Below, you'll find guidelines on politely turning down a job offer and sample the company or the people you've interacted with — it's a rejection letter after all.
It’s more professional to write a formal letter to decline a job.
With the economy back on track, employers are more likely to make a job offer today than they were several years ago. But whether the compensation is too low, the location is inconvenient, or the job just isn’t the right fit for you, sometimes you just need to say, "No thanks." And while it may be tempting to turn down an offer verbally and leave it at that, it’s more professional to write a formal rejection letter to decline the job.
Keep these four tips in mind as you write your rejection letter letter:
Here’s a sample letter declining a job offer:
50 Corporate Plaza
Sometown, ST 00000
Dear Ms. Harper:
Thank you very much for offering me the assistant manager position. After careful consideration, I regret that I must decline your offer. Although you were most encouraging in outlining future advancement possibilities within ABC Company, I have accepted another opportunity that is more in line with my skills and career goals.
I enjoyed meeting you and the rest of your team. You have been most kind and gracious throughout the interview process, and I only wish that circumstances allowed me to accept your offer.
Best wishes for your continued success.
What seems like a fantastic job at first may not be such a great fit after all—and that's okay. The good news is, there are other opportunities out there waiting for you. Could you use some help finding a job that is more in line with what you're looking for? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Keep your door open, and you never know what kinds of great offers will make their way to you.
You've done all the hard work to get the job offer—but what happens when you no not to leave a hiring manager in the dark about why you're declining the position. You can elaborate to the extent that it makes sense—for example, at one.
So, what do we do when that time comes?
How should we politely decline the offer?
Henry E. Goldbeck
Certified Personnel Consultant | President of Goldbeck Recruiting Inc.
When declining a job interview, it’s important to do it ASAP to be respectful of the employer’s time and priorities.
Stepping aside will allow another candidate to take your place. You can give a reason, but details are not required, and certainly, do not criticize the employer as a reason for declining. From your point of view, this is a long term relationship that may come to bear some time in the future.
The same company may have a different position open that you would love to interview for, or the hiring manager might move to another company that you would love to work for, etc.
If you do like the company and would be interested in working there at a future date and/or in a different role, make sure to say that too. Lastly, don’t forget to thank the person for the opportunity and for their time.
Here’s a sample letter:
Dear Hiring Manager,
Thank you for considering me for the <ABC> position. However, I have accepted another offer that is more in line with the work that I hope to do, and must regretfully withdraw my application.
Please keep me in mind in for future positions. I have followed your company for many years and have been continuously impressed with its fast growth. It is my hope that I can work with you at a later date, in a role that better aligns with my goals. I would be especially interested in positions in your project management department and have been working to develop my career in that direction.
Again, thank you for your time and the opportunity.
All the best,
Former Career Ambassador at the George Washington University | Founder, Transizion
When declining a job interview, your goal is to say “no” while keeping the relationship between the both of you alive.
This ensures you’re keeping the door open for later, just in case your current opportunity falls through or you unexpectedly lose your job. It happens to everyone, so you want to prepare for that.
You don’t need to exactly state why you’re declining the interview. Rather, you can be general about why you need to move on. Trust me, the employer will understand.
With that said, you want to keep this relationship between you and the company alive. My favorite tip to do this is to offer to take the hiring point person, or a team member, out for coffee or a drink to pick their brain and get to know them more.
They usually won’t take you up on the offer because they’re so busy, but the fact that you offered is something that will stick with them. This ensures you stick in their mind with a positive memory. Even if they don’t remember you when you can email them back months or years from that point, you can remind them of your previous correspondence and they’ll remember you or see your name in their inbox. That you had positive interaction with them before is important social proof.
Deborah Woolridge, MSED SPHR SHRM-SCP
Certified HR Professional
It has been a rare experience that someone would decline an interview but it happens. My tips:
Academic & Career Coach, Life Lived by Design
We’ve all been there before. You found a position you’re really excited about and, after the first interview, you realize it’s not quite what you were looking for.
