How to Properly Decline a Job Offer

Searching for your next career opportunity? Although the job search market is pretty competitive, you may find–or have found– yourself in a situation where you receive two job offers simultaneously. It may seem like an ideal situation (two job offers are surely better than one–or none!–right?), but how you handle the situation can make a long-term impact on your career.

Politely declining a job offer can make a difference

Taking the time and courtesy to politely decline a job offer today can impact you down the road. The HR director for your prospective employer today could very well end up being your boss or coworker down the line in your career. Plus, it’s simply good etiquette and courtesy.

Here are some tips for politely declining offers of employment:

  • Give employers an answer as soon as possible. If you know you’re not going to accept the position, notify the business right away. This gives them time to pursue other top candidates (before they get other offers too!).
  • Be sure to call. With the “as soon as possible” idea in mind, call employers to notify them, so that you don’t waste any time. Politely, and quickly, notify them that you have accepted another position (or simply that you are declining their offer). Then,
  • Send a letter to follow up. Send a polite, detailed one-page letter explaining why you have declined an offer of employment. This is a courtesy that allows businesses to evaluate their hiring process and other areas of their business.
  • Show some gratitude. In all communications, thank businesses for their interest. You can soften the blow of your decision by showing some poise and gratitude.
  • Give a general explanation. Try to avoid referencing salary or benefits (unless asked), as businesses tend to avoid discussing these terms directly. Focus your letter on the culture, responsibilities, management framework…keep it to areas of the business that don’t meet your needs or goals.

Looking for your next career opportunity?
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