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How to Graciously Turn Down a Job Offer - With Examples

The grueling phase of the coding challenge is over, and you’ve finally landed a job offer. Sounds exciting, right?

But unfortunately, you need to turn it down. Declining a job offer can be challenging, and that’s why how to politely decline a job offer is an art you need to master. After all, no candidate wants to burn bridges with a prospective employer. We can never know when paths might cross again.

This article will teach you how to turn down a job offer gracefully through email. As a bonus, we’ve also provided you with email templates that you can use to communicate the message. So, let’s learn more about how to decline a job offer tactfully.

How to Decline a Job offer through email: Practical Tips

Simply because you’ve been made an offer isn’t a good enough reason to accept it. You may have bagged a better offer, the pay may not be as per industry standards, or your gut instinct is telling you to walk away from this one -- there could be various reasons for turning down an offer.  Regardless of the reason, knowing how to respectfully decline a job offer needs some practice.

Here’s how to decline an offer graciously:

1 -  Be prompt

The first tip of learning how to turn down a job offer is to not keep the employer waiting.

As soon as you’ve made up your mind, let the employer know right away.  Delayed communication can result in a lot of inconvenience for the employer, and create a negative impression about you as a professional.  A prompt response can avoid frustration and heartache for both parties. Moreover, once you decline the offer, the employer can reach out to other candidates who may be interested in the position. Therefore, when you learn how to decline an offer promptly, you create opportunities for your peers.

2-  Provide a reason

Not providing a reason may keep the employer wondering what went wrong. Don’t forget that the hiring manager spent a significant time conducting multiple rounds of interviews. As a job seeker, you may be eager to find out why you weren’t selected for a particular position. Similarly, when you reject an offer, it is advisable to provide a reason for your rejection. You don’t have to get into too many details -- a brief but honest explanation will suffice.

Here are some examples to consider:

  • After careful consideration, I have decided that this is not the right time to resign from my current position.  
  • Thank you for giving me an opportunity. However, I have decided to pursue a different role, which aligns with my present career goals as a software developer.
  • After much deliberation, I have decided to accept an offer from another company.
  • Thank you for extending the offer. I am afraid this is not the right fit for my career goals at present.  

3 - Politeness is always in vogue

As you learn the art of how to decline an offer, don’t underestimate the importance of being polite in all communication, including emails. Politeness is a strong virtue that enhances relationships and builds rapport with others. Staying polite when you turn down an offer helps because you never know when you may need to speak to them for another opportunity in future. Turning down a job offer politely can be an excellent booster for your self-esteem too.

Always start the communication by thanking the other person for giving you an opportunity and taking time out to schedule/conduct the interview. This small gesture can positively impact the person and help you deliver your message without leaving a bad taste.

4 - Always leave the door open

Even though you may feel there are a handful of jobs  waiting for you, burning bridges with a potential employer is never a good idea. It is not wise to completely alienate a potential employer, as you can never eliminate the possibility of re-applying for a position. So, even if you’re declining the job, express the desire to stay in touch. Follow it up by sending the person a connection request on LinkedIn. In case you happen to bump into the hiring manager at a tech event or conference, use the opportunity to network, or maybe even grab a cup of coffee.

5 - Proofread, edit, and test your message before sending

One of the critical lessons of how to reject a job offer politely by email is paying the utmost attention to details.

From a hiring manager’s perspective, the only thing worse than a  candidate turning down a job opportunity is receiving a poorly drafted email about the same. Your email speaks volumes about your personality and skills as a professional. Ensure that you prepare the email carefully and read it a couple of times to fix proofreading errors. Spend time on the email to cull out any editing errors. Read the email aloud to make sure that your message is clear and the tone is courteous. Don’t be in a rush to hit the send button -- polish your email as much as you can.

6 - Use email templates

Writing the perfect email to turn down an offer may not be a cakewalk for you. But don’t let that hold you back from sending a response -- you can use various “how to decline a job offer email templates” to deliver your message effectively.

Worried about how to get hold of these templates? We have you covered -- check out how to reject a job offer politely email samples below that you can use to master and learn how to politely decline a job offer.

How to decline a job offer - Sample Emails

Know how to reject a job offer by referring to these email templates. Feel free to customize it further:

1.When It's not the right fit

It is possible that the company where you’ve been offered a position is not the right one for you. You may feel that the responsibilities you need to carry out in this role are not in tune with your career and personal goals.

Use this sample to learn how to decline a job offer because it isn’t the right fit.

Dear [Name of the Interviewer]:

Thank you very much for considering me for the position of [Job Title] at [Company Name]. After careful consideration, I feel that the present position is not aligned with my current career path and personal goals. In light of this, I have decided to accept another position which I believe is more suitable for me at this point in time.  It was my pleasure to learn more about [Company] and the fantastic work that you are doing. I am grateful for your time, and I sincerely hope you find the right candidate for this position.