Do you continue with the interview process for practice or do you bow out? If you’re certain that there is nothing new you can learn that would change your mind about considering the position, it’s time to let it go – gracefully that is.
Here are a few tips for declining future interviews:
When all else fails, use this template as a guide for your response:
Hello [name of hiring manager],
Thanks so much for the opportunity to continue with the interview process for the [position title]. After much reflection, I have decided to withdraw my application from consideration. While I [insert positive experience}, I don’t feel [insert brief reason for withdrawal]. I really appreciate the opportunity to learn more about [company name] and am so grateful for your time. Best of luck in finding the perfect fit for the position.
[your full name]
Career Coach for Employment BOOST
No matter what your answer will be, it’s always important to respond politely to an offer. On the case that you are looking to decline an offer, keep in mind it is important to never burn a bridge and still respond in a professional manner.
When crafting your letter, start by thanking everyone involved in the process before giving a credible reason to allow the hiring manager to fully understand why you are choosing to move on.
By doing so, the hiring manager has the chance to find ways to meet your requirements or will have the option to keep you in mind for future opportunities that could.
For instance, in the case that you find that the new position that was offered doesn’t provide a reasonable salary that you are looking for respectfully decline and explain that in order for you to make the transition it would require an offer that is within a certain range. In addition to this, take adequate time to explain why you are looking for that range before closing out your letter.
Jodi RR Smith
Human Resources Professional | Nationally Known Etiquette Consultant
It is not uncommon for job-seekers to mistakenly think it is more polite or professional to keep an interview. This is a novice mistake.
Keeping the interview steals a spot from someone who is actually interested in the position. It also wastes the interviewer’s time. The time which could be spent seeking other candidates or simply doing other work.
Instead, a brief yet polite email will suffice. There is no need to provide any excuse or explanation.
“Thank you for inviting me to interview with your company/firm/organization. After reviewing the posting, I have determined it is not the right position for me at this time. I wish you all the best.”
HR Specialist, FitSmallBusiness
Often candidates get job interview offers for positions they don’t really want. For example, I’ve often received calls from recruiters wanting to hire me for insurance sales roles.
Here are a few examples of ways to decline the interview. Whatever you do, don’t agree to an interview and then ghost the recruiter by not showing up.
Recruiters have a hard enough time scheduling interviews for themselves and hiring managers. Instead, be graceful, and direct. You never know when your paths may cross with that company or that person in the future.
“Thank you for thinking of me. I’m going to pass on your request for an interview due to (pick one):
having accepted another job offer
loyalty to my current employer
having changed directions in my career search
the realization that the job opening and my personal goals aren’t in sync
I appreciate your time and wish you the best in your search for a top candidate to fill this role.
(optional) I’d be happy to share the job post on my social media profile to see if any of my contacts might be interested.”
Career Counselor and Coach | Licensed Mental Health Counselor | Certified Career Counselor | National Certified Counselor
It is usually good practice to go on a job interview; however, if the job is not a good fit and you know you will never take it might be better to decline the job interview.
First, thank the interviewer for the opportunity to interview you; you never know when and if you will meet this person again. Then be as honest as possible – you might say, “I do not think this job is a good fit for myself and I do not want to waste your time and/ or delay the process for anyone else who is sincerely interested in this position”.
Executive Career Strategist | Promotion Career Solutions
Just because a job isn’t a good fit for you, doesn’t mean it isn’t a good fit for someone you know. Before you turn down a job interview, consider whether there is someone in your network who might be a good fit.
If the employer chose you, chances are good they saw something in you that made them pay attention. They trust you. You become a source of goodwill when you politely turn down their offer and recommend a friend who you know would fit their team perfectly.
“Dear Company ABC,
Thank you for considering me for the (XYZ position) with (Company ABC).
My career is moving in another direction, however, I have a good friend who would be ideal for this role. I am confident s/he is the right person for the job at (Company ABC) for these reasons…
Does it make sense for me to introduce the two of you?”
This way, you’ve politely declined the offer while maintaining the company’s awe.
If the friend turns out to get hired, now you have two people inside Company ABC who have their eyes peeled for ways to bring you in next time – maybe at a more senior level?
