Learning how to politely turn down a job offer, even by email, is important as a professional.
There’s a real possibility that at some point in your career, following an exhaustive job search that you’ll receive multiple job offers. it’s great to have options for a new job in today’s job market, but unless you’re looking to lead a double-work life, after careful consideration, you’ll need to pick one offer that’s a good fit during the interview process and turn down the rest.
How to turn down a job offer by email?
Begin by expressing your appreciation, complementing the company’s culture, and then clearly state your rejection.
At MatchBuilt, we have helped 100s candidates through multiple offer scenarios. This post will detail how to politely turn down a job offer, even in an email. While there may be an unpleasant, difficult conversation, it’s needed to show integrity and professional etiquette. Follow along on how to effectively communicate that you’ll be turning down a job offer.
7 Steps to Politely Turn Down a Job Offer
Congratulations, you’ve built a great resume showcasing your core competencies, perhaps networked on LinkedIn, mastered your pre-interview preparation, and now you’re sitting on multiple offers. You might want to turn a job offer down for several reasons. It could be the salary, a better job offer from a different company, or you could’ve been highly uncomfortable during the job interview process.
Whatever the reason, there’s always a professional way you can handle turning down a job offer. Check out our step-by-step guide to ease your way.
Step 1: Weigh Your Options and Be Punctual
Ask yourself, “Do I really want to turn this job offer down?” “Can I expect a better offer?” The last thing you want is to be unsure of your decision. You can list why you want to turn the offer down to relieve your mind.
Once you’ve done that, it’s immediately time to respond to the offer. Procrastinating and dragging it out too long can show a lack of consideration to the employer. You must remember that they’ve spent a lot of time on the process and will need to call other candidates and offer them the position (if they haven’t already found others yet).
Being punctual is the first step to avoiding burning bridges. Who knows, you might want to contact them later in your career.
Step 2: Decide on the Method of Communication
How are you going to respond? It will most likely be through a rejection letter via email or a call. While most candidates would probably prefer an email, most employers prefer a call.
A call shows more initiative and confidence on your part. It’s the most challenging but rewarding and professional option in the long run. Some emails might go straight to spam or come off the wrong way, while a quick phone call will rip the band-aid off quickly.
Step 3: Be Appreciative
Think about it this way; the employer took their time searching your background, career, qualifications, and what you generally have to offer. They deserve a thank you, at least.
Luckily, you can show your appreciation in numerous ways, whether over the phone or through email. Either way, this will be your entry discussion.
You can say, “I appreciate your time to consider my application. You left an excellent impression on me, and I enjoyed my time learning about your company and what my position would entail.”
You can also mention characteristics you like about their company and give them best wishes for finding job seekers that are a better fit. The more genuine you are, the more it’ll soften the blow of rejection.
Sharing a legitimate reason is one of the most crucial steps to your rejection notice. You can’t simply say, “No, thank you.” It would be best to let your interviewer know what went wrong or why you’re not going forward with the application.
If the roles were reversed, wouldn’t you also want to know why a potential employer turned you down?
You don’t have to go into excruciating detail regarding the red flags and specific reasons you’ll be turning the job offer down. Instead, you can lay the reasons out in points to be more precise and to the point.
Here are some of the reasons you might be rejecting the job offer and how you can appropriately respond to each one.
Better Job Offer Found
The chances of finding yourself in this situation are high. After interviewing and meeting with many employers, you have to pick one. It might offer a better opportunity, career development, or salary.
This reason is common among interviewers. They know you’ve gone through other interviews. You can be straight-forward with them by simply saying,
“After great contemplation, my right decision is to move forward with another employer. They have provided me with a more suitable offer for my skills and requirements.”
Salary isn’t Up to Standard
For this reason, you need to ensure that you’ve adequately negotiated your salary with the interviewer. In some cases, they might offer you a higher one than advertised if you know how to negotiate.
If you see no flexibility in that area, you can be upfront about it. You can respond with something like, “Thank you for the time taken to arrange the salary expectations, and after much deliberation, the amount does not meet my current financial requirements.”
This reason is valid for your financial standing. You might feel that your expertise deserves more than the salary mentioned, and that’s okay.
Uninterested in the Job
You went to the interview and discussed your position, but you might feel that it’s not what you wanted. The job could require more skills than you expected, or maybe it’s too underwhelming, and you prefer your current position. The best response is an honest one in this case.
A good idea is clearly outlining with the following, “I believe my career path does not align with this position.” Another way you can phrase it is, “My skills and background are not the right fit for this job.”
If you were looking for greater career development, you could say, “I am searching for a role with more responsibility.”
