How To Gracefully Decline A Job Offer

You prepared well for your interview; however, a few of your questions were answered with very sketchy responses. Are you going to take this job and be unemployed in a few months? Are they screwing their employees over? Does their business practice err on the side of illegal or unethical or immoral? Or an even better scenario is that you went back to your current employer and told them you were offered a great job at a new company with better pay and a better title and they countered offering you WAY more. Regardless of the reasons, you need to decline a job offer in a professional, delicate (so as to not burn bridges) and respectful way.

Here are some tips on how to gracefully decline a job offer:

1.) Once you receive an offer, thank them and ask when they would like an answer. Take that time to weigh your options and do not leave them hanging.

2.) The most professional way to handle declining a job offer is by phone. If that is too uncomfortable for you, than the very least, email. Using the phone is an opportunity for an open exchange and possibly keeping the door open for future interactions or even positions. It goes back to basics from Jr. High, breaking up with someone by note or having your friends do it is childish and hurtful. Taking the high road and dealing with something uncomfortable face to face is a growth opportunity and a respectable way to handle things.

3.) Be positive, humble, appreciative and brief. Thank them for their time, share with them the positive things you liked about the company/offer, let them know that you enjoyed getting to know how the company worked, you carefully considered the offer, it was a very hard decision, however, you are accepting another position that better suits your career objective – or another reason more applicable to your situation. Avoid being boastful even though the other company offered you greater pay/benefits and/or better title. The main objective is to not burn bridges; this hiring manager may be the gatekeeper to your dream job, tread lightly.

4.) Keep the lines of communication open. Share with them your title at your new company and your contact information, make sure you are connected with them on LinkedIn and lastly, wish them and the company continued success and best of luck on their search and screen process for that job.

The end result here is respect; you want them to continue their respect for you even after you decline the job. That speaks volumes to your character and solidifies why they would want to hire you in the first place.

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