you’ve made it through the job application and interview process and received a job offer.

But what if the proposal doesn’t align with your needs and expectations?

Just because you receive a job offer doesn't mean you have to take it. You might have to reject the offer if you've received an offer, tried to negotiate better pay and conditions, and still don't meet your expectations. Or you might have reflected on the job offer and decided it wasn't a good match. 

Whatever the reason, when you find yourself in a situation where you need to reject a job offer, you should make the time to write a thoughtful rejection email. You need to do this in a way that maintains the relationship you've built up with the hiring manager and company during the hiring process.

Whether you're communicating your rejection of the offer over the phone or in a professionally written email, the steps below will guide you in crafting a thoughtful yet confident response.

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be sure of your decision

Before reaching out, make clear that you want to reject the job.

  • Take some time to consider if the job on offer best suits your needs, but don't procrastinate.
  • Don't be afraid to contact the employer if you have any unanswered questions that may be holding you back from accepting the offer.
  • You can also consider negotiating aspects of the proposal that might not be satisfactory, which your potential employer might be open to reviewing.

be timely

Declining a job may be tricky because you feel you don't want to be the bearer of bad news or disappoint the hiring manager. 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 for you to either accept another job offer or keep searching for your next job. 

Generally, a job offer should be accepted or rejected within 24-48 hours unless otherwise agreed upon. But when receiving the offer, a good tip is to ask for time to consider the offer by asking the hiring manager when they would like a response from you.

show gratitude and appreciation

It's important to remember that an employer dedicates considerable time and effort during the hiring process and before presenting their preferred candidate with a job offer. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a tone of appreciation and gratitude when rejecting an offer by phone or email.

Your tone should be professional but courteous. It will go a long way in leaving a positive and lasting impression on the company and maintaining a good relationship with the person who interviewed and presented the job offer to you. You never know when you'll come across them again in your job search in the future.

A photo of a man looking to apply for a job while standing in front of a train waiting
A photo of a man looking to apply for a job while standing in front of a train waiting

provide a brief reason for the decline

The motivation for rejecting an offer will vary. For you, it may be that the job doesn't fulfil your future career progression aspirations or because the salary doesn't meet your expectations.

  • You don't have to provide too much detail about your reason.
  • Simply stating that this job offer is not suitable for you may be sufficient.
  • Be sure to be clear and concise.
  • You could provide positive feedback or compliments about the company to convey your appreciation further, but avoid going overboard - it is a rejection letter, after all.

be open to staying in touch

Lastly, a great way to end the rejection letter or conversation is to let the employer know you're open to staying in touch with them. This is an excellent opportunity to build your professional network, but it's not essential. 

Otherwise, simply wishing them the best for their company's future endeavours is a respectful and sincere way to add closure.  

sample of a general response

Dear Mr/Ms [insert surname],

I express my sincere gratitude for your time 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 that this role isn't an excellent 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,



In the end, you might feel like there’s a need to apologise 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.

To learn more about the job-seeking process, visit Randstad’s jobseeker Toolkit


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