The 4 Best Ways to Turn Down a Job Offer

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Getting a job can be difficult: it usually requires you to send out several resumes and cover letters, go to various interviews, and then hopefully receive a job offer. Being selected as the best candidate is a great achievement, and for many people it can be difficult to say no once an offer comes in. This is especially true for people who have been out of work for a while or really need the money, but if the fit isn’t right, it is necessary to decline the offer. Determining how to turn down the offer in a respectful way that won’t damage your career or take you out of the running for future openings is difficult, but it can be done. Before you do decline the offer, be sure that you have carefully considered the reasons that you don’t think it’s a good fit. Then, take these steps in order to decline it in the best ways possible.

1. Try to negotiate

If you feel that the job is the right fit but the money isn’t enough, then you need to address that issue with the hiring manager. Unless the offer was given with a caveat that the salary was already set at that amount, you should be able to negotiate. Make a counter offer and see what happens. According to Chron, it can help to research an appropriate salary in your area, be confident, and if possible, try to negotiate face-to-face. If you are concerned about the hours or the lack of time off, you can also try to negotiate a better schedule. When it comes to job offers, almost anything is negotiable. In order to successfully turn down a job, you should first be sure you have done your best to make it work.

2. Show appreciation for the offer

Even if you are not going to accept an offer, then be sure to still show appreciation for the person’s time and for the offer itself. If you received several job offers and you chose a different company and the recruiter asks why, you can say the other offer was a better fit. However, remember that you don’t want to burn any bridges, so providing too many details is not a good idea.

If you don’t have any other offers, don’t be tempted to accept the offer just because nothing better has come up. According to Career Builder, if you say yes to a job offer that you don’t really feel comfortable with, you are also saying no to better job offers that might come in soon. Unless you are in a desperate situation, you are probably better off thanking the person for their time and the offer, but waiting for a better fit.

3. Be prompt and succinct

If you truly feel that the job won’t work for you, make sure that you notify the hiring manager immediately. The company needs to fill the position, and other people are probably waiting to hear back as well. It is acceptable to explain why if appropriate, but be sure to do it in a concise way. There’s no reason to share anything too personal. If something unusual came up between the time that you interviewed and the time that the job was offered, you really don’t need to share personal details. If you cannot come to an agreement about pay or other aspects of the job, or the job requirements simply didn’t match up with what you originally thought, then you can say that. Remember that you may want to work for the company in a different position down the road so you should stay professional.

4. Write a letter

If you have already declined a job offer, writing a letter might seem superfluous. However, it can be more professional to write a letter. The hiring manager also might appreciate your extra effort, and this can increase the chances that you can still work at that company in the future if a job that is a better fit comes up. According to Monster, when writing the letter, it’s important to be prompt, courteous, diplomatic, and concise. You can also reiterate that you truly appreciate the value of the company and the time that the person spent with you, but don’t spend so much space complimenting the company that it will send a confusing message.

The most important things to remember when declining a job offer is to be respectful, grateful (but not overly so), and to be as professional as possible. Even if you believe that you will never wish to work at the company, if you act rudely you risk causing permanent damage to your career because you never know who the person doing the hiring may know at other companies.

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