How To Turn Down A Job Offer

These days, with the job market being what it is, some people might wonder why anyone would ever turn down a job. But there are a couple of reasons it might happen to you. You might be offered more than one job, and have no choice but to say no to one potential employer or another. Or you could be offered a job only to realize that you cannot do it. Maybe the hours are unacceptable, or the work environment. Perhaps the minimum wage salary just is not enough for you to get by on, and you would be better served by continuing your search with the fullest effort.

Telling somebody “no” is rarely easy, especially when it comes to an opportunity. It is even more awkward in a situation like this because you are letting down the very people you have been doing everything to impress. It can be a challenge to let go of the past and move forward. There are good reasons to try and let the company down lightly, though. They may have another position to offer you. Or they might know someone else with an opening that would suit you better. How do you turn down a job offer in a positive way that won’t burn your bridges?

Try and prevent misunderstandings throughout the interview process by clearly stating what you are looking for.

If you are clear about what you need and the employer is unable to comply, the company will not be surprised when you turn them down. The company probably has several other reasonably good choices with the high levels of competition these days, so don’t think they are all that likely to suffer if you walk away. That should alleviate some of your discomfort.

Be gracious and thank the hiring manager for taking the time to interview you, show you around, and select you.

Don’t waste time before letting the company know your decision. You don’t want to inconvenience them more than necessary.

Use the phone instead of an email to turn them down.

It is more personal and upfront. You can follow up with a thank you letter afterward. Don’t just ignore the offer either. You must respond if you don’t want to burn bridges. Don’t enter into a negotiation process unless you actually plan to accept a revised offer that fits your needs.

Say something positive about the company, particularly if you would be interested in a different position there.

If so, make your interest obvious. Say that you hope there will be a chance to work with them in the future, or say you would like to keep in contact. You might explain outright that another position would suit you very well if one were to come open.

Consider recommending a friend in need of a job who you know would perform well.

This way, you can solve the problem for the company and your friend’s jobless problem simultaneously.

Whatever you do, never turn down a job offer “temporarily” expecting it may be open again later while you pursue other possibilities. In other words, do not hedge your bets with jobs. The only reason you should reject a job offer is if you honestly do not believe you would be happy at the job in question. Gambling with opportunities in this economic climate is not particularly wise, and often will result in no job whatsoever. If you do decide a certain job offer isn’t for you, following the advice above will help you to keep your job search experience a positive one.

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