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Top Tips On How To Professionally Reject A Job Offer

By Amy @BubbleJobs

Picture the scene; you’ve been looking for jobs for a while and then you’re finally invited in for an interview. The job isn’t exactly what you were looking for but you go along anyway and, despite still having some niggling doubts, the interview actually goes pretty well.

You walk away from the interview happy but still not 100% convinced the role is the right option for you. After a few days, you get a call asking you back for a second interview. Feeling you have nothing to lose, you go along and again, although it goes well, something just doesn’t feel right afterwards.

Fast forward another few days and you get another call: they want to offer you the job. That’s great news, isn’t it? Maybe… but maybe not.

In situations like this, some candidates can put their initial nerves to one side, dive in and accept the offer. But for others, those niggling doubts are just too big to ignore and they have to go through the tricky process of telling the employer that the job they’re being offered isn’t the right option for them.

If you’re faced with the second situation, we’ve come up with some top tips on how you can firmly but professionally reject a job offer from a prospective employer.


Say Thank You & Ask For Some Time 

The first thing you need to do is say thank you for the job offer. OK, that sounds like an obvious suggestion – but a lot of candidates fail to do this (even if they do accept the offer) and risk coming across as rude to the employer. Saying thanks shows that you not only have manners, but also that you have respect for the employer.

Once you’ve said thanks, it’s worth asking if you can have a bit of time to consider the offer. Yes, you might already know that you don’t want the job – but if you say no straight away, you risk offending the employer and making it seem like you were never serious about the job in the first place.


Get Back In Touch Soon

Following the initial contact, you need to get back in touch with the employer fairly soon to let them know you won’t be taking them up on their offer. Why? Because it’s respectful – and the employer has a role to fill – remember, if you don’t want it, they might have to start the whole recruitment process again to find someone who does. In terms of acceptable time frames, we’d suggest getting back to the employer within 48 hours.

When rejecting a job offer, doing it over phone is the only way to go. Why? Because it’s more personal and quite simply, it’s the right thing to do.


Be Honest

The best thing to do when rejecting a job offer is to try and be honest, but don’t forget to be courteous and polite. Was it the salary that was an issue? The location? Say it! You never know; the employer might have a bit of flexibility on both of these fronts and so they might be able to offer you a revised job offer.

That said; if you have a bit of an issue with the hiring manager themselves and don’t feel you can work for them, keeping things a bit vague might be a better option. Why? Because the hiring manager is a person too – and you never know when you might bump into them again later on in your career. For example; rather than saying you can’t accept the job offer because you think the hiring manager is a bit of a fool, you could be a bit more diplomatic and say you can’t accept the job offer because you feel there’s a bit of a clash of personalities which you think would affect your ability to do the job.


Don’t Burn Bridges 

Following on from the last point, it’s important not to burn your bridges – because, like I said, you don’t know what the future holds. Remember to keep things polite and professional – and, as I just said, try not to get too personal when feeding back to the hiring manager.


Offer To Keep In Touch

If you reject the job offer in a professional way and explain your reasons clearly, there’s no reason why the employer/hiring manager wouldn’t be open to keeping in touch with you. By offering to keep in touch, you showing the employer you have respect for them and their business – and it suggests you might like to be considered for future vacancies.


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