How To Declined An Offer Smartly For The Purpose Of The Future………………..

12 Feb

How To Declined An Offer Smartly For The Purpose Of The Future………………..

As part of the job hunting process, sometimes you’ll need to turn down a job offer.

Before you do, think carefully.

Rejecting a job offer needs careful consideration. If you change your mind, it’s unlikely that you can go back on your decision.

Even though you won’t be working for the organisation, it’s in your interests to be polite and professional. You never know when you might want to work for the employer in future, so it pays not to burn bridges.

Whether you need help deciding if you should turn down a job, or tips on how to refuse a job offer, we’ve got all the advice you need.

In this guide, you’ll find tips from HR professionals at leading companies, including BP, Hilton Worldwide, Boots and PepsiCo, along with a number of useful tools.

These include a checklist of questions to ask yourself and the employer, as well as a sample job offer rejection letter.

For advice on how to reply to a job offer when you want the position, see our How to accept a job offer guide.

Table of contents

Part 1: Declining a job offer

How to decline a job offer over the phone

Thank you email for job offer example / template

How to write a job offer rejection letter

Job offer ‘decline’ letter example / template

How to decline a job offer by email

Decline a job offer email example / template

Part 2: How to decide if you should reject a job offer

Be clear on your reasons for turning down a job offer

Good reasons for turning down a job offer

Bad reasons for declining a job offer

Work out if the job offer is negotiable

Make a counter offer or reject the offer

Keep in touch

Part 3: Can a company withdraw a job offer?

Part 4: Can I change my mind after accepting a job offer?

Part 5: I negotiated a better offer, how do I accept it?

Part 6: How do I turn down a job offer without burning bridges?

Part 7: How do I reject a job offer for personal reasons?

Part 8: How to decline a job offer due to salary

Part 9: Do’s and don’ts of declining a job offer

Declining a job offer

How to decline a job offer over the phone

Once you’ve decided to decline, inform the employer over the phone as soon as possible.

“Deciding whether to accept or decline a role can be an important life decision for many people. In a digital world, sometimes it’s nice to get the personal touch so having a great telephone conversation can make a real difference,” says Leanne Knight, Senior HR Manager for Recruitment at Boots UK.

“Try to speak to the person who made you the offer, and explain to them briefly why you’re turning it down, while thanking them again for the opportunity,” advises Olivia Hill, AAT Chief HR Officer.

It’s also good practice to let other people who have been part of the interview process know.

Preparing how to decline a job offer over the phone, by noting down the key things you want to say, will give you confidence on the call.

Start by thanking them for the offer and say something positive about the process, role or company.

Then explain that, unfortunately, you’ve taken the difficult decision to decline the offer. Give one or two reasons but keep it about you, not them.

According to Suzy Style, Head of UK Graduate Resourcing at BP, you should be honest about why you’re declining.

“Companies value feedback just as much as interviewees do, and they’ll be grateful for your candid opinions and reasoning for not accepting the position. This will allow the recruitment team to consider your suggestions when evaluating the recruitment processes.”

Pippa Wallace, HR Business Partner at PepsiCo UK & Ireland, believes that honesty is critical in any good relationship.

She says: “We want to establish long-term relationships with the right people. Be yourself during any recruitment process and demonstrate your integrity. PepsiCo truly lives by its value of ‘Speak with Truth and Candour’.

“There are many examples where being honest has enabled us to work with a prospective employee to find a solution that works for everyone and reach a good outcome. I would advise candidates to be clear about what they want, their motivations and what’s important to them.”

While you should be honest, it’s wise to use tact too. There is no need to criticise the employer or dwell on negatives, especially if the company compares badly to other roles you may have been offered.

Keep it short and upbeat, and end the conversation on a positive note.

For example, you might say: ‘Many thanks for the offer you made me on Monday. I was impressed with your company, but unfortunately, I’ve decided to decline the offer. I didn’t feel that the role offered me the opportunity for career progression I’m looking for. I’m very grateful for your time, and will, of course, confirm my decision in writing.”

You should expect a few questions in response. If you’re asked to expand on your reasoning, maintain the same level of honesty and tact. Don’t be drawn into negotiating with the employer if you know that you don’t want the job – you’ll only be wasting everyone’s time.

As long as you’re polite and tactful, and let them know in good time, there should be no reason for an employer or recruiter to be rude or aggressive with you.

If this should happen, try not to get defensive. Instead, keep your voice calm and wrap up the conversation quickly.

Sending a thank you for the job offer letter or email shows courtesy, and also helps buy you time to consider. Don’t leave it too long without responding. Not only does this look unprofessional, it suggests you’re not really interested in the job.

Start by thanking the employer for the offer, and then ask them when they need to know your decision, assuming that it’s not part of the offer details. Alternatively, give a date by which you’ll get back to them.