Either way, you’ve impressed the hiring committee at Company ABC. They might even share this story of your generosity with others in the industry. This improves not only your reputation but also strengthens your brand.
Director of Enterprise Sales for Crowd Content Media
When declining an opportunity that a company presents me with, I always focus on not burning any bridges.
Being honest about why this opportunity is not for me while also being sure to maintain a positive relationship with the company is something I believe is very important for long term career success.
Although the situation being offered may not fit your interests at this time that doesn’t mean it won’t in the future; keeping that future door open is important!
The ability to provide referrals to other individuals who would be a good fit for the role or suggesting that they reach back out to you in 6 months are also both great tools I use for ensuring that the interaction results in a positive outcome.
Career Counselor at ResumeGenius
If you’re declining a job interview, remember the “three Cs”: courtesy, clarity, and conciseness.
Courtesy means remaining professional when you turn down the interview. Take time to thank the hiring manager for the opportunity in a way that leaves a positive impression. Doing so is crucial since you never know if you’ll apply to the same company again, or even if the two of you will end up at the same company one day.
After thanking the interviewer, make it crystal clear that you are no longer interested in the position. You don’t need to specify exactly why you’re no longer interested; simply clarify that your plans have changed.
An effective example might be, “After careful consideration, I have decided to turn down this opportunity for the time being. I don’t do so lightly, and I greatly appreciate your consideration and offer.”
If you have a colleague who is job-hunting at the same time, you may want to provide the recruiter with their contact details (remember to ask for permission first). This way you can lend your friend a hand while impressing the recruiter with your pragmatism.
Your email or letter declining the interview should be short — a couple of paragraphs will do. All it needs to include is a sincere thank you and a polite response making clear your decision to turn down the interview.
CEO and Founder of Martyn Bassett Associates
The best approach to declining a job interview is to be brief, polite, and prompt while leaving the door open for future conversations:
“Thanks so much for thinking of me but after reflecting on my situation I’m going to withdraw from the process. If circumstances change I’ll reach out and hope to re-engage.”
CEO of MyCorporation.com
You may not be able to take the job right now, but you can’t foresee the future either.
You may come back to them later on, so don’t burn any bridges by not responding, being dishonest, or comparing them to the organization you’re actually going to work for.
In order to politely decline a job interview, it is important to respond quickly. The quicker you can decline the interview the more time the employer has to offer the interview to other candidates.
In addition, make sure when you do decline the interview to be polite. You don’t want to burn your bridges by being rude. You never know when that person or company might show up again in the future.
Many industries are smaller than you think and many of the people involved in that industry know each other. Therefore, you don’t want to make a bad impression on them even if you don’t want that particular job.
If you are carrying out your job search actively and you submit consistently good applications, the chances are you will be invited to several interviews.
But what happens if you are offered more than one job, or you change your mind about a position you’re offered?
Declining a job offer needs to be undertaken with tact and diplomacy. You want to do it in such a way that it does not prevent you from securing another – perhaps more suitable – opportunity with the company in the future.
There are several ways in which you can notify the recruiter of your decision, including by letter, email or telephone.
Our advice would be to take a two-fold approach: draft an email or letter (either is fine) but before you send it, call the person who interviewed you and let them know your decision by phone. This demonstrates professionalism and shows that you care how much effort they put in to select you.
Whether you’re calling or writing an email, the question is: how do you begin and what do you say?
Rejection is hard for anyone: let the person who wants to hire you down gently.
We recommend following these steps when it comes to turning down a job offer in a professional but friendly manner:
The first point is about politeness really. Don't sit on a decision for days, or hold off deciding on one company over another because you're nervous about saying no to one of them.
As a hiring manager, it's far better to receive a quick rejection than it is to wait for a fortnight and only then know that you've got to go back to other candidates (some of whom may have by that stage accepted other jobs elsewhere). That will earn you a black mark for sure.
Be sincere in letting the manager or recruitment team know that you are thankful to them for spending a considerable amount of time reading your CV, shortlisting you and interviewing you. Obviously don't overdo it and come across as unctuous.
