If you are currently looking for a job, turning down a job offer might be the farthest thing from your mind. But there are reasons why you may need to turn down a job.
We will examine some of these reasons below. We will also discuss why and how you should turn down a job offer gracefully, without causing offense.
Reasons for Turning Down a Job Offer
There are a number of reasons why you may need to turn down a job offer at some point in your career. Some of the most common reasons include:
- You’ve received a job offer but prefer to stay with your current employer. At times, you may receive offers from other companies who wish to “steal” or “win” you away from your current employer. This is especially the case if your skills are unique, hard to find, or in especially high demand. This may also happen when another employer observes the quality of your work.
- You wish to decline a promotion. Promotions are usually sought after for increased salaries and prestige. However, promotions may come at a cost to your work-life balance – for example, increased work hours, increased stress, a change to your schedule, or the need to relocate. In some cases, you may decide that the drawbacks aren’t worth it.
- You have applied to multiple jobs. If you are between jobs, you have likely applied to multiple companies. When more than one job offer comes at the same time, you have to decide which one you will take – and decline the others.
- You realized that the job was not a good fit for you. Sometimes, you may be deep into the interview or hiring process when you realize that the job is not a good fit for you. Perhaps it is the scope of the work, the company culture, or the compensation that does not work for you.
Why You Should Act Gracefully
Being polite and gracefully declining the job offer may not seem important. After all, you reason, you’re not taking the job – you won’t have to see these people again.
But that is not necessarily true. The world is more interconnected than ever. Especially within an industry, you may find yourself working with this company or sharing clients, vendors, or other resources. You may run into individuals at industry conferences. If you live in the same area, you may encounter them in other aspects of life. And, you never know when you may again seek a job with this company. Even years down the road, the same human resources team may be involved in the hiring process.
If you are declining a promotion at your current company, you will have to continue working with the individuals involved.
For these reasons, you should always act in a professional manner that leaves the door open for future friendly interactions.
Check out this article for more information on how to decline a job offer but keep the door open.
How to Gracefully Decline a Job Offer
A rejection letter or email can be the best and easiest way to decline a job offer. Since you are not face-to-face, you can review what you are saying to avoid conflict and negative emotions.
Your rejection letter should include the following:
- The name of the position you were offered.
- A clear statement that you will not be accepting the job.
- A brief explanation of your decision.
- Thanks for the hiring manager’s time and effort.
- An invitation for future interaction.
Notice that the explanation should be brief. You don’t have to go into great detail or share personal information. Depending on your unique circumstances, you might utilize one of the following explanations:
- “While I greatly appreciate your offer, I have decided to remain with my current employer.”
- “In order to maintain my desired work-life balance, I wish to remain in my current position and will not be accepting your generous offer.”
- “I have accepted an offer elsewhere and will be declining your offer. I also wish to thank you for the time spent during the interview process.”
- “Upon careful consideration, I have decided that this position is not a good fit for my current situation.”
You will also not that each of the above examples included grateful words of thanks. Gratitude is a skill in itself and is vital to keeping the door open to future communication. Another means of doing so is to state it clearly in your letter. For example, you might say, “I look forward to meeting you again at next year’s industry conference,” or, “Please feel free to contact me if similar positions open up in the future.”
Graceful rejection letters can keep the door open for future communication. Consider your word choice carefully, and always express gratitude.