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

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.

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Table Of Contents

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 very important 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 by the phone tends to encourage 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:

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.

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

If you're having a discussion 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 and 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 aren't wanting 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 don'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. Simply provide the communication as soon as you possibly can and go straight to the point. If the HR department replies back 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.

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