I look forward to hearing from you in the future. If there are any questions you have for me, please let me know. Let’s be in touch.

Best Wishes,

2. When the salary offered doesn’t match your expectations

Salary negotiations are a vital part of any interview process. Unfortunately, you may not be offered a salary as per your expectations. If you’ve negotiated multiple times but didn’t see a better offer coming your way, you should know how to gracefully turn down the job offer.

Use this sample email if you want to know how to decline a job offer due to salary constraints.

Dear [Interviewer]:

Thank you so much for offering me the [Job Title] and for giving me a fantastic opportunity to work with you. I have given a lot of thought to the compensation package in the offer. After a detailed consideration, I feel that I must decline the offer. As I’d mentioned during our conversations, the salary offered is not commensurate with my experience.

It was a pleasure meeting you and learning about [Company] and the fantastic work you do.  I sincerely hope we get an opportunity to work together in the future. Let’s stay in touch.

Yours sincerely

3. The reputation of the company is not good

You may wonder how to politely decline a job offer when the reputation of the company, the work environment, or the culture is not favorable. It is best to keep the email straightforward without getting into too many reasons. Bottom line -- if there is something about the company that’s bothering you and you don’t want to accept the offer, it is best to write an email and let the employer know.

Dear [Name of the Interviewer],

Thank you for offering me the position of [Job Title]. I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity. Unfortunately, I have decided to accept another offer with a different company since the role is more aligned with my current career goals.

I appreciate your time and wish you all the best. Let’s stay in touch.

Best Regards,

4. The job involves a long commute

In case there’s going to be a long commute to get to your office, or the journey through public transportation is terrible, you may be inclined to reject the offer. The inconvenience of getting to work could offset any satisfaction you might derive from the job.

That’s why you should learn how to decline an offer in such circumstances.  

Dear [Name of the Interviewer]:

Thank you so much for offering me the [Job Title]. After giving this a lot of thought, I have decided to decline the opportunity. The commute seems too arduous, and I won’t be able to perform to my best since long commutes can negatively impact productivity, health, and happiness.

It was a pleasure meeting you. I wish you all the best and hope to stay in touch.

Yours sincerely,

5.There's inadequate flexibility for current needs

It is possible that due to personal reasons, you’re looking for flexibility in your current role. You may want to work from home a few days of the week, or work a fixed number of hours on certain days. Changing your lifestyle for your job may not be an option available to you. It is best to know how to politely decline a job offer while stating the reason for not taking the job. This may even increase the chances of the employer coming back with a better offer.

Dear [Name of the Interviewer]:

Thank you so much for offering me the [Job Title]. Unfortunately, I need more flexibility in terms of working hours due to some personal reasons. I may not be able to work from the office on all days and would prefer working from home. Thus, I have no option but to decline the offer.

I  hope we get an opportunity to work together in the future. Let’s stay in touch.

Yours sincerely

6. Declining an offer after accepting It

Life is unpredictable. You may need to decline an offer after accepting it. So here’s an email template for how to reject a job offer after you have accepted it.

Dear [Name of the Interviewer],

Thanks so much for offering me the position of [Job Title]. I am truly delighted, and thank you sincerely for giving me an opportunity.

Unfortunately, after significant deliberation, I have decided to decline this opportunity. I am extremely sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you. I hope we get a chance to work together in the future.

Let’s stay in touch.

Kind Regards,

How to decline an offer: via email or a phone call?

Now that we’ve looked at practical tips for how to reject a job offer through email, you might wonder if you could place a call to let the employer know that you’re declining the offer. While phone calls may seem more personal, you may also run the risk of putting the other person on the spot by expecting an instant response. Emails allow the recipient to respond at ease.

Sometimes it may boil down to personal preference. If you’re uncomfortable calling the hiring manager to deliver this news, there’s no harm in sending an email. Just remember to inform the hiring manager to avoid an unpleasant situation.

Conclusion: How to Reject a Job Offer Politely and Professionally

Declining a job offer is never easy. But sometimes, it is necessary because only you can make the right decision for yourself. Sending a well-structured email response declining the offer will always hold you in good stead. Once you reject the offer, you can focus your energy on preparing for other interviews.

Are you finding it challenging to prepare for technical interviews on your own?  You don’t have to do it alone -- Interview Kickstart can help you nail your next interview through useful interview preparation tips and technical interview prep courses.

Want to get supercharge your technical interview prep? Our 2020 cohorts are filling up fast. Join this interactive live session with our Founder to know more.

Last updated on: 
October 27, 2023

Utkarsh Sahu

Director, Category Management @ Interview Kickstart || IIM Bangalore || NITW.

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