking is one of the best ways to get jobs. And you never know how you'll interact with this manager in the future.
Be thankful for any and all opportunity that was given to you.
Ask to stay in touch
Be sure to communicate that you'd like to stay in touch and be considered for future opportunities.
By communicating this, it shows that you are genuinely interested in the company and future positions.
Here is how to communicate that:
While it wasn't a great fit right now. And the timing just isn't there. I really love the company, the team, and the objectives. I would love to stay in touch for future opportunities. And would love to be considered for anything that might come up.
Job Offer Decline Email Examples
Here are example emails for when you have to turn down a job.
Subject line examples
Subject lines to use:
- My decision on the job offer
- In reply to the proposed job offer
- Job offer response for John Smith
- Regarding the Software Engineer position at Apple
Be sure to customize your email subject lines to both the job title and the company you're replying to.
Showing appreciation for the opportunity
An example email showing appreciation for the job opportunity.
Dear Mr. Smith,
I want to start this email by saying how much I sincerely appreciate the job offer. I'm genuinely very excited about what the company is working on. And I hold yourself, the team, and the company in very high regard.
This was a difficult decision for me. But I have decided that it's best I move onto other opportunities right now. As there isn't a clear fit for me.
I would love to be considered for future opportunities. And I would love to connect on LinkedIn and stay in touch.
Thank you so much,
Rejecting the job due to salary
Example email rejecting a job due to salary.
Dear Mr. Anderson,
I'm so thankful for this opportunity. And I want to share how excited I was even to interview with the company. It seems like the team is working on innovative solutions that are going to be bountiful for anyone's career.
At this time, I've accepted another position. And I would like to share the reason why. It simply comes down to having an offer with higher salary and benefits. And this being more bountiful for me and my family.
I hope you can understand.
I would love to stay in touch and keep connected on future opportunities.
Thank you so much,
If you'd like to negotiate rather than reject the job offer, learn how to do that here.
When including reasons for declining the job offer
When it's important to share why you've decided to accept another position with a different employer.
Dear Ms. Suze,
This was a difficult decision for me. And I want to share how much I love the company and the team. Having the opportunity to interview with you is a great honor. And I want to stay in touch for future opportunities at the company.
I want to say thank you for this opportunity, though, I've decided to go with a better offer for now.
The reason for doing so is this:
- More upward mobility with the company.
- A higher salary/benefits package was offered.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
Wanting to stay in touch and keeping your current job
When staying in touch is of importance. Here is a sample of what the email should say:
Dear Mr. Ryan,
I want to get to the point of the email, I've decided that it's best for me to gracefully decline the job offer for right now. It comes down to being a good fit for the position. And right now, I don't see myself as being that person.
I've decided that a new job isn't right for me. And I will be staying with my current company.
I would love to stay connected on future opportunities.
Thank you so much,
Rescind your job application
When it's important to rescind all future job interviews and your application. Here is a sample of what the email should say:
Dear Ms. Eve,
I've decided that I'd like to rescind my job application for now. This doesn't come down to accepting any other position. It is about timing for me. And me and my family have decided that it's best if I stop looking for a new job and stay with the company that I'm currently at.
I hope you can understand.
Thank you for your time and I hope we can stay connected.
Writing a Rejection Letter
At times, you might be asked to write a job rejection letter. This letter could be used for the human resources department. Most commonly, they'll assign the job rejection letter to your HR file.
Here is a sample of what the letter should say:
April 16th, 2021
Software Engineer Position
Dear Mr. Keel,
This job rejection letter is to inform you that I'm officially declining the job offer of Software Engineer at Apple as of April 16th, 2021.
The reason for deciding to decline this job offer is due to the following reasons:
- Concerns about upward mobility.
- Higher compensation offered elsewhere.
While I'm extremely honored to have the opportunity to interview with the company, I understand how this might impact the team and yourself.
I want to express my gratitude and say thank you. I look forward to being a potential candidate in the future. And wish you the best on your endeavors as a team.
Declining a Job Offer After Accepting
What happens if you want to decline a job offer after signing the employment contract? Are you stuck? No! You can politely rescind yourself from the job even after accepting the job offer.
Here's what to say when deciding to decline a job offer after accepting it:
Dear John —
This email comes with a heavy heart. First, I want to express my gratitude for the job. And express how I understand what I'm about to do being difficult for both yourself and the team.
I've decided it's best if I rescind my offer acceptance at this time.
Unfortunately, it comes down to changes that have happened in my life this week and after the time of accepting.
Once more I want to express how sincerely sorry I am for doing this last-minute. Though, I would love it if we could stay connected professionally.
Thanks John, if you have any questions please feel free to call me.
When rescinding your job offer acceptance, be sure your email says the following:
- How sincerely sorry you are for deciding to rescind your acceptance.
- Expressing gratitude for the position.
- Wanting to stay in contact professionally.
- Keep the email polite.
Learn more about turning down a job offer after accepting it.
Declining a Job Offer When Accepting Another Job
When you've accepted another job and want to decline a job offer, here's how to do it. This is the most common type of job rejection email or letter that is sent on behalf of job seekers.
Remember, you don't need to explain yourself. Employers understand that candidates
Email subject: My decision on the Software Engineering position
Dear Ms. Kendal,
Spending time with you and the team was something I wanted to express my gratitude toward. It was wonderful to learn more about the business. And how the team is thinking about the future.
Everyone spent a healthy amount of time explaining their initiatives in detail with me. And I'm very grateful for that opportunity.
I've made the decision, that at this time, it's best if I accept another job offer. I want to provide a few details as to what was part of my decision making process.
Main reasons are:
- More upward mobility and opportunity to advance.
- Desiring to be part of a larger organization.
- The types of projects I'll be exposed to.
This was difficult for me. Ultimately, this comes down to passion. And making sure that I'm able to provide the utmost of passion to you.
I hope we can stay connected and I could be considered for any other job opening that might come up in the near term.
Thank you once again,
Best tips to keep in mind when declining a job offer:
- Be quick. Don't wait too long to inform the hiring manager of your decision to decline the job offer.
- Don't sign. If you aren't sure about the job offer, take the 48 hours you have to consider it. If you need more time, ask for it. Don't sign the contact unless you're absolutely sure you want to join the team.
- Ask for advice. Sometimes, asking a friend or mentor can help to get another perspective on the job offer.
- Always be thankful. In this type of email, it's best to be extremely thankful for the opportunity. Keep the email polite. And sincere.
Our favorite resources are included below.
Job interview resources
- Common Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Preparing for Job Interviews by the University of Kansas
- Mock Interview Handbook by CSUCI
- Interview Guidebook by Lebanon Valley College
Resume and cover letter resources
- Writing a Resume and Cover Letter by USC
- Resume Writing Tips by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Resume and Cover Letter Guide by Harvard University
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