How to Decline a Job Offer in 2021 [3 Free Email Templates]

16 February
5 min read

It’s finally that moment.

You created the perfect resume.

You went through a lengthy process of job-search.

You finally aced all the complicated interview questions.

And you finally landed the job! Congratulations!

You’re not just done yet, though. There’s one tiny struggle that comes with accepting an offer: 

Declining the other ones.

Those recruiters that you told you’d love to work for their company? Yeah… now you have to let them know that given the opportunity, you won’t be working for their company. Not fun, right?

The good news is that there’s a way to gracefully and politely reject an offer.

And in this guide, we’re going to teach you how, exactly, you can do that in 3 easy steps! 3 reusable email templates included.

How to Decline a Job Offer in 3 Steps

Everybody can say “no”, but not everybody knows how to be professional about it. 

If you go at it the wrong way, chances are you’re getting on that recruiter’s “blacklist”, or at least unpleasant-people-that-i-would-rather-not-work-with list.

Fast forward a few years and what do you know, you cross paths with them again.

Why risk being on bad terms when you can avoid it?

Here’s what steps you should follow in order to turn down a job offer without burning any bridges.

Step #0 - Don’t Procrastinate

Weighing your options and deciding whether you should accept or decline an offer takes time. That’s understandable. However, as soon as you have your mind made up, you should let the company know. 

Your decline means they have to reconsider the other applicants, offer the position to somebody else and give them time to think about it as well.

The more you procrastinate on sending out your answer, the more time their hiring process takes. And it’s no secret that time is money.  

Step #1 - Show Your Appreciation

When declining a job offer, a “Thank you” is very much in order. 

Before you break the news, start off by expressing your gratitude for the offer and letting the hiring manager know that you appreciate their time and consideration.

Correct Example:

Dear Ms. Lilabeth,

Thank you for reaching out to me with the good news! I appreciate your offer a lot. 

However, due to some recent changes in my personal life, I will have to decline the position.

I thank you once again for your time and consideration and hope you will soon find the perfect candidate for the position.

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

Step #2 - Give Your Reasoning

Was it an insufficient salary? Did you receive a better offer? The position doesn’t quite match your career goals anymore?

Let them know. 

You didn’t like the branch manager? The staff? The company turned out to be a little shady?

Do NOT let them know. 

Why? You simply don’t need to. You risk sounding snobby and as we mentioned above, it’s better to not ruin any relationships.

It’s only fair to give an explanation as to why you decided to decline the job offer, but you should keep it brief and short of details

Pro Tip:

If your reasons for declining are things your employer would rather not hear, you can explain your decision with a simple “The position doesn’t quite fit my career goals.”

Here’s what your answer should and shouldn’t sound like:

Correct Example:

Dear Ms. Lilabeth,

I want to thank you for your job offer. I really appreciate it.

However, I regret to inform you that I cannot accept it. My career goals at the moment are not very compatible with this position.

I wish you the best and hope we cross paths again.

Sincerely,

John Doe

Incorrect Example:

Dear Ms. Lilabeth,

Thank you for your job offer. Unfortunately, I will have to decline. 

I got in touch with one of your employees and was not very convinced by what I heard about the branch’s manager. I am not a fan of authoritative management.

I wish you good luck in finding the right employee.

Sincerely,

John Doe

Step #3 - Offer to Stay in Touch

Not accepting a position doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cut ties with the recruiter completely. 

Who knows, your paths might cross somewhere else or you might apply for another position in the same company.

In any case, it’s good to end the discussion on a good note and leave room for reconnecting in the future.

Turning Down a Job Offers - 3 Examples You Can Use

Depending on the method of communication you previously had with the recruiter, you can decline an offer through a phone call, email, or even letter. 

99% of the cases, though, it’s going to be done through email.

Here are 3 email templates for declining a job offer you can reuse

Email Template #1 - Accepting a Better Offer

Dear Ms. Lilabeth,

I want to thank you for offering me the position of administrative assistant in your company.

Unfortunately, I will have to decline the offer. After long consideration, I decided to accept another position that is more compatible with my master's studies plan. 

I’d like to thank you again for the time and consideration and I hope our paths cross again. Your company still remains one of the places I’d love to work for in the future.

Sincerely,

John Doe

Email Template #2 - Different Career Goals

Dear Mr. Smith,

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to work as a software engineer at your company. 

Sadly, I will have to decline. I believe the position does not fit my career goals at this time. 

Once again, thank you for the offer and consideration. I wish you all the best.

Sincerely,

John Doe

Email Template #3 - Insufficient Salary

Dear Mr. Craig,

I greatly appreciate your offer for the sales manager position. I enjoyed learning about your company and meeting your staff last week.

However, I regret to let you know that I will be declining the offer. I fully understand that as a new business your budget is tight and cannot meet the compensation I am looking for. 

I wish you the best in finding the right sales manager and I hope we cross paths in the future again. 

Sincerely,

Jane Doe

Key Takeaways

Saying “thanks, but no thanks” to a job offer is no fun, but it’s part of the job-search process and has to be done. 

What’s important is to maintain the same level of professionalism from the beginning of the process to the end.

To do that, when turning down an offer, you should:

  • Avoid procrastinating. Your decline sets off a chain reaction of events at the company to find another candidate. If you know your answer, don’t drag on their search and let them know ASAP.
  • Show your appreciation. Saying the “thank you” magic word never hurt anybody. In this case, it shows gratitude for the offer and appreciation for the recruiter’s time and effort. 
  • Give a brief explanation. No details, no drama. A one-sentence reasoning will do.
  • Offer to stay in touch. In such a small world, it’s no surprise for your paths to cross again, so end your email on a good note and leave room for reconnecting. 

Good luck with finding your dream job!

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