Thanks, But No Thanks: 5 Tips for Gracefully Declining a Job Offer

Finding and landing a new job takes a lot of time and energy. It is also a big investment for the hiring company. When you get that offer, it’s usually time to celebrate! Unfortunately, sometimes things happen and you might not want to accept the offer. This can be very frustrating for everyone involved … so it must be handled carefully. Here are some tips for declining a job offer without burning your bridges:

1. If you were using a outside recruiter, let them know immediately. The recruiter will be the one to deliver the bad news. Be honest about your reasons. If, for some reason, you don’t want the company to know exactly why you are not accepting their offer, discuss what you want the recruiter to say.

2. If you do decline by phone, email or letter, make sure you are polite, professional and timely. Declining an offer is never easy, but don’t make anyone wait to hear the bad news.

3. You are not required to specifically state your reason, but it is more professional to do so. You don’t have to give an exact and detailed reason; simply say that you got another offer or have undergone changing family priorities.

4. Write a script and follow it. Your script should thank them for offering you the position, tell them you have decided to decline the opportunity and why, and then end with a sentence or two acknowledging their time.

5. If your recruiter delivers the news, you should still send a letter to the hiring company.

It’s a small world. You may be interested in a position with this company at another time … or someone who interviewed you may interview you at another company in the future. Be honest, polite and professional.