/Career Advice/Negotiating/How to Tactfully Reject a Job Offer/

As with most people on the job hunt, you send out applications and go for several (if not many) interviews hoping to get at least a few offers to choose. What this also means is that at some point, you’ll have to reject some of the offers that come your way. Here’s why and how you can tactfully reject a job offer.

1. Get the word out, ASAP

As soon as you rule out the position as a viable choice, get in touch with the hiring manager to let them know. Most companies have long or complicated hiring processes and the earlier they hear from you, the faster they’ll be able to move forward with finding another suitable individual. 

2. Make it more personal

Ideally, you’d do this over a phone call and follow up with an email thereafter. The hiring manager has invested time and interest in bringing you onboard the team, so a phone call will show your appreciation and is more personable. If not, an email is perfectly acceptable. 

3. Give them a reason

There’s no need to go too much into detail but you should give the company a reason for rejecting the offer. Saying you’ve decided to go with another offer or that the position isn’t the right fit for this point of your career is enough. Going into specifics such as the salary compensation, employee benefits or your disinterest in the service/product is unnecessary and can leave a bad taste.

4. Thank them to show your appreciation

The company has committed time, resources and effort into reviewing your application and interviewing you. Acknowledging this in your rejection email is basic courtesy and shows your gratitude for having given you the opportunity to get to know the company. 

5. Offer to keep in touch

If the chances of bumping into each other at industry events are high, offer to stay in touch to avoid any possible awkwardness in your next chance encounter. Also, if you enjoyed speaking with the hiring manager during your interview, connecting on LinkedIn is also a great way to expand your network. A future position at the company might open up that could be relevant for you, therefore, it would not be wise to burn bridges.

Template - Another offer

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

Thank you so much for offering me the role of [position] at [company’s name]. I’ve given it a lot of thought and though it was a difficult decision, I’ve accepted an offer at another company.

I appreciate the time and effort you’ve placed in my application and interview process over the last few weeks. And I also really enjoyed our conversation during the interview and it gave much deeper insight into the company. I wish you and the team all the best for the future.

Once again, thank you for making the interview process so smooth and I hope that our paths will cross again sometime in the future.  

Yours sincerely,
[your name]

Template - Not the right fit

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

Thank you so much for offering me the role of [position] at [company’s name]. After much consideration, I’ve decided that the position is not in line with my career goals at the moment, and will thus be staying at my current job/will not be moving forward with the offer.

I really appreciate getting to know more about [company's name] and meeting you and the team during my interview. Our conversation was truly enriching and I learned a lot about what [company’s name] is currently doing.

Once again, thank you for the time and energy you’ve put into the whole interview process. I wish you and the team all the best in your future endeavors, and I hope that our paths will cross again.  

Yours sincerely,

[your name]

Rejecting a job offer that you don’t have a good gut feeling about or one that just doesn’t suit you is something you should do without hesitation. If you’re unsure about a prospective job offer, there are some red flags that would have popped up during your interview process that you might want to take heed of.

Marco Eylert
Co-Founder | TalentSpace

Marco's a co-founder at TalentSpace, and he previously worked at McKinsey & Company, Roland Berger and Credit Suisse. He graduated from Bocconi University and Johns Hopkins SAIS, where he was a scholar of the Haniel Foundation and the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes.

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