How to Decline a Job Offer: Tips, Email Samples & Phone Scripts

How to Decline a Job Offer
Created by CakeResume

There will come a time in your job search when you receive a job offer that you have to reject. Some common reasons to decline job offers are salary expectations, company culture problems, commute issues, and career development concerns.

There are a few different situations in which you may need to write a job offer rejection email or make a job offer rejection phone call - when you already accepted another job offer,  when you are not interested in the position, or when the position is not a good fit for you.

Job offer rejection is an important part of the job search process for both the job seeker and the employer because it allows for each side to move on and find the best possible match.

This is why it is always important to be professional and clear when you are rejecting a job offer. As a job seeker, you don't want the company that has offered you the job to think that you didn't take their offer seriously.

In this article, we will provide tips on how to reject a job offer professionally in any situation and give you the confidence boost you need to get started!

What to Consider Before Turning Down a Job Offer

Before you turn down a job offer, here are a few things you might want to consider:

✅ Job title and responsibilities

Make sure that you are familiar with the job title and the responsibilities involved.

  • What does a typical day look like?
  • Who will you be closely working with?
  • What are the expected goals?

You don't want to turn down a job offer only to find out later that the job is actually something you’d enjoy doing.

✅ Salary

  • Do you feel that the salary is appropriate?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • What would it take to get a raise?

It is important to be realistic about your salary expectations and to factor in things such as the cost of living and how much you want to save when you evaluate whether you should reject or accept the job offer.

✅ Benefits package

The benefits package, along with the salary, make up your total compensation.

  • What are the benefits that are offered?
  • Are there medical and dental benefits?
  • Does the company offer insurance?

It is important to look at more than just the salary when considering turning down a job offer.

✅ Work schedule

The working schedule is also important to take into consideration because it has a huge impact on your work-life balance and, possibly, physical and mental health.

  • Will you be working long hours?
  • Do you have to work weekends? 
  • How often will you be traveling?
  • Are there flexibility options?

✅ Starting date

Make sure you have enough time to give your two weeks’ (or one month's) notice at your current job. If the new job starts sooner than your current notice period, you will need to weigh out the pros and cons of declining the offer.

✅ Commute 

Consider how close or far the job is from your house and whether you are comfortable with the commute. Commuting can be an issue because it can take a lot of time out of your day and it can be stressful.

✅ Company culture

  • Do you agree with the company's values and mission statement?
  • Do you like the people you are going to work with?

These may influence how happy you are at work and how long you stay with the company.

✅ Career development

A good job takes you one step closer to your career development goals.

  • Do you see yourself advancing in this company?
  • Are there opportunities for professional development?
  • Will you be able to attend training and development programs?

These are all crucial questions to consider before deciding on whether to decline a job offer.

✅ Personal issues

If you have any personal issues that need to be sorted out, it is best to do that before accepting a job offer.

How to Reject a Job Offer

There are different ways of rejecting a job offer politely—you can do it over the phone or through email. There is no best option, but depending on the rapport you have built with the company throughout the interview process, you may want to opt for the appropriate choice.

📞 Rejecting a Job Offer Professionally Over the Phone

The key to turning down a job offer over the phone is to be polite, respectful and professional. Since you won't be able to see each other's faces and expressions, our tip is to put extra effort into the tone of your voice.

Make sure you sound polite, firm, thankful and professional by practicing with a friend or just practicing in general.

Pro: It's a more personal way to reject a job offer and you can build a rapport with the recruiter or hiring manager.

Con: There is a higher chance of the conversation going awry if you're not careful with your words.

✉️ Rejecting a Job Offer Politely via Email

Declining a job offer through emails can be less personal, so the key is to make it sound personalized. The hiring manager will most likely be busy, so make sure your email is short, precise and professional.

Luckily, turning down a job offer politely via email is the most common way, and there are plenty of email templates you can find. We will also provide useful job offer rejection email samples later in the article.

Pro: You have time to carefully construct your reply and you can avoid any awkwardness that may occur if you speak to the recruiter over the phone.

Con: There is a higher chance that the recruiter may not see your email if it's in their spam folder or they're too busy to read all the emails they receive.

How to Decline a Job Offer over the Phone: Sample Script

Not sure how to reject a job offer politely over the phone? Here is a sample phone script that you can follow, but make sure to personalize it as much as possible to reflect your appreciation and professionalism.

Hi [name], this is [your name] calling to let you know that I have decided to decline the job offer. Thank you so much for offering me the [position] at [company name]. I love your company's culture and the people I met during the interview process, but I just don't think the job is a good fit for me right now. I wish you all the best in your search for the perfect candidate for [position].

How to Politely Decline a Job Offer: Email Samples

Now let's move on to job offer rejection email samples. Just like how you would personalize a phone conversation, make sure to personalize your email as much as possible to show your appreciation.

How to Write a Job Offer Rejection Letter Due to Personal Reasons

Dear [name],

I would like to express my gratitude to you for considering me for the [position] in your company. [Company name] has always been a dream company of mine and I appreciate the opportunity to have interviewed with you. Unfortunately, I am writing to inform you that I am unable to take the job offer due to personal reasons at this time. 

