declining a job offer.

4th September 2020

You’ve gotten through the job interview stage, but what happens when the job doesn’t align with your career goals? Just because you receive a job offer, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take it. Click here to find out the various reasons that cause you to feel dissatisfied with an offer. 

When you do find yourself in this situation, you may need to take some time to craft a rejection letter. Whether you’re communicating through the phone or a professionally written email, the steps below will guide you in crafting a thoughtful yet assertive response.

be sure of your decision.

Before reaching out, make sure you’re certain that this job isn’t for you. Take a bit of time to consider if this job will best suit your needs, but don’t procrastinate. Also, don’t feel afraid to contact the employer if you have any unanswered questions that may be holding you back from accepting the offer.

be timely.

Declining a job may feel a little tricky because you certainly don’t want to be the bearer of bad news. But the best thing to do is to inform the company of your decision as soon as possible. This will allow them to move forward with the hiring process, and also for you to keep going on your career journey.


express gratitude and appreciation.

The employer or company generally dedicates a considerable amount of time and effort before presenting you with an offer, so ensure to maintain a tone of appreciation and gratitude in your letter. While you should remain professional, it is also important to be courteous, as this will go a long way in leaving a positive and lasting impression on the company (you never know when you’ll cross paths with them in the future).

provide a brief reason for the decline.

The way you approach your rejection letter may be dependent on your reason for declining. Your reason may be because the job doesn’t fulfil your career prospects or because the salary doesn’t meet your expectations. You don’t have to provide too much detail into your reason. Simply stating that this job offer is not right for you may be sufficient enough. But be sure to be clear and concise. You could provide some positive feedback or compliments about the company to further convey your appreciation, but avoid giving too many (it’s a rejection letter after all).

be open to stay in touch.

Lastly, a great way to end the rejection letter is to let the employer know you’re open to staying in touch with them. This would make a great opportunity to build your professional network, but don’t feel obligated to do so. Otherwise, simply wishing them the best for their company’s endeavours is a respectful and sincere way to add closure.  

 
sample of a general response.

Dear Mr/Ms [insert surname],

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your time in interviewing me last [insert date] and offering me the position as [insert position]. I’m honoured to have had the opportunity to learn more about the exciting work culture at [insert company] and what this role may bring. Unfortunately, after careful consideration, I have [insert reason: “decided this role isn’t a great match for my skills and career prospects”, “decided to pursue another role”,  “regretfully decided to decline this offer at the current compensation”, “determined that I cannot take this offer due to my current situation”].

Once again, thank you for your time and consideration. I wish you and the company all the very best. Feel free to keep in touch with me if you have any questions.

Best regards,

[name]

In the end, you might feel like there’s a need to apologize for your decision. But don’t worry- with a clear, polite and timely response, the employer will understand your intentions and be thankful that you kept them updated with your decision. Good luck with your job search and career journey.