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How to decline a job offer politely

Book open Reading time: 6 mins

It's never easy to say no to a job offer, but sometimes it's necessary. Maybe the position isn't a good fit for you, or the salary isn't what you were hoping for. Whatever the reason, knowing how to decline a job offer with grace and professionalism can make the process much smoother — as well as prevent you from damaging your relationship with the potential employer. Here are some tips on how to reject a job offer politely, along with some email templates to help you get started.

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Declining a job offer step by step

The key to declining a job offer politely is to be respectful and courteous, while still being honest about your reasons for turning down the offer. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Make sure you really want to turn down the offer

Before deciding to turn down a job offer, it's important to take some time to think about it. It's perfectly acceptable to reach out to the company and ask questions if you have doubts or uncertainties about the position before making a decision. Consider how this job opportunity fits into your long-term career goals, and how you would benefit from accepting it. Also, think about the potential consequences of turning down this offer and whether you'll end up regretting it.

Read: How to accept a job offer (+ email template)

2. Answer promptly

Once you’ve weighed all the pros and cons of the job offer and have come to a decision, it’s important to let the potential employer know as soon as possible. The longer you wait to answer, the more time and effort they will have invested in you, and the more likely they are to be disappointed. Other interested candidates might also end up taking the offer if you delay, which could leave the employer in a difficult position and result in a negative impression of you.

3. Show appreciation

No matter what your reason for declining the job offer is, it's always important to show appreciation for being considered for the role. Let them know that you appreciate their time and effort in considering you for the position. Showing appreciation will leave a good impression and ensure that the employer remembers you positively, which could always be useful in the future. You never know — a role that’s a good fit for you might come up at that same company later down the line.

4. Explain your decision

Don’t be afraid to provide a brief explanation for why you are declining the offer. Explain your decision in a polite and respectful way, without getting into too much detail or making any negative comments about the company. For example, you could say that the job isn’t the right fit for your skillset, or that it would require relocating and you’re not ready to do so. This not only allows the employer to understand your reasoning but also shows that you value their time and effort in considering you.

5. Offer to stay in touch if you feel like it

If you feel that you could benefit from staying in touch with the employer, you can always offer to do so. This could be useful if you were seriously considering the position and would like to keep an open dialogue with them in case a future opportunity arises. You could offer to connect on networks such as LinkedIn, which will help keep your name on their radar. Plus, it’s always good to have more contacts in your industry.

6. Proofread your email

Once you have written your email and are happy with it, make sure to proofread it carefully before sending it. This will ensure that all typos and grammar errors are corrected so that your message is clear and professional. You should also double-check the recipient's name and contact details so that they receive the email correctly. This will prevent any misunderstandings or confusion. Our "how to decline a job offer" example below should help you craft your own respectful and typo-free response.

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Email templates to decline a job offer politely

Now that you know what to include in your email and how to do it politely, here are some how to decline a job offer email templates that you can use when declining a job offer:

If you have accepted another job offer

In your search for the perfect job opportunity, you may have received more than one offer — congratulations! If you have accepted another offer and need to turn down the current one, you can use this template to do just that:

Dear _________,

I would like to thank you for considering me for the _______ position. It was a pleasure to meet with you and learn more about the company.

After much consideration, I have decided to accept another job offer. While I was very interested in the opportunity and impressed with your organisation, I believe I should pursue this other opportunity at this time as it [better aligns with my career goals / is closer to home / provides me with more experience, etc.].

I am truly grateful for the time and effort that you invested in me during this process and hope that our paths may cross again in the future.

I wish you all the best with filling this role and your continued success in the future.

Sincerely,

XXX

If the job isn’t the right fit for you

Sometimes, even after carefully considering the job offer, you may find that it’s simply not the right fit for you. Be it due to the salary, location, or any other factors, you can still politely decline by sending a similar email:

Dear _________,

I would like to thank you for offering me the _______ position. It was an honour to be considered and I truly appreciate your interest in me.

After giving the offer careful consideration, I regretfully must decline. Although the position constitutes a great opportunity, I have decided that it is not the right fit for me at this time. This is only due to personal considerations [you can explain this in more detail here] and has nothing to do with the quality of your company or the role itself.

Once again, thank you for your consideration and for giving me the opportunity to interview with your team. I wish you all the best in finding a successful candidate for the role.

Sincerely,

XXX

If the salary doesn’t meet your expectations

Finally, if you are declining the job offer due to salary considerations, you can use this email template:

Dear _______,

Thank you for offering me the position of ____________. I appreciate your consideration and am honoured to be chosen for the role.

After thoughtful consideration, however, I must decline this offer. Unfortunately, the salary is not in line with my expectations at this point in my career. While I believe that working with you and your team would be a great experience, I must keep in mind my long-term goals and financial needs.

It was a pleasure getting to know more about you and the company, and hope that you will keep me in mind for future opportunities that may arise.

Wishing you the best in your search for the right candidate, and success in all your future endeavours.

Sincerely,

XXX

Summary

Declining a job offer can be difficult and uncomfortable, but it is important to do so politely in order to maintain a good relationship with the employer. You should always express your gratitude, explain why you will not be accepting the offer, remain professional, and thank them for their time. If you follow these steps, you can decline a job offer politely and professionally — and who knows, maybe you'll be able to work together in the future.

In the meantime, make sure you continue to prepare for future job interviews to get the role that’s right for you. Our guide on how to prepare for an interview can help you on your way so that you can put all the skills and knowledge you have to use. Good luck!

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