Thanks, but no thanks. You’ve got a better offer. How to tell the hiring team without stepping on toes? Use this guide for how to decline a job offer gracefully (with examples).
They made a good offer, but you have to refuse.
You’ve got better options. (Or you learned the company is shady.)
You might need that job later.
You must know how to turn down a job offer without burning bridges.
Take heart. People do it all the time and come out clean as whistles.
This guide will show you:
- How to turn down a job offer with a professional answer.
- How to reject a job offer when you already said yes to another.
- When declining a job offer can get you a higher salary (and when it can’t).
- How to politely decline a job offer you already accepted (with examples).
1. How to Decline a Job Offer [Step-by-Step Instruction]
You’ve got better options.
Now: how to turn down a job offer without making enemies?
Follow these simple tips:
Declining a Job Offer in 6 Easy Steps
- Do it by phone. It’s the best way to decline a job offer.
- Can’t do phone? Send an email.
- Declining a job offer won’t burn a bridge.
- Thank them for offering.
- Give a nonspecific reason.
- Ask to stay in touch after you decline the job.
Here’s what it looks like in practice:
Declining a Job Offer Sample
Need an example of how to reject a job in an email? Here you go:
Turning Down a Job Offer Email Example
Again, the phone is your friend when rejecting a job offer. Why? It’s warmer.
But if you have to use an email:
Dear Ms. Caliphan,
Thank you so much for the offer to work as a Cloudwallop software engineer. I very much enjoyed meeting both you and the development team last week.
Sadly, I’ll have to decline, since the position isn’t a fit with my current career goals.
I wish you the best in your search for the perfect candidate. I’m cheered by the possibility of working at your company in the future. Would you be open to connecting on LinkedIn so we can keep in touch?
That’s the perfect job offer rejection letter. You’ll disappoint the hiring team, but they’ll respect you.
Need to know how to decline a job offer after accepting another job? What if you’ve already accepted this job? Or you want more money? Those are next.
Pro Tip: Don’t wait! You should decline job offers you don’t want right away. Just make sure the ink is dry on your other offer first so you don’t have to go crawling back.
Are you writing a job decline letter because you’re wondering, “What job should I have?” See our guide: What Career Is Right for Me? What Job Should I Have? How to Choose
2. How to Turn Down a Job Offer if You Said Yes to Another
It’s the best of both worlds.
You got two offers. The choice was tough, but you made it.
Now it’s time to have “the talk.”
- Be quick.
- Thank them for their time and offer.
- Explain that you have a better option.
- Ask to stay in touch.
Pretty simple, right?
Use this example as your guide:
How to Decline a Job Offer After Accepting Another
Dear Ms. Finelli,
I wanted to thank you for the offer to work as a graphic designer at Shibula Designs. You have a great team and some exciting projects.
Unfortunately, I’ve decided to decline the offer, since I’ve accepted a position with a different firm.
I hope you find the perfect candidate fast. I’d like to keep the door open to working at Shibula in the future. Would it be okay to connect with you on LinkedIn?
Clean and simple.
That how to decline a job offer but leave the door open example does it right.
Pro Tip: Declining a job offer is a lot easier if you treated the interview as an information-gathering session. Make sure to ask questions in every interview.
Did you decline the job offer? Why are you interested in this position? See our guide: Why Do You Want to Work Here? (10+ Sample Answers That Get Jobs)
3. How to Decline a Job Offer Due to Salary
Want more money?
Surprisingly, pitting two job offers against each other is a bad idea.
Because you’re not shopping for a car. Both companies will resent it—even the one you accept.
You don’t want to work for a begrudging boss.
It’s different if they up the offer on their own.
Here’s what to do:
- Don’t tell exact figures to either party. If they want you, they’ll offer enough.
- Make it clear you haven’t accepted the other offer yet.
- Don’t ask for more money. They’ll suggest it if they can.
This example shows how to decline a job offer but leave the door open to more:
How to Reject a Job Offer Because of Salary Example
Dear Mr. Berengar,
Many thanks for the job offer for your project manager position. It was nice to meet all of you at Foster Brothers last week.