Ideally, pick something specific to thank them for, so your comment doesn't come across as overly generic. For example, if you asked a lot of questions relating to the role and they answered all of those candidly and in detail, you could mention that.
Or you could say how friendly everyone was, and it was nice to meet the team in advance.
Next, explain your reason(s) for declining the offer. Be brief and ensure that your reasons are convincing, and that your decision comes from careful consideration.
This is where many candidates go wrong, as they state why another job they were offered was far superior. Do not do this.
It's fine to say that another role you’ve been offered gives you a better chance, in your opinion, to develop your career or build certain skills. Leave it at that though. Avoid saying that the other position offers you a better salary.
Equally, don’t go into detail about which aspects of the position you’ve accepted compare favourably to the one you’re turning down.
Instead, talk about aspects of the company you like, and how you enjoyed meeting the manager or recruiter, but that on this occasion you have decided to accept another offer that more closely matches your aspirations.
If it's the only job you've been offered at this stage, but you've decided it won't work for you, just say that after reflection you've decided the role isn't the right fit for you at this stage of your career, and leave it at that.
You can tailor your response depending on the situation you are facing, such as:
Several factors play a role when you consider a job offer. For example, you might not be pleased with the environment at the workplace or the culture there. Maybe your interaction with certain employees has convinced you to reject the offer.
Don’t mention your grievance specifically in the message; instead, adopt a vague tone as to why you’re turning the offer down. We will elaborate on why this is important in the next section, i.e. keeping the door open.
This one can be a tricky message to convey. If the low pay is one of several reasons why you are rejecting the job, make your rejection a general one and don’t mention the salary.
If, on the other hand, you feel the pay packet is on the low side but in most other respects you think the company and role are a good fit, state that the sole reason you are declining the offer is salary.
You can mention your excitement at the prospect of working for that company and also cite evidence for what you believe to be the market rate for your position and your personal worth to the organisation. In certain cases, employers will consider this argument and may make an improved offer.
You have to consider the time it will take for you to get to and from the workplace. If you are facing the prospect of a long commute, or the office is located in an area with bad traffic, you might have second thoughts.
The hassle involved in simply getting to work can outweigh any satisfaction you derive from the work itself. You can mention this reason in your message when declining the job offer.
Some people prefer the option of working from home, or require flexibility in terms of work hours. Naturally, you don’t want to change your lifestyle for your new job.
You can inform the potential employers about your current needs and the level of flexibility you desire when you update them about your decision to not take the job. They may come back with a proposal with increased flexibility.
Try to be positive throughout. Many industries are a small world, so you don’t want to burn any bridges by being negative. Bring the letter or call to a close by thanking them for their time and wishing the company future success.
If you know your paths are likely to cross at a future event, mention that and say you'd welcome the chance to catch up for coffee there.
It may be useful to draft your letter first and then come back to it later in the day and look at it fresh. If you have taken the time to craft a well written letter or plan exactly what you are going to say if you call, it will leave a better impression. You never know when you might cross paths with that company or individual again.
Here’s how an example rejection letter could be structured. Don't copy this exactly, but do feel free to use it as a basis that you can then tweak and personalise.
Dear [insert name]
I want to thank you very much for offering me the role of [insert role] at [insert company]. I appreciate that you interviewed a number of candidates and will have spent much time reaching your decision.
I was very impressed by [insert company], which made my decision a difficult one. After careful consideration, however, I have taken the decision to decline your offer of employment. The reason is that I have been offered a different role at a more senior level, and with a greater opportunity to develop management skills.
I enjoyed meeting you and your colleagues, who were friendly and professional throughout. I would like to wish you and your company the very best for the future and I thank you again for your time.
If sending an email is preferable, here is a sample to help you write one and politely reject the job offer.
Subject Line: Job Offer – [your name]
Dear [insert name of the interviewer or hiring manager]
I am grateful that you offered me the position of [insert job position] and trusted my suitability and experience for the role. However, after considerable thought, I have come to the conclusion that I will not be able to accept this offer.
