So, you've gone through the interview process and been offered the job, but what do you do if you don't want it?
There are two ways to decline a job offer: the right way and the wrong way. In this guide, we explain how to decline a job offer politely.
We answer the most frequently asked questions and concerns about declining job offers, run you thorugh examples of the common scenarios while turning down a job offer and finish with 15 email templates that you can use to reject the offer, including managing the tricky task of how to decline a job offer you have already accepted.
Here's how Flowrite can write your emails for you to ensure proper format and grammar:
Declining a job offer – the frequently asked questions
Let's start by answering some of the common questions people want to know about how to decline a job offer.
Is it unprofessional to decline a job offer?
The interview process is about getting a job offer. Once that offer is on the table, you enter a new phase. "The next stage is about weighing that offer and then negotiating with your new employer," says Rebecca Knight in the HBR. You don't have to accept the job; you can choose not to.
It's unprofessional to accept a job you don't want or won't commit to.
In some cases, turning down a job is the professional thing to do.
What is a good reason to decline a job offer?
You may wonder what the best reason to reject a job offer is? Like the experts at Monster Jobs, we believe honesty is the best policy. If you're worried about the position, don't think the salary is enough, or are holding out for a better job, then say so.
It may seem rude, but being constructive can help the recruiter's future efforts.
Is it rude to decline a job offer?
Declining a job is a form of rejection, but in most cases, these people aren't your friends, and they won't take it personally (or they shouldn't).
If you follow our guidance on how to decline a job offer professionally, you'll protect your reputation. But, on the other hand, if your response is unclear, or even worse, you don't send a response at all, you're being rude.
Can I decline a job offer after signing the contract?
This is where it gets a little trickier. You can decide whom you work for. While there are no rules against declining a job offer after signing the contract, it could cause the recruiter problems and be considered unprofessional.
So, the answer to the question: can I decline a job offer after signing is: yes, but it could impact your reputation and almost certainly will stop you from ever being offered a job with the company again.
Reasons to decline a job offer
There are an almost infinite number of reasons to decline a job offer. However, the reasons for not taking a job often boil down to a few fundamentals, including:
- Issues with salary, terms or conditions
- You've been offered a new job
- You've received a promotion, pay rise, or both!
- You're happy to stay with your old employer
- You need to decline a job offer due to family reasons
While your privacy should always be protected, we encourage you to explain why you're turning down a job. Of course, you don't need to go into detail. Still, a brief explanation is a common courtesy. As demonstrated in our examples below, it will earn you respect and help improve your professional reputation.
How to turn down a job offer
Here are 10 top tips on how to turn down a job offer without upsetting or offending the recruiter. Don't worry if you find it hard to turn down a job; we show you how to use these concepts in our examples below:
- Make sure to send a message – so many people don't bother to turn down a job offer. Instead, they ignore the email. Don't be this person.
- Sent it ASAP – Ideally, you should reject the job the same day if possible. Why? Because the company may want to offer it to someone else.
- Be 100% professional – Friendly emails are acceptable in some circumstances, but when you're rejecting a job offer, be formal (and never try to be funny).
- Say thanks, but… – Start each job rejection email by thanking them. This reflects the time, effort, and investment they've put into the process.
- … don't leave the news to the end – State early in the message in unequivocal terms that you're turning down the job.
- Provide a reason (unless it's personal) – While you don't have to provide a reason for tuning down a job, you should.
- Let the recruiter know what you liked about the company, but… – Everyone likes a compliment, so if you've got something nice to say, then say it.
- …keep it short – Nobody needs chapter and verse on your reason for turning down a job offer.
- Close the door (if you want) – Email rejections can sometimes be used as part of a strategy to increase pay and conditions. If you're happy to manage this process, then great, but if it's a firm no, then say so.
- Proofread every email – Nothing says unprofessional than a poorly written email filled with errors. Check it before sending!
Subject for declining job offer
The subject line for declining job offers should be clear and polite, but you'll want to ensure that the person receiving it reads it. The simplest email subject line for declining a job offer is to use your name and the job title separate with a hyphen, say experts.
So let's see how that works:
- Sarah Jones – Marketing Executive Position
You can flip it, so it reads:
- Sarah Jones – Marketing Executive Position
- Marketing Executive Position – Sarah Jones
Both approaches are going to be highly effective. Make it stand out if you want to ensure your message isn't missed during a busy day. Here's how:
- Urgent: Sarah Jones – Marketing Executive Position
- Please Read: Sarah Jones – Marketing Executive Position
If you have a job reference number, be sure to include that in the email subject line for declining a job offer.
