How to Decline a Job Offer Gracefully

Well, well, you are a superstar if you have been offered two or three or... wait, how many jobs were you offered? The situation in which you need to decline a job offer may seem like a dream problem as a job seeker.

decline a job offer

You may cringe before breaking the bad news to the recruiter, but that is the right thing to do as you don’t want to sabotage someone else’s job. If you don't decline the offer, the recruiter won't know that you are not interested in the position anymore and would stop searching for other candidates to fill the vacancy. You don't want to do that as it is like snatching someone else's chance to get the job. So here is how you can decline a job offer gracefully without burning the bridges with a potential employer. You never know you would want a job in the same company in the future.

Whether you are doing it over the phone, or via an email or letter, first of all, you need to thank the hiring manager for the great opportunity that they provided you. You can say something good about the company and share some positive experience that you had during the interview process. While you do that, don’t sound too exciting as it will not go well with the bad news. Maintain a normal tone and deliver the news politely. Also, if you are accepting another offer, do not brag about how you are getting a way cooler job.

The next step will be rejecting the job that you are offered. Do it politely, by starting with words like “Regrettably” or “Unfortunately” to express that you really valued the opportunity and would like to build a good connection with the employer in case they have any vacancies in future.

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Chances are, your rejection will be followed by a couple of questions, asking you about the reason to decline or something similar to “What went wrong?” Make sure that you be diplomatic in your answer and don't reveal every single detail. If you are offered a better position, let the employer know about that by saying something like “I’m offered another job that better matches with my career objectives.” Bear in mind not to brag about the job that you accepted, it would burn the bridges with this employer, which will close the doors on any future opportunities.

Do not go over the top with the whole thanking thing and end the call within 2 to 3 minutes. After all, the recruiter needs to find someone to replace you. After rejecting the job through a call, the next thing you want to do is send a decline a job offer letter. (Don’t use the term literally.) This will make you look more professional and the recruiter will keep you in mind for future vacant positions.

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