Once you’ve agreed a time, stick to it. If you turn the offer down, the employer will need to pursue other candidates, so will want to know as soon as possible.

When writing a thank you letter for a job offer, give an appropriate reason for needing time to consider. For example, perhaps you want to arrange a call with your new line manager to discuss a few matters further.

If you have another offer, be honest with the employer about your reason for needing time to consider. Just remember to communicate your enthusiasm for this job. Never invent a reason, such as another job offer, as a way to buy more time.

Sending a thank you letter after a job offer acts as a holding response, giving you time to formulate questions or request a follow-up meeting. If you should arrange a call or meeting with the employer, give yourself enough time to think over your decision afterwards.

Of course, if you’ve already decided, you don’t need to send a thank you email after the job offer. You can decline immediately.

This is best done over the phone. Ask to speak to the person who made you the offer. Following the call, confirm your decision in writing.

Thank you email for job offer example / template

Email Subject line

[Your name] – Job offer

Email body

Dear [Hiring Manager’s name],

Many thanks for your call yesterday afternoon offering me the role of Sales Manager, which I was thrilled to receive.

Could you please let me know when you would need confirmation of my acceptance? I would like to do a little more research and set up a meeting with my potential line manager to cover a few points prior to accepting. I am free most days this week after 5pm if that might be convenient?

Once again, many thanks for the opportunity and I look forward to progressing with this soon.

Best wishes

[Your name]

How to write a job offer rejection letter

It’s considered polite to phone the employer to decline a job offer, before you confirm in writing.

You can decline a job offer by letter or email. Send this as soon as possible, i.e. within 48 hours. If you leave it too late, it’ll seem like an afterthought.

A job offer rejection letter should be clear and to the point, leaving no room for ambiguity.

Start by thanking the employer for the opportunity. Say that it was a difficult decision, but you’ve decided to decline. Give a brief reason, using tact where possible.

The reason you cite doesn’t have to be the main reason you’re declining, although it’s always preferable to be honest. End the letter on a positive note.

When you decline a job offer by letter, address it to the person who made you the offer. Don’t forget to include your name, address and contact details, and make sure you proofread it before posting.

Job offer ‘decline’ letter example / template

[Hiring manager’s name]

[Employer’s name]

[Employer’s address]

 

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Your phone number]

[Your email address]

 

[Today’s date]

 

Dear [Hiring Manager’s name],

Following our recent conversation, I wanted to thank you for offering me the position of Sales Assistant with your company. I was very impressed by the company and your team.

However, it is with regret that I have made the difficult decision to decline the offer.

Unfortunately, after further discussion with my prospective manager, I feel that the role doesn’t offer the progression opportunities I am looking for.

Thank you again for this opportunity and I wish you all the best in the future.

[Your signature]

[Your name]

How to decline a job offer by email

Ideally, the employer will hear about your decision over the phone first. Once you’ve called them, it’s good practice to confirm in writing, which you can send by email.

Knowing how to decline a job offer by email politely and professionally will help ensure you don’t burn any bridges, should you wish to apply to the employer again.

First, make sure you use a professional-sounding email address. Your own name is best; the employer doesn’t need to know about your nicknames.

Similarly, check your email signature and make sure it’s correct and up to date, or blank if not relevant. If in any doubt, send yourself a test email first.

Put your name and thank you in the subject line of the message: “Firstname Lastname – Job offer thank you” This helps ensure that your message won’t be overlooked in a busy inbox.

The same rules apply for emails as for letters above. Don’t forget to proofread the email before hitting ‘Send’. Ask a friend or family member to check if you’re unsure.

If you add a read receipt or delivery notification to the email, you can track when it’s been opened or delivered.

Looking for an email sample of how to turn down a job offer. Look no further:

Decline a job offer email example / template

Email Subject line

[Your name] – Job offer thank you

Email body

Dear [Hiring Manager’s name],

Many thanks for your phone call yesterday and offer of the role of Senior Project Manager within your design team at WP Widgets.

I am afraid that after further consideration, I have decided to decline the offer.

Although I was very keen on this role, I have since been offered another job which is a closer fit to my career aspirations.

Thank you again for this opportunity and I wish you all the best in the future.

Best wishes,

[Your name]

How to decide if you should reject a job offer

Sometimes, knowing whether to accept or reject a job offer isn’t an easy decision.

Asking yourself questions, and being clear about what’s important to you, can help you decide.

See our How to accept a job offer guide for a list of questions to ask the employer before accepting a job offer  and a list of questions to ask yourself before accepting a job offer.

If you’ve asked yourself and the employer our checklist of questions and you’re still not sure, listen to your instincts.

If you sensed that the role wasn’t a good fit for you at any point during the interview process, or after further research, don’t ignore the feeling.

