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Examples of How to Gracefully Decline a Job Offer

By The ZipRecruiter Editors

Employers know that only some job offers they make will result in a new hire. There are many reasons a candidate might go through the interview process and receive an offer but be unable or unwilling to accept it.

If you decline a job offer gracefully, you leave a positive impression on the hiring manager and company. Instead of burning a bridge, you leave the door open with them. They may be a valuable part of your professional network or be someone who helps you with future career moves.

The worst thing you can do in declining a job offer is to give in to nervousness or embarrassment and avoid the issue. Instead, here is how you can decline a job offer professionally, tactfully, and gracefully.

When Declining the Job Offer, Respond Promptly

Most employment offers will include a response deadline. Likely, they’ve been interviewing other candidates and don’t want to start over from scratch if you decline the job offer.

If you’re sure you are not taking the job, you don’t have to wait until the deadline to let the hiring manager know. Responding quickly is considerate and shows professionalism.

Use Their Preferred Communication Channel

If they called you to inform you about the job offer, call them to decline. On the other hand, if they emailed the offer, you could email your reply. Use the same communication channel they do.

If you cannot get them by phone, it’s okay to email them instead. A phone call offers a more personal touch, but it’s not worth an extended delay if they aren’t available.

Open With Thanks

Whether you speak on the phone or send an email, open the conversation with appreciation and gratitude. Here are three examples:

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the opportunity to work at Lumber Unlimited as a Marketing Coordinator

Thank you for your generous offer and the opportunity to work as an Event Planner at Arcade Works.

Thank you for the opportunity to be the Receptionist for Dunger & Fortman Accounting Services.

Keep Your Reason Short, Sweet, and Direct

Giving a reason is important, but you don’t have to tell them everything. Your reasons for not accepting may be simple, such as you got a better offer. They might be complicated; for example, if you don’t feel you would work well with the manager or the company culture is a good fit for you.

Either way, a simple and short reason is all you need. Avoid giving a negative reason since your goal is to preserve your reputation and the relationship.

7 Example Reasons to Give When Declining a Job Offer

Here are ways to express various reasons why you might be declining a job offer.

Though it was a difficult decision, I’ve accepted a job at another company.

After carefully reviewing the opportunity, I’ve decided to decline your job offer. I’m going to stay focused on positions more in line with my career goals and the work I want to do.

I appreciate the time you took to discuss salary options with me. After careful consideration, I must decline this job offer because the salary is too far from what I would need to leave my current position.

After careful consideration, I have to decline the job offer. I appreciate the opportunity, but this position does not fit my long-term career goals.

As much as I appreciate the company and the team, I have decided to accept another position that allows me to use my training in graphic design.

Regretfully, I must decline the position. It is not the right fit for me at this time.

As exciting as this opportunity seems, I’ve decided now is not the right time to leave my current job.

Example Email to Decline a Job Offer

Here is an example email to use as a template to draft your own. Notice it opens with appreciation, clearly states the reason for declining, and then ends on a professional note.

Subject line: Job offer – Sandy Doss

Dear Ms. Cartina,

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the offer to work at Dusty Dogs as a Groomer. Clearly, your team loves what they do and puts their heart into caring for each customer. 

After careful consideration, I have decided to decline. I want to keep looking for a position that will allow me to develop the IT skills I went to school to learn.

It was a pleasure to meet you. I will recommend Dusty Dogs to all my friends who can use your services. Best wishes for your continued success.

Sincerely, Sandy Doss

It Is Your Choice to Accept or Decline

It’s normal to feel nervous or awkward when you’ve decided to decline a job offer. After all, you may have spent considerable time applying for jobs and going through the interview process. However, if you have better offers or it’s not the right fit for you, it’s better to decline.

By responding quickly and declining professionally, you maintain a positive professional reputation while freeing yourself to move on to the right job.

The ZipRecruiter Editors

At ZipRecruiter, our mission is to connect employers and job seekers with their next great opportunity. On the ZipRecruiter blog, we use insider experience and data derived from our AI-driven jobs marketplace to provide advice and insights on topics such as the job search process, interviewing, and labor market trends. Start your job search or post a job today and connect with us on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn!

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