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Jonathan Greenhalgh job hunting, Candidates...

How to reject a job offer

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If you're job hunting; actively sending out brilliantly tailored CVs, well-written cover letters and perfect applications hiring manager are going to be falling over themselves to invite you in to interview.

Of course, you're going to do marvellously in said interviews because you've done your interview prep and have mastered the STAR method. 

Before you know it, the offers will start flying in! 

But, in reality, what happens if you get offered more than one job? You cant accept them all so how do you decline an offer, politely and diplomatically?

You can let your recruiter or hiring manager know in person, on the phone, by letter or by email. All of these are acceptable ways of declining a job offer. It's probably best to adopt a two-pronged approach and turn down the offer with at least two of these approaches.

When rejecting a job offer draft up and email or letter to the person that you interviewed with but before sending it, give the person a call to thank them and let them know your decision. Trust us they'll appreciate it, and it shows that you care enough to thank them for selecting you.

So we'll walk you through this step by step.

Step one - Don't Sit On It

This one is about being polite; you don't want to burn any bridges as you may approach the company again for work in the future. A Hiring Manager will be more thankful for a quick rejection rather than waiting for days to hear back as they may lose other candidates that you may have just pipped.

Step two - Be Sincere

Let them know how much you appreciate the offer that they have given you and the time they spent reviewing your cv and interviewing you. Don't overdo it though.  Pick maybe one specific thing and focus on that, perhaps the interview process was quicker than you thought, or the Hiring Manager answered all of your questions thoroughly. 

Maybe even just say how friendly they all were and that you were glad to have met them and their team (if you met them).

Step three - Be Clear

Tell them why you are rejecting the offer. Make sure that your reason comes off as genuine and that it has come after meticulous consideration.

It's not advisable to tell them that you have rejected their offer because you think that another role is better than theirs or offering a better salary. Try to say that you have been offered a position that gives you more opportunities, in your opinion, to develop specific skills or work on certain projects.

Try to avoid going into to much detail and avoid making direct comparisons about the roles. Instead, focus on telling them how much you enjoyed meeting them and that their company does appeal to you. Explain that you have taken a position that more closely matched your personal aspirations at this moment in time.

Leave it at that.

Step 4 - Leave The Door Open

Remember earlier when we spoke about not burning bridges? Lots of industries can be very small, where everyone seems to know each other. Bring your letter to a close by thanking them for the opportunity and wishing them well in the future.

Mention that you'd be happy to grab a coffee if you are ever likely to cross paths at any future industry events.

Rejecting a job offer, for some people, can be a daunting experience but at the end of the day, you're rejecting the job because it's not for you.

Don't worry about offending your recruiter or hiring manager. Trust me they're used to it, and they will understand that you don't want to take a job only to end up regretting it down the line. If you take the time to draft up a well-written email or letter to follow up your phone call, you'll have no problem.

If you're looking for a new job, make sure that you check out our "guide to finding a new job" by clicking here or give us a call on 0161 839 5353