With reluctance, I’m declining. I’ve received an offer from another company with a generous compensation package.
I hope you find the right project manager for the job soon. I remain open to working for Foster Brothers in the future. Could we stay in touch on LinkedIn?
That how to decline a job offer sample might just get a higher salary.
Just make sure you’re really okay turning down the job before you try this.
Pro Tip: Be careful! Even if they come back with a better offer on their own, that means they were low-balling you. Do you really want to work for a company that does that?
Need to know how to get a better offer? See our guide: How to Negotiate a Salary Like a Boss – Zety Resume Builder
4. How to Reject a Job Offer After Accepting It
You goofed and said yes, but should’ve said no.
Now you feel like Elaine from Seinfeld.
Buck up. It’s not fun, but declining a job offer after accepting it isn’t the end of the world.
How to Back Out of a Job Offer You Already Accepted
- Be sure you want to reject the job offer.
- Check your contract in case you’re stuck.
- Be polite and apologetic.
- State a good reason if you have one.
- If there isn’t one, stay vague.
- Say thank you for the offer.
- Leave the door open.
As always, the best way to turn down a job offer after you’ve accepted it is by phone. That lets you explain yourself more clearly.
See the example of turning down a job offer after accepting below.
Sample Letter Declining a Job Offer After Accepting It
Dear Mr. Wojtyla,
I was thrilled to accept the job offer for the accountant position. It’s been a long-term dream of mine to work for Cisco, and it was great meeting you and the team last week.
Unfortunately, on further consideration I have to retract my acceptance. This was a very difficult decision for me, but the position doesn’t fit my career goals.
Many thanks for your help and time. I wish you the best of luck in filling the role. I’d also like to leave the door open to work with Cisco in the future, should my situation change.
Let’s be honest.
The bridge is probably burned. But that example of how to turn down a job after you’ve accepted it is as professional as you can get.
Pro Tip: If you didn’t sign a contract, there’s no harm in backing out of a job you accepted. Even if you signed, you may be able to get off the hook. Ask a lawyer.
Did you decline a job offer without a new job in the hopper? Time to get looking. See our guide: 30 Best Job Search Sites & How to Use Them to Find Employment Fast
5 More Examples of Declining a Job Offer Gracefully
Still need help?
When rejecting a job offer seems daunting, examples can steer you right.
Remember, when turning down a job:
- Show appreciation.
- Give a good, brief reason.
- Ask to stay in touch.
Here are some examples of each part of how to decline a job offer:
Showing Appreciation [Examples]
- I’m so grateful for the offer of the teaching position job at Fayetteville High School. It was great to meet you and the other faculty and staff last week.
- Thank you so much for extending the offer for the nursing job at Mercy Hospital. I enjoyed speaking with you and learning so much about the role.
- Many thanks for the interview last week for the business analyst position at Amazon. It was an honor to speak with the team, and I appreciate the generous offer.
Reasons for Declining a Job Offer [Examples]
- However, after a great deal of thought, I’ve decided to accept an offer from another firm.
- While this role seems like a rich opportunity, it doesn’t quite fit with my current career goals.
- Upon careful consideration, I’ve decided I’ll have to decline. I plan to pursue another job that will let me grow into a leadership position.
Stay in Touch [Examples]
- I’d like to stay in touch in case my situation changes. Could we connect on LinkedIn?
- In the hopes that something may work out in the future, I’d like to stay connected. May I check in with you from time to time?
- I value our connection and I’d like to keep in touch. Let me know if it’s okay to connect with you in future.
Pro Tip: Be honest when you turn down a job offer—without being negative about the job or company. Remember: you didn’t know everything about the role until the interview.
Need to say thank you after an interview? Use our guide: Thank You Email After an Interview: 6 Samples for All Jobs & 20+ Tips
Summary: How to decline a job offer:
- Turn down a job offer by phone if you can. It’s more professional.
- Don’t worry about burning bridges. The hiring team will understand.
- Thank them and be polite.
- Give a professionally worded reason, but don’t go into detail.
- Ask to stay in touch.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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