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How to Politely Decline Job Offer: Tips to do it Right


Staffing and Recruiting Pulse Survey has undertaken recently various studies regarding why job seekers reject or decline a job offer. Recruiters have maintained that 46% of candidates decline a job offer as they have received a better job offer. 30% of candidates decline the job offer as they do not receive their expected compensation and salary. The job offer negotiation thus ends in a deadlock. However the good news is that only 10% of candidates actually reject a job offer. However if you have worked hard on a candidate and the candidate rejects the offer, it could be very frustrating for the HR employee of the company. In case of the candidate he has to face the awkward situation and decline the job offer. The following mentioned are few best and effective techniques and tips to decline a job offer politely.

politely decline job offer

How do you prevent yourself from feeling awkward?

Marjie Terry a communication expert at Great on the Job explains that there may be various reasons why you would be inclined to decline a job offer. Apart from salary and designation issue, you might have not like the company’s environment during the interview process and thus came to a decision that you would not enjoy working in the organization. The act becomes awkward since a week ago, you had given the impression that you would love working in the company. But now that you have a better offer, you are singing a different tune. A good stand to undertake according to Terry is to be very transparent regarding what are your expectations and also to indicate the fact that if they are not met, you would decline the offer. Teach, an expert in the area also feels that most candidates are also scared regarding how the hiring managers would feel, when they hear the about the decision. But the best thing to do is not to take a long time but take a decision and inform the company accordingly.

Various Techniques to Politely Decline Job Offer:

Below we have come to your aide and discussed how to avoid the awkward situation and politely decline the job offer in various ways.

#1 Informing the company over phone regarding your job offer decline:

  • Call Immediately:

    The moment you decide that you are not going to accept the job offer, it is essential that you immediately call the concerned hiring manager and inform them your inability to accept the job offer. This would indicate that you are efficient and they would immediately start the interview process again.

  • Explain the reasons well:

    When you are speaking to the hiring manager you would be asked regarding the reasons why you are not accepting the job offer. The best thing to do here is to thank the hiring manager and the company for the job opportunity and then clearly mention your reasons for declining the job offer politely. Here the conversation should be professional and crisp. The hiring manager might invite you for a face to face discussion. It is up to you to decide whether you would attend the discussion or not.

  • Maintain a professional tone:

    When speaking to the hiring manager you should have a reserved tone, where you thank the company and its entire people, who helped you during the various interview processes. But mention that you would be unable to take up the job offer. Here the tone should be firm and there are high chances that the hiring manager might engage you in a long conversation in order to win you back.

  • Use limited time:

    When declining the job offer of a company, you would be eager to reduce the tension in the conversation. But it is essential that you keep the conversation crisp and do not drag it for more than 10 minutes. Be clear regarding what you say and be diplomatic and tactful.

  • Be sincere:

    During the telephonic conversation do create a sincere impression. Explain the fact that taking the decision was very difficult but it had to be done as you had a better offer which met your career objectives.

  • Concentrate on the conversation:

    It is essential that you concentrate on the conversation and reply the questions you are asked well. You should not offend the person or the company in any way. In the end thank the person for his effort and time and then politely end the telephonic conversation.

  • Decline the job offer in writing:

    To make you look professional, after completing the telephonic conversation write to the hiring manager and politely decline the job offer. This would be a proof that you have completed the process from your end.

#2 Informing the company in writing regarding your job offer decline:

Most candidates prefer to decline a job offer in writing as they feel very awkward to speak to the hiring manager directly. The basic steps to undertake here are:

  • Reply to job offer mail:

    Once you have decided that you are not interested in the job offer, it would be best to reply to the job offer mail, where you decline the job offer politely. It is essential that you do not spend much time to ponder over the job offer, and then the company might think that you are accepting the offer.

  • Letter should be professional:

    When writing the letter address the name of the person who has sent the offer letter to you. This person could be the hiring manager of the company or senior management professional. In the next few sentences you should thank the person and the company for the great opportunity given to you. It is also essential that you mention how every other people who have interacted with you during the various interview procedures have been very kind and courteous with you, and how you have learnt from this entire process. Your aim would be to be as professional as possible.

  • Explain the reasons:

    After declining the job offer, explain in a few sentences regarding why you are rejecting the job offer. Here you have to be concise in your explanation and do not ramble away.

  • Proofread the letter:

    Thank the company and the person in their future endeavors and proofread the letter and keep it free of any grammatical errors. The reader would then get the impression that you are meticulous and organized in your work.

#3 Informing the company regarding your job offer decline in person:

One of the most difficult situations to face is to decline the job offer in person. Here it is important that you fix an appointment with the hiring manager or management personnel and mention why you are meeting him. This would make the person prepared and you will not shock him out of the blue. When you are sitting for the discussion, you have to understand that the person at the other side of the table would do everything to make you accept the offer. Thus you have to maintain a few things which are:

  • Be very honest:

    When explaining the reasons regarding your inability to take up the job offer, appear sincere and honest. It is essential that you mention that the current job offer does not meet your current job objectives and also mention that you have another job offer. Here the hiring manager might pressurize you to explain the various terms and conditions of the other offer. But you need to be firm and mention the basics only.

  • Ask for more time:

    In case you are not fully confirmed whether you would be taking the job offer or not, ask for a little extra time and specify the date by which you would let them know about your decision. This would create a good impression and also make them feel that you are in control of your decision.

  • Maintain appropriate body language:

    When discussing politely regarding your reasons for declining the job offer, you should maintain the appropriate body language. You should never slouch on the chair and fiddle with your fingers. You should maintain eye contact with the person you are speaking and sit upright with hands across the chest.

  • Use a professional tone:

    When speaking to the hiring manager, your pitch should be low and clear in nature. This would make the person listen to you and you would also save time as you do not have to repeat again the things that you are stating. You have to be open to the fact that you would be countered for every explanation you give. Here you need to understand that the other person is also doing his job too.

  • Listen calmly:

    When declining a job offer face to face you have to understand that there would be instances where you have to listen to what the other person is stating. This is necessary as you have to understand their point of view, and you should not appear rude or aggressive or cut them off in the middle of a sentence. The impression that you should impart is that you are very professional and you are sorry that you cannot undertake the job offer.

  • Thank the person:

    After the main conversation is over; thank the person for his time and effort. When leaving the room ensure that you are walking in upright manner and never give the impression that you are leaving abruptly.

  • Conclude by writing a mail:

    After the discussing in person, it would be good if you decline the offer in writing. This would be a proof that you have conveyed your decision to them in a timely manner.

Once you have communicated to the person and the company that you have declined the offer, you would feel that a big load has been taken away. Here you might also feel that the company is negative against you. But you have to understand that this is only for a few days and in the end the company would respect your decision in the long run. Remember the industry is a small place and after a few years you might accept a job offer and start working for the same company. Later on you would be surprised that one of the main reasons why you were approached again for a senior job opportunity was the way you handled and declined their job offer earlier.