What’s the bottom line?
Sending a professional and grateful rejection letter is great way to turn someone down while also maintaining a good relationship with the employer and without burning any bridges — hey, you never know when you might need their help or if they could open doors for bigger opportunities in the future.
Whether you encounter a job offer that you’d never accept in a hundred billion years, or even one that just doesn’t appeal to you as much as another job offer, here’s everything you need to know about how to decline a job offer for every scenario.
If you liked the company, but the position wouldn’t give you the opportunity to apply your strengths and grow your skill set, you could mention that you were impressed with the company, but didn’t feel as though the position is the best fit for you.
Mention the major skill sets that you’d like to put to use, the level of responsibility that you’d like to take on, or other aspects of your dream job that wouldn’t be included in the position you were offered.
For example, if the job you were offered involved working in an office at a renewable energy company, you could mention that you’re more interested in a position that involves working hands-on in the field that would ultimately lead to a technician role.
Dear Mr. Captain Planet,
Thank you for offering me the position of Office Assistant with Carolina Solar Services. I appreciate you taking the time to consider me for the role and for answering my questions about the company and the position.
After much consideration, I will not be accepting the position as it does not fit the path I am taking to achieve my career goals.
I am currently seeking for a position that would allow me to directly employ my knowledge of solar energy in the field so that I can reach my career goals of being a solar technician. If a position of this nature becomes available in the future, I would appreciate being considered for such a role.
Again, thank you for your consideration, and I wish you all the best.
Mentioning that you liked the company but are looking for a role that follows your career path a little more closely may open doors for other jobs within the company that would open up in the future.
Whether the boss seemed like a big mean smelly jerk, the company had an unappealing culture, you didn’t agree with their values, or any other reason you have for not wanting to work with them — if you don’t feel that the company is a good fit for you, that’s a valid reason for turning down a job offer.
On the other hand, you should definitely avoid mentioning in your rejection letter that you don’t want to take the job because the interviewer’s breath smelled like Shrek’s armpit — you don’t want to burn any bridges here.
Unless the interviewer asked you a bunch of overly personal or illegal interview questions, it’s better to not show any dissatisfaction or offer any criticism of the company. You never know whose path you might cross in the future. You should always express your thanks for the opportunity and give your reasoning for declining in a professional manner.
Dear Mr. Shrek Ogre,
Thank you again for taking the time to interview me last week, it was great to meet the team and learn about the company. I enjoyed learning about the Swamp Cleaner position, and I appreciate your generous offer.
While this position seems like a great opportunity, I have decided that now is not the best time to leave my current position.
Once again, I would like to express my gratitude for the offer and my regrets that it did not work out. Thank you for your time and I wish you the best in finding another candidate to fill the position.
Please sir, may I have some more?
If the company is appealing and the position is everything that you’re looking for, but the salary wouldn’t leave you enough money to eat after paying rent, you might want to address this in your response.
Salary requirements are usually addressed at some point in the hiring process, but if your negotiation attempts are met to no avail, you could address this in your response to the job offer. Make sure to convey your gratitude and reiterate your excitement for the position, but state that you need to decline because the salary does not meet your need.
Dear Mr. Cheap Bastard,
I would like to thank you again for taking the time to meet with me last week. It was great to meet the team and learn more about the Money Counter position, and I appreciate the offer to join your team.
Although I am very grateful for this opportunity and would be very excited to join your company, unfortunately I have to decline your offer, as the salary does not meet my needs. According to my research, the typical salary range for someone in this position is between $50,000 and $70,000.
If you feel that you would be willing to accommodate my salary requirements, I would greatly appreciate it and would love the opportunity to work with your company. Again, thank you for your time and support.
A Poor Person
And that’s how you reject a job offer because of salary! If you’re successful, an employer will respond to you with a better offer once they see that you’re willing to leave their offer behind.
If you’re in the lucky position having to wade through multiple job offers, then you’re also in the unlucky position of having to turn at least one down.
Even though this is a tough spot to be in, it’s a good problem to have. As with the other scenarios for turning down a job offer, remember to show your appreciation and thank the employers for their time and for the opportunity.
Dear Mr. Fox Mulder,
Thank you so much for the offer for the role of Junior Alien Hunter. I really appreciate you taking the time to consider me and for answering my questions about the company and the position.
While this role is a great opportunity, I have decided to pursue another position that will offer me more opportunities to achieve my ultimate career goals.
It has been a pleasure getting to know you, and I hope that we cross paths in the future.
Turning down a job offer is never easy, in fact, it might almost seem like we’re breaking up with a potential employer. But sometimes we have to reject a job offer in favor of better opportunities, higher pay, or even our own personal happiness.
When rejecting a job offer, make sure to always show your appreciation, thank the employer for the opportunity, and give them a brief reason for your decision. You don’t want to burn any bridges and risk losing future opportunities just because you wanted to rub it in someone’s face that you don’t need their stinkin’ job.
Now that you know how to turn down a job offer, it’s time to send out a round of politely-worded letters that essentially boil down to, “Thanks, but really…no thanks.”