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How to Turn Down that Job Offer Gracefully

Posted on 2019-04-23 02:40:00

Say no to a job opportunity without burning bridges and still appearing super professional.

So you’ve done your job hunting bit – applied to many jobs, gone for interviews, and now comes the waiting part. Lo and behold, you got a few options to consider! Woo hoo, congratulations. You obviously know which offer you’re going to go with... what do you do about the rest? How do you decline a job offer without looking like you’ve wasted the interviewer’s time as well as maintain a professional front?

It’s an awkward and uncomfortable experience but don’t worry, just because you’ve turned a job offer doesn’t mean you’ve lost all chances of ever working in that company. But you still need to do it professionally and with tact so that the HR person will remember you and who knows, maybe even call you later with a more exciting job offer that may suit you better at that time.

Assuming you’ve given it a lot of thought that the offer isn’t right for you. The next thing to do is to contact the person in charge (this would be the person who interviewed you or contacted you about the offer in the first place) to let him or her know that unfortunately you won’t be joining the company. Here’s how it’s done.

#1 Don’t wait too long
It is only right you let the employer know as soon as possible that you won’t be accepting the job. A day or two is fine; anything more is bordering rude. Besides, the earlier you let them know, the faster they can start looking for someone else, especially if it is an urgent position that needs to be filled ASAP.

#2 Choose the right form of communication
It’s courteous and professional to follow up with a phone call telling the hiring manager you won’t be accepting the job. It increases your chances of maintaining a positive impression with said employer. But if this is not possible, an email is just as good.

#3 Show thanks
First things first, thank the person for allocating the time to interview you and offering you the job offer. You can say something like “Thank you again for the interview. It was kind of you to answer my questions about the company and role, and now for considering me for the position.”

#4 Then, give a good reason why you’re declining the offer
Don’t say things like “The other job offered more money” or “The other job seemed more interesting.” You want to offer a good reason but you don’t have to go into the specifics. Also, don’t make up stories why you can’t take the job. It’s important to be honest and tactful when explaining why you are declining the position. Something like “After careful consideration, it is unfortunate that I have to decline the position as it is not the best time for me to accept it.”

#5 Keep it concise
You’re declining a job offer, not writing a novel on why the time is not right, the job is not suitable, your personal reasons, yadda yadda yadda. Which means keep your call or email short, direct and that’s it. Show appreciation, offer the reason why you’re declining it, say you hope to stay in touch.

Here’s a sample. And remember, like all forms of communication when it comes to work matters, make sure it is grammar- and spelling-error free!


From: Aishah June
To: HR Director, Puan Zainuddin
Subject: Marketing Manager Position

Dear Puan Zainuddin,

First of all, I would like to thank you for your time in interviewing me for the position of Marketing Manager with your company and offering me the position. After careful consideration, I regretfully decline the position as I have decided to pursue another role with a different company.

I wish you luck in finding someone suitable for the position. It’s been a pleasure meeting you and I hope that we cross paths in the future. Again, thank you for your time and support.


Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

By Mel Sim

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