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28 Aug 2020 Austin Belcak

How to Decline a Job Offer (With Email Template)

Receiving a job offer can be one of the most exciting, pivotal turning points in your life/career. Often, after a challenging, stressful job hunt, the feeling of finally landing an offer is downright euphoric.

But, sometimes, the job offer falls short of your needs, expectations, or desires — in which case you may feel compelled to decline the offer. There are many factors that influence the decision of whether or not to accept a job offer.

At the end of the day, it's a highly personal choice. But, if you decide to decline a job offer, you need to do so tactfully to avoid burning any bridges— because you never know what the future may hold.

So, in this article, we'll be exploring:

  • Reasons you might decline a job offer
  • How to decline a job offer
  • Email template and examples to guide you

Let’s dive in…

Reasons You Might Decline A Job Offer

A job offer represents a major commitment — one that will completely transform your life and trajectory if you choose to accept it. So, it’s important to carefully assess the implications of the offer (and this involves a lot more than just the salary).

Here are 6 of the most common reasons one might choose to turn down a job offer.

  1. Insufficient salary/wages. Pay rate is obviously one of the most significant factors when weighing a job opportunity. And, if the proposed salary is below your desired threshold, that can be a big turn-off. However, you should always negotiate the salary — especially if that’s the main issue you have with the offer. *For tips on salary negotiation, check out my article, 3 Simple Salary Negotiation Tips to Double Your Offer.
  1. Inadequate benefits/perks. In terms of overall compensation, salary is only one piece of the pie. It’s common for companies to provide health insurance, PTO, and retirement plans, etc…and some even include perks like catered meals and gym memberships. So, a job offer with a weak benefits package might fall short of your expectations. (But, like salary, benefits can also be negotiated.)
  2. Lackluster growth potential. For ambitious professionals in the early to middle stages of their careers, each new position is a stepping stone for future career development. And, if a job offer doesn’t align with your long-term goals, that’s certainly a valid reason to turn it down.
  3. Excessive commute / non-flexible hours. The logistical requirements of a job can have a huge impact on your satisfaction and wellbeing. For example, if the job is great but the commute is two hours each way with no option to telecommute, that can really wear you out over time.
  4. Dissonant company culture. Maybe the salary is high, the benefits are stellar, and the location is perfect — but something just doesn’t feel right. Every company has an internal culture. It’s the intangible “vibe” of working there. And if the vibe seems off-putting, that could be a sign the job isn’t a good fit for you.
  5. You received a better offer from another company. This last one is pretty self-explanatory. If you have multiple offers on the table and have to turn down one in favor of another, that’s certainly a good position to be in!

Now that we’ve covered the most common reasons why you’d decline a job offer, let’s walk through the best way to go about it…

How To Decline A Job Offer

man is wondering if he should decline a job offer

Generally speaking, the best way to decline a job offer is via a gracious, well-written email. When writing the email, here are 4 core guidelines to follow:

#1: Express gratitude. It’s essential to say ‘thank you’ and show appreciation for the time, consideration, and opportunity the employer has given you. Not only is it polite — it also keeps the relationship on good terms (we’ll be discussing the importance of this further below).

#2: State your rejection clearly. You need to make it crystal-clear that you’re declining the offer. Avoid using any wishy-washy language like, “I don’t think I can agree to this offer at the moment.”

#3: Provide a brief explanation. Don’t leave the employer in the dark. Include a quick overview of your reason(s) for declining the offer — but don’t go overboard. Just one or two diplomatically worded sentences will be sufficient.

#4: Leave the door open. As mentioned above, you never know what the future may hold. Tell them you’d like to stay in touch and (if you liked the company as a whole) express that you’d be open to exploring other opportunities down the road.

Now let’s see these 4 guidelines in action with the following email template and examples…

Email Template And Examples

When writing an email to decline a job offer, you can use this handy fill-in-the-blank template to formulate your message:

Example Email Template

Hi [Contact’s Name],

Thank you so much for this job offer. I truly appreciate the opportunity and it’s been a pleasure getting to know your team and learning more about [Company].

However, after careful consideration, I’ve decided to decline this offer.

While I really admire [1-2 aspects you like about the team/company], [main reason you’re declining the offer].

But, I’d love to stay in touch (here’s my LinkedIn) and [optional…] up-to-speed on future openings at [Company].

Again, thanks for everything and I wish you and your team all the best.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Email Example #1

Hi Jane,

Thank you so much for this job offer. I truly appreciate the opportunity and it’s been a pleasure getting to know your team and learning more about Digitech Media.

However, after careful consideration, I’ve decided to decline this offer.

While I really admire Digitech’s supportive team culture and commitment to innovation, I’ve decided to pursue a different role that I feel is more aligned with my long-term career goals.

But, I’d love to stay in touch (here’s my LinkedIn) and up-to-speed on future openings at Digitech.

Again, thanks for everything and I wish you and your team all the best.

Sincerely,

Allen

Email Example #2

Hi Jane,

Thank you so much for this job offer. I truly appreciate the opportunity and it’s been a pleasure getting to know your team and learning more about Digitech Media.

However, after careful consideration, I’ve decided to decline this offer.

While I really admire Digitech’s company mission and values, I’ve recently chosen to accept a different offer from another company.”

But, I’d love to stay in touch (here’s my LinkedIn) and perhaps connect regarding other opportunities down the road.

Again, thanks for everything and I wish you and your team all the best.

Sincerely,

Allen

Maintaining Positive Relationships

When done correctly, declining a job offer doesn’t mark the end of your relationship with the people you interacted with during the interview process. Rather, if you end on a good note, you can add those people to your professional network going forward.

The best way to accomplish this is by using LinkedIn to stay connected and updated on the goings-on within your network. Doing so can be a catalyst for other valuable career opportunities in the future — sometimes when you least expect it!

For more on how to use LinkedIn to build/maintain a strong professional network, check out my guide on How to Use LinkedIn Like a Career Expert.

Austin Belcak

Austin is the founder of Cultivated Culture where he helps people land jobs without connections, without traditional experience, and without applying online. His strategies have been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, & Fast Company and has helped people just like you land jobs at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, & more.

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