Turning Down a Job Offer with Grace

3 min read
A job offer being contemplated on by a brunette woman in front of a laptop

It feels great to get a job offer. However, for some unwanted and unpredictable reasons, it comes to a point that you have to decide against the recently offered job. Let’s accept it. There are certain instances in our lives that a far better job offer comes our way, much better than the one we have accepted. While you wonder on how successful we can be in that seemingly “top-of-the-line” position, you need to make sure that you don’t burn bridges when you decline the job offer of the other company.

Declining an offer from a company whose offer you have recently accepted is not an easy thing to do. Thinking that the company has exerted effort, time, and resources to interview you is already agonizing, not to mention the fact that they have exerted some extra effort to make your move convenient. However, you need to remember that accepting the job offer is not yet final if you haven’t signed any papers yet. So, if you have not signed anything yet, you can still try to reassess things and decline whichever job you think is less favorable.

How to Politely Decline a Job Offer

How do you decline a job offer? Here are some tips that you can do to make the rejection less excruciating on both parties:

Never ignore a job offer

Ignoring a job offer is a major no-no. It doesn’t place you in a better light and can simply make you appear unprofessional. Always acknowledge a job offer. Also, if you know right there and then that you don’t like the position, immediately inform them. This way, they can make the offer to the next chosen candidate.

If you have to reject the job, do it without delay

If you are going to reject a job offer, do it as early as possible. Stringing the company up and dropping the ball in the last minute can certainly infuriate your prospective employer.

Give them the chance to look for other candidates if you’re no longer interested in the position. Also, never let the other company exert extra effort in making you feel comfortable with the job offer. This will only worsen the situation if you reject their offer.

Be professional when declining an offer

Not because you are to decline their offer and pursue a different career track, you can already complain and bad mouth them about your interview experience with them. Always maintain proper working etiquette. You can never tell whether you’ll be working with them in the future. As such, you need to maintain the bridge you have built with them during your interview.

Say something good about the company and appreciate their effort in entertaining you. In explaining why you selected the other job offer, always make it appear that it is a matter of choosing between two great opportunities. Never make it sound like an insult to the other company. Always talk about opportunity and avoid explaining or saying why the other company is much better than the one you’re rejecting.

Recommend someone else

If there is the best time to point your finger, now’s the best time to do so. Suggest someone who can replace you. Even if that person doesn’t accept the offer, introducing someone is a gift. Never forget to leave a good impression and reputation.

Keep that bridge intact

Especially for those working in specialized fields, you might want to keep in touch with the person (even if you’re not going to work for them.). Like what was said earlier, every field is smaller than you think it is. You’ll never know when you’ll come across with that person again. As such, try to keep the relationship in good terms, even if you have come to decline their offer.

Rejecting offers can be tacky and overwhelming but once you get to know the proper ways of declining a job offer, you can be sure that you can be a successful career person who knows how to keep their bridges open.

Erin Alberts is a multi-awarded speaker on career and employee and human resource development.

Image Source: Stocksnap.io

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5 Things You Need to Know Before Accepting a Job Offer