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  1. Career Advice
  2. Finding a job
  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
Helen Oswald

Helen Oswald

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

Artwork by: Aleksandra Zabnina

  • Reasons to decline a job offer
  • How to politely decline a job offer: 3 Tips
  • Examples of how to decline a job offer via email
  • Extra tips on how to respectfully decline a job offer
  • Key takeaways

Receiving a job offer is usually a great feeling, but what if you’ve decided the position isn’t for you? This article will help you politely decline a job offer, while keeping the door open for future opportunities.

When you receive a job offer it’s exciting, rewarding, and the start of a whole new chapter in your career. But what if you’ve decided, on reflection, that the position isn’t the right one for you? How do you tell a hiring manager, politely, that you aren’t interested in taking the job?

Turning down a job offer can be tricky, but it's not impossible to do it respectfully. Whether it's a job you decided wasn't for you, or one that, under different circumstances you would consider, here's how to put together a professional, "thank you, but no" response. 

In this article, we explore: 

  • Reasons to decline a job offer

  • How to politely decline a job offer

  • Examples of how to decline a job offer

  • Top tips for respectfully declining a job offer

Statistical Insight

According to a survey by Gartner, organizations are now facing an extremely different and competitive job market since the pandemic. Nearly 50% of new hires surveyed in 2021 are considering two or more job offers simultaneously. 

Reasons to decline a job offer

Declining a job offer may seem a risky move, 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 run-down as to why you’re not accepting the job, but some form of explanation is required.

Here are some good reasons you may want to give a polite “no” to a job offer:

Pay is below market scale

If you’re being offered a salary below market average then either negotiating a salary increase or politely declining the job offer is a perfectly valid reason.

Lack of benefits

Benefits packages add significant value to your base salary. A bonus, health insurance, retirement plan, paid time off and/or perks can be a deal-breaker, so it may be best to decline the job offer (or negotiate) if the benefits you value aren’t on the table. 

Better job offer

If you received a better job offer then you should grab this opportunity. You can let the employer know about your additional job offer and they may even match or improve on their offer.

Lack of progression

Opportunities are vital for your career advancement, so if you’re receiving vague answers to questions about CPD and talent development, then this might not be the job for you.

Instinctive feeling

If the culture doesn’t seem a good fit, or your instinct is telling you not to take the job, it’s probably a good idea to follow your gut feeling, as invariably it’s never wrong.

Expert Tip

If the salary is the only reason you are declining a job offer, consider negotiating a higher salary. Contact the hiring manager and ask if the company has some flexibility with the salary and what range they can offer. If you’ve done your research, you can make a counteroffer or accept their revised offer. Use the Salary Analyzer from to compare salaries.

How to politely decline a job offer: 3 Tips

If you've gone over all the options, and decided the position isn't for you, there are several things you need to consider before writing your email to decline the job offer. 

1. Always be appreciative

Thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration. The hiring process can be long and time-consuming for both parties, so when you decline a job offer 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 understand that you took this opportunity seriously. For example:

  • “Thank you for taking the time to interview me and for the offer of the sales manager position. I really enjoyed meeting you and appreciated the opportunity to learn more about your sales operations.” 

2. Be clear, concise and provide a valid reason

Be honest about your reason for declining the job offer (without getting too in-depth) as it’s only right to provide the hiring manager with an explanation as to why you are declining their job offer. You may have accepted another job offer (with a whopping salary and great perks) or you’ve decided to stay put in your current role (after learning more about the job and meeting your potential new boss, you decided the grass isn't greener).

Tact and diplomacy is key here, so it’s probably best to leave out the whopping salary, amazing perks and the fact you weren’t keen on your potential new boss! Politely declining a job offer is important in terms of maintaining your professional reputation. Here are some examples:

  • After much thought, I have decided to accept a job offer at another company.

  • After considerable consideration, I have decided that I don’t wish to leave my current job at this time.

3. Keep in touch

You never want to cause offense or burn bridges. Wish the hiring manager well, ask to stay in touch via LinkedIn or mention that you'd be interested in future opportunities (if that's the case). After all, every interview is a chance to expand your professional network:

  • It’s been a real pleasure to meet you and I hope that we meet again in the future. It would be great to keep in touch via LinkedIn.

  • Keep your email positive. If you list all the negatives of the job offer to justify your decision to say no, it won’t look good. You never know when you might cross paths with the interviewer again.
  • “Ghost” the employer. It can be tempting to avoid the situation when declining a job offer, but this is not fair to the hiring manager. Respectfully decline the job offer so that everyone is clear on the situation.

Examples of how to decline a job offer via email

Here are some examples of how to decline a job offer in a polite way and ensure you leave a positive impression on the hiring manager:

How to decline a job offer due to a change in career path


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 and much deliberation, 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 really interested.


[Your Name]

How to decline a job offer if it isn’t right for you


Dear [Name],

I have really appreciated the opportunity to meet with you over the last month and enjoyed learning 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 accept a position that has more focus on management and sales as I feel this is the right move for my career at this time. 

It was great to meet 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 or Twitter.


[Your Name]

How to decline a job offer due to a lower salary/lack of benefits


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.


[Your Name]

How to decline a job offer if you’ve decided to stay at your current job


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.


[Your Name]

Extra tips on how to respectfully decline a job offer

If the company making you the job offer is one you might want to work for in the future, it’s important to leave them with a good impression. Here are some top tips to keeping the door open for future opportunities:

  • Be prompt. Once you've made your decision to decline a job offer, let the hiring manager know promptly so they can continue with the recruitment process. They will respect you a lot more than if you string them along and delay communicating your decision.

  • Keep it brief. You don't need to offer a myriad of excuses or be ebullient in your praise of the company. Give your honest reason, be polite, and click send.

  • Proofread your email before you send it. This isn’t the time to get sloppy — take the time to check for typos or grammatical errors.

  • Consider a phone call. Especially if you've developed a professional relationship with the interviewer, a phone call might be better. Send a quick email to set up a time to speak, and have the conversation one-on-one.

Key takeaways

  1. Declining a job offer can be tricky, but done the right way, still respectful. While you don't have to go into the weeds on your decision, you do need to give a reason for saying no.

  2. Valid reasons for declining a job offer could include deciding to stay in your current job, salary/benefits, or that it’s just not the right fit.

  3. When politely declining a job offer via email, be brief, be gracious, give a reason, and wish the hiring manager well.

  4. 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.

  5. If you decide to decline an offer, remember to feel proud of yourself, even if it wasn't the right position. You are a great candidate, and the perfect job is out there. 

Helen Oswald

Helen Oswald

Helen is an experienced content writer, with expertise in corporate law, business, sales, marketing and education. Prior to this, she worked in recruitment and human resources, so she has a strong sense of what recruiters are looking for in terms of a potential employee. Helen loves exploring new places, writing blogs of her travel across Europe and enjoying trips to the US, Thailand and the Middle East. She is an avid reader of fiction, poetry, self-help books and factual content and also enjoys creative writing in her spare time, including poetry and children’s fiction.

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