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  3. Not interested? How to decline a job offer in a polite way
Not interested? How to decline a job offer in a polite way

Not interested? How to decline a job offer in a polite way

Artwork by: Aleksandra Zabnina

  • Reasons to decline a job offer
  • 3 Tips for saying “no thank you” to an offer
  • 4 Examples of how to politely decline a job offer via email
  • Key takeaways

Receiving a job offer can feel great, but what if you’ve decided the position isn’t for you? It’s okay to say no. We’ll show you how to decline a job offer politely and professionally, without burning bridges and keeping the door open for future opportunities.

Receiving a job offer can be exciting. But, what if you’ve decided that the position isn’t right for you? If you aren’t interested in taking the job, you’ll want to know how to decline a job offer politely

Turning down a job offer can be tricky. Whether or not it's a job you decided wasn't the right fit, here's how to put together a professional, "No, thank you" response. 

In this article, we’ll discuss: 

  • Reasons to decline a job offer

  • 3 tips for saying “no thank you”

  • 4 Examples of how to decline a job offer

Reasons to decline a job offer

Declining a job offer may seem risky, but if you have valid reasons, then it’s probably in the interest of both yourself and the employer. You don’t have to give the company a detailed play-by-play as to why you’re not accepting the job. However, you need to offer a good reason.

Some good reasons to decline a job offer include pay being below market scale, a lack of benefits, or limited opportunities for career growth. Perhaps you received a better job offer or you have a negative gut feeling. These are all valid causes for declining. 

Expert Tip

If the salary is the only reason you are declining a job offer, try to negotiate a higher salary before accepting the job. Contact the hiring manager and ask if the company has some flexibility with the salary and what range they can offer. Career.io’s  Salary Analyzer will compare salaries for similar positions within your field and geographic market to help you determine a fair ask.

3 Tips for saying “no thank you” to an offer

If, after giving it a lot of thought, you've decided the position isn't for you, there are several things you need to consider before writing your email. 

Here are three tips to assist you:

1. Always be appreciative

The first thing you want to do is to thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration. The hiring process can be a long, complex one for both parties, so the recruiter is bound to be a bit disappointed. However, if you tell them what you learned and how you valued the process, they will know that you took this opportunity seriously. 

2. Be clear, concise, and provide a valid reason

Although you don’t need to give intricate details, be honest and direct about your reason for declining the job offer. Tact and diplomacy are vital, so leave out anything that reflects negatively on the new company. For example, if you’ve learned something about the company culture that doesn’t appeal to you, simply say, “It’s not a good fit.”

3. Offer to keep in touch

Even when saying “no,” be polite to avoid causing offense or burning bridges. Wish the hiring manager (and the company) well, ask to stay in touch via LinkedIn, or mention that you'd be interested in future opportunities (if that's the case). 

Other things to keep in mind

If you’re declining the offer but the company is one you might want to work for in the future, leave them with a good impression. When you’ve made your decision, keep the following in mind:

  • Don’t drag things out. Once you've decided to decline a job offer, let the hiring manager know ASAP so they can continue with the recruitment process. 

  • Keep things brief. You don't need to write a detailed manifesto or lavishly praise the company. Be professional, state your reason, and then hit send.

  • Carefully review. Proofread your email before you send it, checking for typos or grammatical errors.

  • Consider a phone call. While email is fine, a phone call works, especially if you've developed a professional relationship with the interviewer. Send a quick email to arrange a time to speak, and have a one-on-one conversation.

Statistical Insight

According to a Gartner survey, in the last year, “one in two candidates has accepted a job but backed out before starting a new role.” More than 35 percent had reported receiving at least four job offers during their last job search. Of 2,000 who accepted an offer, 47 percent admitted to “being open to other offers.”

4 Examples of how to politely decline a job offer via email

Here are several examples of how to decline a job offer and ensure you leave a positive impression on the hiring manager. If you have decided to call the hiring manager instead, you can still use these examples to guide your conversation.

1. If you’ve decided to pursue another opportunity more in line with your goals

Copyable example

Dear [Name],

Thank you for the generous offer to work as a [Position] with [Company Name]. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about the role, the organization, and the company culture.

After careful consideration, I've decided to decline this opportunity as I have been offered another position that more closely matches my career goals.

I would like to express my appreciation for this job offer, and I wish you all the best in finding the right candidate for the role. Please do keep in touch if another position opens up with [insert career goals] in mind, as I would be interested.

Sincerely, [Your Name]

2. If the job isn’t the right fit for you

Copyable example

Dear [Name],

I really appreciated the opportunity to meet with you over the last month and learn more about the work you do at [Company Name] and the [Position] job opening.

I’m grateful to receive such a great offer from your company, but I've decided to pursue a position that has more focus on management and sales as I feel this is the right move for my career at this time. 

I truly enjoyed meeting you and the rest of the team, and I wish you all the best in the future. I was really impressed by your commitment to [one area] and mission to [another area]. As such, it would be great to stay in touch via LinkedIn.

Respectfully, [Your Name]

3. If the salary/benefits don’t meet your needs

Copyable example

Dear [Name],

Thank you for offering me the position of [Job Title] with [Company Name]. I appreciate you taking the time to interview me and allowing me to learn more about your company’s operations in the [enter specific sector] industry.

After much consideration, I have decided to decline the role of [Job Title]. While [Company Name] seems an ideal company to work for, I need to factor salary and benefits into my decision and I have received an offer of a higher salary with additional benefits.

I had a great time speaking with you and appreciate your time. I wish you the best of luck in your search for a candidate.

Sincerely, [Your Name]

4. If you’ve decided to stay at your current job

Copyable example

Dear [Name],

Thank you for your generous offer to join [Company] as [Job Title]. I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me and answer my questions about the position, as well as your interest in hiring me.

After giving it a lot of thought, I’ve decided that now is not the best time to leave my current position.

I hope we can stay in touch, and that we have the opportunity to work together in the future. I wish you and [Company] all the best in finding the right candidate.

Sincerely, [Your Name]

Looking for that special edge in planning your career? Check out Career.io’s Career Pathways tool, which will help you explore career interests, bridge skill gaps, and stay updated on job demand—all from one convenient website!

Key takeaways

  1. Valid reasons for declining a job offer include deciding to stay in your current job, salary/benefits, or if it's not the right fit.

  2. When declining a job offer via email (or phone), be brief, be polite, give a reason, and wish the hiring manager well.

  3. Don’t burn bridges. You never know if another great opportunity with that company will present itself in the future or you may cross paths with the interviewer again.

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