Of course, the decision will be easier if you’ve received a better offer elsewhere, or you attempted to negotiate but couldn’t agree a package that you were happy with.

Remember though, that the perfect role, in the perfect location, with the perfect salary and benefits might not exist.

Think long and hard about the compromises you’re prepared to make and those you aren’t before turning down a job offer. You don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity for a minor reason.

How to reject a job offer, i.e. the reason you give to the employer, will depend on why you’re declining.

Be clear on your reasons for turning down a job offer

Reasons for turning down a job offer fall into two categories: good and bad.

Think carefully if yours is a good one.

Good reasons for turning down a job offer

Salary is too low

If a job and organisation are attractive, but the salary is insufficient, try to negotiate.

If the negotiation isn’t successful, reaffirm how excited you were about the job, but decline due to the salary.

Sometimes an employer will come back to you with a better offer once they see that you’re willing to walk away, but don’t rely on this as a tactic.

Job is different to the one advertised

Sometimes, a job can turn out to be different to the one initially described.

After discussing this with the employer, you may decide to decline if you’re not comfortable with the remit of the role.

Doubts about the company or management

After further research, you may discover that the company isn’t in good financial shape or the team has a high staff turnover.

Likewise, you may decide to turn down a job if you have doubts about the management, or your line manager.

Personal reasons

There may be personal reasons for declining a job, such as a long commute, travelling away from home, or other life changes that you’re not happy to make.

Gut feeling

If you sense that the job isn’t right for you, don’t ignore your gut feeling. Do further research until you’re happy, or listen to your instincts and walk away.

You got a better offer

If you get a better offer, it makes sense to turn down the least attractive option.

Bad reasons for declining a job offer

Waiting to hear back from another employer

Don’t reject a written offer because you’re waiting to hear back on a possible opportunity. Even if it’s offered verbally, you still need to get this in writing. What will you do if it doesn’t pan out? If necessary, buy more time by sending a ‘thank you’ acknowledgement letter.

You dislike someone on the team

Rejecting a job because you dislike someone on the team is short-sighted. They may leave the organisation, and you never know who may join when you take a job.

Whatever your reason, be tactful when speaking to the employer. For example, rather than saying you took an instant dislike to your manager or team, say the ‘cultural fit’ isn’t right.

Work out if the job offer is negotiable

If there are several aspects of the job which you’re unsure about, take each one in turn and ask yourself how important it is to you.

For example, is the long commute a deal breaker, or would you be willing to accept the offer if you could work from home two days a week.

If you’re happy with the organisation and role in general, don’t walk away until you’ve tried negotiating.

Hopefully, the employer will come back to you with a proposal you’re happy with. If not, make a counter offer before turning down the job.

Make a counter offer or reject the offer

When making a counter offer, treat it like a business case.

Do your research.

For example, find out the going market rate for the job, and prepare evidence you can draw on.

At the same time, think about how meeting your request would benefit the employer, as well as yourself.

For more advice, see the How to negotiate a job offer  section of our How to accept a job offer guide.

If there’s nothing negotiable that would convince you to change your mind, rejecting a job offer is the right decision.

Keep in touch

As long as you respectfully decline a job offer, and your dealings with the employer have been amicable, it’s worth keeping in touch.

Knowing how to turn down a job offer but keep the door open can advance your career. You never know when someone may prove to be a useful contact in the future.

You can look people up and ask to connect online, or take their business card during the interview and send them a follow-up email. If you got on particularly well and know you’ll be seeing each other at an industry event, you could suggest meeting for coffee.

Alternatively, you might say: ‘It’s been a pleasure getting to know you, and I hope we cross paths again soon.’

If you’re keen to work at the organisation in another capacity, making connections with people who are aware of your career aims, skills and abilities, is a wise move.

Most industries are surprisingly small, and you never know when you might bump into someone at another company or a networking event.

Remain positive and professional, and there’s no reason why you can’t keep in touch.

Can a company withdraw a job offer?

As long as a written offer / contract has not been signed, it’s possible for an employer to withdraw a job offer.

Even with a signed contract, rescinding a job offer is possible if you’ve contradicted the terms of an offer of employment.

An offer given on a conditional basis can be withdrawn if you don’t meet the conditions. For example, if negative references or medical records came back.

If you’re worried about an employer withdrawing a job offer, make sure you fully understand the conditions placed on the offer before you accept.

So, can a job offer be withdrawn after acceptance, and can a company withdraw a job offer for any reason set out in a conditional offer?

According to Nick Smith, Head of Employment at Mincoffs Solicitors, a letter offering employment will often include the conditions set out below:

  • Receipt by the employer of satisfactory references.
  • Entitlement to work in the UK.
  • Receipt of a satisfactory medical report.
  • Documentary proof that the applicant holds the qualifications they claim to hold.
  • Passing professional examinations.

