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The Best Way to Decline a Job Offer: 7 Tips You Need to Know

Maintain Your Professionalism and Your Relationships

There’s an art to politely declining a job offer without burning any bridges. We’re sharing 7 practical tips so that you can improve your professional communication and relationship management.

This post features 7 tips and example sentence frames you can copy and paste to use yourself.

Let's dive in!

The Best Way to Decline a Job Offer: 7 Tips You Need to Know

This episode is for people who want to

  • Master the art of gracefully declining a job offer.

  • Craft a compelling and professional job offer decline email.

  • Discover the key to maintaining professional relationships even after rejecting a job offer.

The way you decline a job offer matters. I have heard SO many people say things “Well whatever, I’ll never see them again.”

While that may be true of the company, ultimately you are dealing with people. Don’t burn any bridges. Leading with kindness will only benefit you in the long run. Listen here for more or read the post below for details.

7 Tips for Your "Thanks, But No Thanks" Letter

1. Respond ASAP

The quicker you respond, the faster the employer can fill the role. Confrontation and delivering bad news sucks. Just rip off the band-aid.

  • Keep your communication short

  • If you know the person who hooked you up with the interview, it’s okay to call instead of email if that would feel better. 

2. Be straightforward and honest

Thank the company for the opportunity, but don't go overboard with compliments about the job. You aren't taking it, so...

3. Express gratitude

Let the company know you appreciate their time and effort.

  • Thank you so much for the offer for the {position}. I so appreciate you taking the time to consider me and for answering so many of my questions about the company and role.

  • Thank you again for the interview last week. I loved meeting the team and seeing the offices. I enjoyed learning about the {position}, and I appreciate this {generous} offer.

4. Give a reasonable explanation

If you spent a lot of time in the interview process, provide a genuine reason for your decision. Don’t talk about how much it stunk to make the decision, and be brief.

  • After careful consideration, I’ve decided to accept a position at another company.

  • After much thought, I’ve decided that now is not the best time to leave my current position.

  • While this position seems like a great opportunity, I have decided to pursue another role that will offer me more opportunities to pursue my interests in {whatever those are}.

Note: If the position sounds like it sucks and the only real reason you have is about 1 million red flags 🚩🚩🚩, a simple, “It’s not quite the right fit for my career goals at this time” is totally okay.

5. And remain professional

Avoid negative comments about the company, position, or hiring manager. Those red flags? This is not the time, and since you don’t work there, it’s not your place.

6. Offer to stay in touch

You can leave a quick message or ask to connect on LinkedIn

  • I hope to see you next month at the conference we’re both attending (and here's my LinkedIn link}.

  • It’s been a pleasure getting to know you, and I hope that we cross paths in the future.

  • Again, thank you for your time and support, and I wish you all the best.

7. Optional: Include referrals

If you really liked everything you learned about the company and position, and you just got a better offer, consider doing a friend a solid and throw their hat into the ring.

  • That being said, I have a few connections I think would be great for the role and would be happy to send their information along to you.

Decline a Job Offer: Key Points

  • The way you decline a job offer can and will impact your career. You don’t want to burn any bridge unnecessarily.

  • Once you’ve declined the job, there is a near-zero chance you’ll be offered the position again. This is not the time to attempt to negotiate a better deal.

  • When you turn down an offer, be clear and firm in your decision. This is why we don't wax poetic about the job or how hard it was to make the decision—it just creates confusion.

  • Be sure to express your appreciation for a job offer, and avoid being too specific in your reasons for turning the offer down.


This episode's inside joke is...





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