How to decline a job offer - 15 examples
Online you'll find hundreds of examples of how to decline a job offer. Still, very few of them delve into the details and specifics you'll need for your situation. In our 15 examples of how to decline a job offer, we provide real-world templates you can use. You'll find basic how to decline a job offer examples alongside more challenging emails, such as how to decline an offer after you've accepted it.
The key to using any of these declining job offer email examples is to personalize them to your situation. Ready to go? Here are 15 how to decline job offer samples.
How to professionally decline a job offer
We start with an example of how to properly decline a job offer. This is a standard approach that covers the basics. Feel free to adapt this professional job offer rejection template for your role.
How to politely decline a job offer
The professional email above can be pretty formal, so here's an example of how to respectfully decline a job offer.
How to decline a job offer due to salary
Deciding how to decline a job offer due to salary is challenging. First, you'll need to decide whether your decision to decline a job offer for salary is a deal-breaker or whether you're willing to negotiate. In this template for how to decline a job offer email due to salary, we leave the door open and invite the employer to come back with a counteroffer.
How to decline a job offer you already accepted
Declining a job offer you've already accepted is going to be tricky. First, you'll need to be clear about why you accepted and why you've subsequently decided to reject it. In this sample of how to decline a job offer you accepted, we're very apologetic, reflecting the impact your decision will have on the business. Here's one way to gracefully decline a job offer after accepting it.
How to decline an internal job offer
Declining an internal job or promotion is especially tricky as you'll continue to work for the same organization – and in some cases, the same building, or even the same team. However, the principles here remain the same: say thank you, decline the job, explain why, and move on. Here's how to decline an internal job offer.
How to decline a job offer after accepting another job
Few of us apply for just one job; in fact, the average person sends out between 10-15 every week, says Indeed. So it's likely to be a regular occurrence that someone accepts a job and then is offered another one, but that doesn't make the news easier to take.
Here's a sample of how to decline a job offer because of another offer that will ensure you keep your professional reputation intact.
How to politely decline a job offer on LinkedIn
Recruiters will regularly use LinkedIn to approach you for new roles. The etiquette on how to decline a LinkedIn job offer is slightly different. You can be less formal and briefer because you're instant messaging rather than emailing.
Here's our recommended way how to decline a job offer on LinkedIn.
How to decline a job offer because of location
If you're required to move, you may think twice about accepting a job. Here's an example of how to decline a job offer requiring relocation.
How to decline a job offer and recommend someone else
If you work in a specialist field, you may want to recommend someone else when rejecting a job. But, you never know, it could all work out, and you're doing the potential employer a huge favor!
How to decline a job offer for personal reasons
Sometimes life can get in the way of your dream job. It can be tough to decline an appointment for personal reasons, but you must send that message. It's up to you how much detail you go into about your challenges. Here's how to decline a job offer for personal reasons.
How to decline a job offer from a previous employer
Declining a job offer from a previous employer is tricky as you'll already have established a personal relationship with them. Here's how you can thank them for the offer and gracefully decline. This same template can be used to decline a job offer from a friend.
How to decline a job offer due to distance
Faced with a lengthy commute, you may want to turn down a job and find something a little closer to home. Check out our example of how to decline a job offer due to distance.
How to decline a job offer due to benefits
Salary is a critical part of the package, but you'll want the benefits in the modern world too! Things like holiday entitlement, flexible working, and more are all essentials. This email outlines how to decline a job offer due to benefits.
How to decline a job offer due to family reasons
Personal reasons and family reasons are often the same, so you'll find this example of how to decline a job offer due to family reasons is similar. But, again, feel free to add much or as little detail as you want to.
How to decline a job offer after an interview
Sometimes, you may realize you don't want to move further in the recruitment process after an interview. In that case, use this sample of how to decline a job offer after an interview.
How to decline a job offer with low pay
One of the main reasons to turn down a job is salary. You can beat around the bush or say it straight. We recommend being upfront; you never know – they may match your expectations. In those circumstances, you can use this sample of how to decline a lowball job offer.
Email template to reject a job offer
Flowrite is an AI writing software that turns your instructions into ready-to-send emails and messages, like this:
Our Chrome extension covers the email format, capitalization, grammar, spelling, punctuation.
In other words, you can focus on the message, and Flowrite will take care of the delivery. We dare to claim that it's the fastest way to reject a job offer. Our email template collection features dozens of templates to help you.
To grasp how easy and fast rejecting a job offer is with Flowrite, check out how to decline a job offer example below.
We hope we've described how to decline a job offer professionally to the extent that you feel more confident facing the tough decision. Turning down a job offer is challenging, but you'll keep your professional reputation intact by following our tips on politely declining a job offer. Before you decline a job offer, be sure to take the time to craft a genuine reply that shows your appreciation even though you are turning down the offer. Follow our guidelines here, and you won't go wrong.
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