However, the following may also be relevant conditions in particular circumstances:

  • Provision of a copy of the applicant’s current employment terms (to ensure that there are no restrictive covenants that would prevent the applicant taking up the offer). This, or a requirement that the employee confirms they are free to take up the position (which would also address restrictions other than those resulting from current employment), should reveal any restrictions that might affect either their ability to take up the job or to perform fully within the role.
  • Agreeing to enter into a confidentiality agreement.
  • Being able to start employment on or before a specified date.
  • Concluding negotiation of contract terms to the employer’s satisfaction.
  • Holding a valid (and clean) driving licence.
  • Satisfactory credit checks.
  • Criminal record and barring information checks.
  • Approval by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
  • Shareholder or partnership approval.
  • Where the employee is to be a director that the employee has confirmed that he or she is not subject to any restrictions which prevent him or her from holding office as a director.

Can I change my mind after accepting a job offer?

Declining a job offer after accepting is not ideal, but it can be done.

In fact, turning down a job offer after accepting is easier than accepting an offer you’ve previously declined.

That’s why you need to be certain that you can’t negotiate a better deal and won’t change your mind before rejecting a job offer.

If you’ve accepted a job offer but now want to decline, it’s important to let the employer know immediately.

Read the I accepted a job offer but now I want to decline section our our How to accept a job offer guide.

I negotiated a better offer, how do I accept it?

If you’ve negotiated an offer and you’re happy it meets all your requirements, make sure you have the revised offer in writing before you send an ‘acceptance of offer’ letter or email.

A verbal offer alone isn’t enough to take action.

See our How to accept a job offer guide for tips on accepting a job offer by email or letter, and to see a sample letter accepting a job offer.

How do I turn down a job offer without burning bridges?

If the real reason you’re declining a job offer is likely to cause offence, for example you took an instant dislike to your line manager), be careful what you say.

Turning down a job offer without burning bridges requires tact. For example, you might say, ‘After consideration, I’ve decided now is not the time to leave my current position’.

Keep everyone involved in the interview process up to date with your decision, and ensure your communication remains business-like with the connections you make in future.

Read the Keep in touch section of this guide for some ideas on maintaining relationships beyond the job offer.

Ben Bengougam, Vice President of Human Resources for Hilton Worldwide, says: “I have, over my 30-year HR career, been turned down a few times by great candidates, but I always make it a point to stay in touch and try again when the time comes.

“Sometimes I’ve turned down candidates and worked to find them another job with us because they were almost as great as the chosen one.

“On quite a few occasions candidates declined the offer and came back a few days later asking if the job was still open. It never was though, and I may not or would almost never, take them for that job as a point of principle. However if they handled the process well I would consider them for other jobs with my company.”

How do I reject a job offer for personal reasons?

When writing a job offer rejection letter due to personal reasons, you don’t have to go into details.

You could say that the role isn’t right for you at this time, or it doesn’t fit with your current career goals, for example.

You’ll want to keep the door open to any future negotiations. Saying things like, ‘I felt I wouldn’t get on with your team,’ is best avoided.

Find other useful advice for this situation in the How to write a job offer rejection letter and Be clear on your reasons for turning down a job offer sections of this guide.

How to decline a job offer due to salary

If you want to decline a job offer due to salary, be honest but diplomatic.

If you’ve received another, more generous offer, avoid mentioning the details of the job you’re accepting.

Instead, focus on what you liked about the position you’re turning down and end on a positive note.

Again this is not a place for salary negotiations. You should put your decision in writing once you’ve discussed salary over the phone and your decision is final.

Do’s and don’ts of declining a job offer

  • Declining a job offer is non-reversible. You need to be 100% sure when you decide.
  • If you’re not sure whether to accept the job, ask the employer questions.
  • Always listen to your gut instinct.
  • Sending a thank you letter can buy you time to consider.
  • Before you refuse a job offer, try negotiating.
  • If the employer can’t increase salary, try negotiating better benefits.
  • If, after negotiating, you’re not happy with the employer’s proposal, make a counter offer.
  • Once your decision is made, call the person who made you the offer and tell them over the phone.
  • Always confirm your decision to turn down a job offer in writing.
  • Sending a thanks but no thanks letter is courteous and helps avoid burning bridges with the employer.
  • Your rejection letter should be clear and to the point, leaving no room for ambiguity.
  • Use a balance of honesty and tact when giving your reasons.
  • As long as a written offer / contract has not been signed, an employer can withdraw a job offer.
  • An offer given on a conditional basis can be withdrawn if you don’t meet the conditions. For example, if negative references or medical records came back.
  • Declining a job offer after accepting is not ideal, but it can be done.
  • If you’re amicable and polite, there’s no reason why you can’t stay in touch with contacts you’ve made through the interview process.

 

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