You are fresh out of college or looking for a change in career or better prospects, then the way forward is to apply at as many places as possible in the hopes of scoring an interview and hopefully the desired job. But there are many times that you end up with more than one offer on the table.
Let us be clear here that interviewing for a job does not explicitly mean that you will take it up the same way it is not incumbent on the interviewer to offer you one after interviewing. But if you are in a position to decline a job offer, then it is imperative that you do it politely and gracefully
Here are a few tips to say thank you, but no thanks.
First of all, it is not done to keep a job offer dangling. The moment you decide not to accept the offer, convey it to the HR department.
Do not delay, they might be waiting for you to accept, and may lose the person second on the list.
Show Appreciation for the Offer
You need to thank the hiring manager for the offer of a job.
It may be his/her job, but s/he still spent a good amount of time interviewing, going through your resume, answering your questions about the company and your position, and taking you around the office, etc.
Write an email appreciating the job offer and thanking them for taking the time out to take you around and answering all your concerns.
Can give a direct (not rude) or vague reason for your inability to accept.
You can say, "After a lot of consideration, I feel that the job profile is very limiting for my experience and skill set.”
Or, “I have given a lot of thought and regret to say that a move to xyz city is not possible at this time due to personal concerns.”
"I have decided to accept a position in another company.”
“After a lot of consideration, I am forced to decline as the salary offered is too low for me to make the move, although my job profile is very attractive.”
Email or Phone
Both are acceptable in today’s scenario. Most people decline through email, as it is a good way to avoid any awkward questions and probing.
A phone call though lends a personal touch. So go by what you are comfortable with.
Stay in Touch. Do not burn your Bridges
As they say, the world is round. And especially in the work world where you are pursuing a career in a particular field, you are bound to meet the same people some time or the other. So it is good to keep your channels of communication open.
Compliment the person about the handling of the job, reference some familiar name or occasion, or say that you hope to meet the person at a future conference or event.
Make a point of greeting the said person if you meet at future conferences or events. Another important point is to always remember the names, it is complementary and shows your professional commitment.
Turning down a job is not always easy, but if you do it gracefully and professionally, you never know things may work out in a mutually beneficial manner in the future.