I was very much looking forward to being a part of [insert company name] due to [insert areas you were excited about]. Unfortunately, I feel I have to say no because [insert primary reason for declining position - this can stretch to a few sentences if needed].
It was a pleasure to talk to you and the rest of your colleagues during the interview process. I wish the best of luck to you and the entire organization.
Once again, thank you very much for the job offer.
Yours sincerely, [insert your name]
Rejecting a job over the phone can be nerve-wracking. Follow these steps to structure your approach:
Choose the right time to call - usually lunch time or close to the end of the day is best, when they are likely to be less busy.
It’s difficult, but you’ll need to have confidence in your tone when rejecting the offer on the phone. An unsteady voice can make it seem as though you are lying.
Although declining a job offer can be difficult, ultimately you’re rejecting it because it’s better for you not to take it. The last thing that you want to do is decline an offer and then regret it later, but if you consider your options and draft a well structured response, there's no reason why you can't say no to an offer with confidence.
Yes, you might think that declining the offer will offend the recruiter, but informing is still the better option. They might feel a bit offended at first, naturally, but in time they will understand the rationale behind your decision.
On the other hand, there will be resentment if you leave them hanging and never pick up their call to say no. A professional declination of the job still leaves the door potentially open for you at the same organization, somewhere in the future.
You may also like to read:
Declining a job offer is always hard. Find out how to do it politely and positively, by email, letter or phone. With example rejection templates.
Writing a decline job offer letter is important. Once you have decided not to accept a job offer, you should decline politely in writing or by email.
You want to maintain good relations with the company as you never know when you may need them as a future contact in your career.
The letter should be brief and to the point. Avoid mentioning anything negative about the position or employer. The letter does not need to focus on a specific reason for not taking the offer.
If you have accepted another offer it is not necessary to state whose offer you accepted and why you have accepted it. Simply thank the employer for their offer, express your appreciation for their time and effort and formally reject the offer. Address the letter directly to the person who made the offer to you.
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Mr Bill Kelly
Human Resources Manager
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr Kelly
Thank you very much for offering me the position of Customer Service Manager with XYZ Corporation.
While I understand the position and your company offer a great deal to a prospective employee, I have had another offer which I believe more closely matches what I am looking for. Therefore, after giving it much careful thought, I must decline your offer.
Thank you for your time and effort. I wish you and your company well.
Tips for Writing a Job Offer Rejection Letter
How to reject a job offer politely by email, after you have turned down the job offer over the phone.
Subject Line: Job Offer for Job Title - Your Name
Dear Mr Heron
Thank you again for offering me the opportunity to work at XYZ Company.
As I told you over the phone I regret that I must decline the job offer. After considerable thought I have determined that the position is not the best fit for me at this time.
I enjoyed meeting you and learning about your company and I wish you every success in the future.
"Can I decline a job offer after I have accepted it?" is a frequently asked question. The basic answer is that as long as you have not yet signed a formal employment contract with the employer you can legally change your mind about accepting the job offer.
If you have signed an employment contract, read through it carefully to check your legal obligations. Confirm with an expert. It is worth exploring the option of turning down the job offer with the employer. Most companies would rather not have you start than begin your employment and leave very shortly thereafter.
It is best to turn down the offer in person and to follow up with a decline job offer letter or email.
Dear Mr Morris
I would like to thank you again for offering me the position of Sales Associate at GHB Company. I genuinely appreciate the time you spent with me and your consideration for the position.
I have spent some time reconsidering your job offer and I have concluded that this job is not the best fit for my skills and experience. I believe it is in the best interests of both myself and the company to turn down the job offer. I am very sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause.
I enjoyed learning more about your company and I wish you and your staff much success in the future.
How to Manage the Job Offer
Be gracious in your decline job offer letter and build yourself a positive reputation!
Use this how to resign checklist to ensure a smooth and professional exit from the company.
Download these free resignation letters to help your write a proper resignation letter.
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Here's a sample letter declining a job offer. How you put down an offer letter depends majorly on the reasons of not accepting and it should be.