I enjoyed getting to know more about the role.  [Job title] is a position that I am very interested in and I hope we can stay in touch. I will be keeping a close eye on the job postings on your website and if anything changes, I will let you know.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

How to Decline a Job Offer You Already Accepted

Dear [name],

Thank you for your decision to hire me as a [job title] at [company name]. After careful consideration, unfortunately, I'll have to withdraw my acceptance of your employment offer because I feel like it isn't the right fit for my career goals at the moment.

I would like to assure you that this was not an easy decision for me to make and I genuinely appreciate the offer. Again, I appreciate your time and effort in considering me for the job and wish you all the best in finding the right candidate.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

How to Decline a Job Offer Due to Salary

Dear [name],

I would like to take the time to express my gratitude to you for offering me the job as a  [job title] at [company name]. After giving it some serious thought, I have come to the conclusion that the compensation and benefits offered are not in line with my current financial situation. Therefore, I will have to respectfully decline the job offer.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

How to Decline a Job Offer Due to Long Commute/Location

Dear [name],

Thank you for your decision to hire me as a [position] at your company. During the interview process, I was impressed with the [company name] team and the culture. However, after careful consideration, I have to decline the job offer because the commute is too long. Accepting this opportunity will make it hard for me to make enough time for my family and other commitments.

I truly appreciate the offer and wish [company name] all the best in their search for the perfect candidate.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

How to Decline a Job Offer Due to Family Reasons 

Dear [name],

Thank you very much for offering me the role of [position] at [company]. However, I have to inform you that I am not able to take the job due to family reasons. My [family reason] is my top priority, so the working schedule discussed during the interview isn't ideal for me right now.

I would like to thank you for your understanding and I wish [company] all the best in finding a qualified candidate.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

How to Decline a Job Offer After Accepting Another Job

Dear [name],

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be working with [company] as a [job title]. Despite the difficult decision, I have accepted a job with another firm. I would like to express my gratitude to you for the offer and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

The position is a great opportunity and I truly enjoyed meeting with you and your team. I would like to thank you again for understanding and I'm sending my best wishes for the continued success of [company].

Sincerely,
[Your name]

How to Turn Down an Internship Job Offer 

Dear [name],

Thank you for your offer to intern with [company]. I am very grateful for the opportunity, but I have decided to pursue other opportunities that better fit my summer plans.

[company] is a great organization and I genuinely enjoyed our conversations. I will be keeping an eye out for future openings at [company] and hope we can work together in the future!

Thank you for your time and consideration and I wish [company] all the best in their search for a qualified intern.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

How to Decline a Job Offer from a Friend 

Hi [name],

Thank you so much for offering me the job as [position]. I am truly honored, which is why I am writing with great remorse to say that I have to decline the position. This may come as a shock to you and I don't want to hurt your feelings, but after careful consideration, I believe this isn't a good fit for me. 

Thank you for understanding. This wasn't an easy decision to make and I hope that you find a suitable candidate soon! I really appreciate your consideration and let's grab a coffee when things are settled down?

Warm Regards,
[Your name]

How to Reject an Internal Job Offer 

Dear [name],

Thank you for considering me for [position] at the [department], but I am writing to inform you that I have decided to decline the internal job offer. I have enjoyed working with [company] as [current position] for the past [number of years] and feel like there is still much to learn in my current role. I am confident that I will continue to grow and develop in my current position.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and I hope [department] finds the perfect candidate for the position.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

How to Decline a Job Offer After Signing a Contract 

Hi [name],

I am sorry to inform you that I am no longer interested in the position of [job title] at [company name]. After careful consideration, I have decided to accept an offer from another company.

Please accept my sincere apology for any inconvenience this may have caused. I understand how this may impact [company's] hiring plans and I am truly sorry.

I would like to thank you for your time and effort in interviewing me, and I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Tips for Turning Down a Job Offer Without Burning Bridges

We hope by now you have a clear understanding of how to reject job offers over the phone and with email. Finally, we would like to offer some tips on how to turn down a job offer without burning bridges.

💡 Be honest and clear with your email/phone call.

Not wanting to upset people, you might not want to sound too blunt when turning down a job offer. But that’s only going to cause inconveniences for others, so be sure to always be honest and clear to avoid confusion.

💡 Don’t give too much specific information.

Giving away too much specific information may leave room for misinterpretation and could damage the relationship you have with the potential employer. Keep the information generic and just enough to get your point across.

💡 Keep it to the point.

Recruiters and hiring managers are busy, so always keep it to the point. This saves time and ensures clarity for both you and the potential employer.

💡 Show appreciation.

The key to politely turning down job offers is to always be respectful and appreciative of the opportunity given to you. This will leave a good impression and could result in future opportunities.

💡 Offer to stay in touch.

Lastly, offer to stay in touch. This will keep the door open for future opportunities and maintain a positive relationship with the recruiter or hiring manager.

We hope you've found some of these tips helpful as to how to decline a job offer. Whichever way you choose to reject a job offer, always remember to maintain professionalism and courtesy. 

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--- Originally written by Candy Ho ---

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