Uninterested in the Company
The compensation package and role might be the right fit, but the company? You’re not so sure. After getting interviewed and may be given a brief tour of the company, you might not be a fan of how things are running.
Company culture is a vital factor that you should consider when being interviewed as it will ultimately decide whether you would like to work there or not.
Now, for this reason, you need to tread carefully. You don’t want to offend the company mistakenly, and you don’t have to be completely truthful; instead, you can even give the same response to the previous reason.
The best way to respond would be, “After serious consideration, I believe I’m not the right fit for this job role.”
Lack of Flexibility in Job Position or Long Commute
You might be looking for a job with more breathing room where, for example, there’s more versatility when you work or even remote working options. In addition, the commute may be too long.
You can make that clear in your decline email or phone call. You can state, “I am looking for a more flexible job regarding working hours.” or “I’d, unfortunately, be behind the wheel too long for this opportunity, and I’d be seeking a better work/life balance.”
Step 5: Proofread and Practice
Like sending a thank you email, the next step is to proofread your text thoroughly before sending it. You don’t want to spoil that rejection with bad grammar.
If you’re going with the phone route, you can practice what you’ll say beforehand, perhaps even role play with a colleague if it makes sense. But if you must send your rejection via email, be sure to read it over to make sure all of the names and everything is correct.
Step 6: Keep Your Options Open
You want to end on a light note. In other words, try to keep them as a contact for future networking; it might prove helpful in your future career path.
Staying in touch is usually with a potential employer is a plus, especially if your job scope isn’t that large. There are several ways you can keep them posted.
For instance, there might be a standard work convention that you and the interviewer would attend. You could offer to meet up then. Otherwise, you could say, “Have a great day; I wish you the best in your future endeavors.”
You can also ask them to update you on any related future opportunities they might have opening up. You never know when you’ll need that opportunity, so best to keep your options open.
In today’s world, it’s also a bright idea to connect via social media. Don’t hesitate to connect and follow these LinkedIn tips to see what they’re up to.
The opportunities may benefit you, but your friends might appreciate it if you let them know. If you have a friend with similar career interests, you can also refer your friend to that interviewer.
Step 7: What if They Persist?
Most companies would respect your decision and move on to the next qualified candidate. Others might feel the need to insist on having you and providing extra benefits to entice you with the job offer.
If that’s the case, you’ll need to remain steadfast with your final decision. You could firmly reply, “Thank you for your generous offer. However, I believe the other offer will be a more suitable fit for me.”
If you’re not interested in the company or role, you can say, “I appreciate your callback, but I believe that the role does not fit with my current career goals.”
Example Templates of Turning Down a Job Offer Via Email
If you’re still unsure how to give the proper response, allow us to help with various examples you can use.
Email Template #1
Dear (Hiring Manager),
I want to take this moment to thank you for providing me with a job offer for the position of (enter position here) at (company name).
After significant consideration, I have decided to decline the offer. I have come across an offer that would better meet my overall requirements.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to interview and assess me. I do hope that our paths cross in the future.
Email Template #2
Dear (Hiring Manager),
Thank you for your prompt job offer for (enter position here) at (company name). I enjoyed learning all about the company’s values and goals.
Nevertheless, I have resolved to decline the job offer. I believe that the job description does not meet my desired career pathway. I hope to stay in touch if any more relevant opportunities are presented in the future.
I appreciate the time you have taken to assess my candidacy and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
Email Template #3
Dear (Hiring Manager),
Thank you for taking your time to assess my candidacy for the role of (enter position here) at (company name) and for informing me more about the company’s background.
After reflecting on our salary discussion, I will have to decline the job offer. The compensation amount does not meet my financial requirements and daily expenses.
Moreover, I enjoyed learning about (Company name) and meeting some team members. I hope we can still connect in the future.
Key Takeaways on How to Turn Down a Job Offer Politely
- Express gratitude and try to complement the company’s culture or strong reputation before mentioning the rejection.
- Make sure to respond to the job offer for a new role promptly. You can call back the next day with your decision, which gives you more than enough time to make your final choice.
- Always provide an honest reason when having difficult conversations about why you’re turning down the job. You can’t simply reply with a “Thanks, but no thanks.” The closure is vital in your communication and might help the interviewer with their future candidate assessments.
- Stay in contact with the company. Closed doors mean closed opportunities.
If you’re still following how to politely turn down a job offer, even by email, there’s no need to overcomplicate it. Once you follow our guide above, you’re guaranteed to provide the ideal and polite response without causing any career repercussions.
You can always try to imagine yourself in the opposite scenario. You must avoid beating around the bush and give the employer a polite yet straight answer. You’ll undeniably earn their professional respect. We wish you well in your career journey!