Declining A Job Offer: Do It Right!

March 22nd, 2012

Getting a job offer is exciting, but if you’re not interested in the job, it can be intimidating. What can you do?

When you know a job isn’t right for you, you can reject the offer while still maintaining a positive relationship with the employer. In an era where very few can afford to burn any professional bridges, you need to handle this situation professionally.

First, let’s talk about the wrong thing to do: Accept the job, then just don’t show up when expected. Don’t call, don’t answer their phone calls, and hope they’ll forget about you. (nope, no chance—you’ve just given yourself a bad reputation)

Your priority is to contact the hiring manager as soon as possible, but before you do, take a moment to decide if you’re not interested in the particulars of this job offer, or if you’re not interested in the position, or if it’s the company that’s the issue. Making this decision will help guide you as you move forward.

And by contact, we mean call. Declining a job offer by phone is professional and respectful, which allows you to maintain a positive relationship with the employer and within the business community. Let the manager know that you’re grateful for the offer, you carefully considered it and you appreciate the time he took with you.

If you aren’t interested in the offer they made but would like to negotiate, tell them what you would be willing to agree to. If you aren’t interested at all, hold your ground.

You’re not obligated to give a reason for declining the job, especially if it’s because you felt the company seemed like a negative work environment or a bad career risk. If you do choose to discuss your decision, give honest, reasonable explanations: bad timing, a family-related factor, a counter-offer from your current employer, location concerns or simply that the offered position doesn’t align with your future career goals. Try to avoid discussing money; if it comes up, try to emphasize a secondary reason, such as stability or a clearer promotional path.

Once you’ve made the call, follow up with a formal written letter. Email is faster, but to keep your rejection as professional as possible, send some good old-fashioned snail mail. Keep your letter polite, professional and short, and leave the door open for future possibilities of working for the company.

When you decide to decline a job offer, you don’t want to burn any bridges. Preserve your reputation by being as polite and professional as possible.

When you’re looking for the right job, come to Olympic Staffing. We have many temp-to-hire and even direct-hire assignments with some of Southern California’s top employers. Contact us today!