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Sometimes it is necessary to turn down a job offer. You may have received a better job offer or are dissatisfied with some aspects of the job you've been offered or the company. Regardless of the reason, it is necessary to decline the offer promptly and politely. A candidate who declines a job offer on a positive note can maintain a good relationship with the company and apply for another position in the future.
Call to decline the job offer as soon as possible. This is necessary so the company has enough time to contact other eligible candidates or resume the search for others.
Thank the company for the offer and talk about the positive things that attracted you to the job and the company. Never say anything negative. Keep in mind that hiring personnel discuss candidates with other hiring personnel. If you burn bridges with this company, you may ruin your chances at other companies.
Offer as much information about your decision as is comfortable for you. It is not necessary to give a reason for declining the job. If you received another offer, you may mention this and say that it fits your goals and interests best. You don't need to state who made the competing offer.
End the phone call on a positive note. Express your hopes of working for the company, or with the person you are speaking to, in the future.
Follow the phone call with a letter. Reaffirm your decision to decline the job offer and, again, mention the factors that impressed you about the job and company. For instance, you may write:
Dear Ms. Smith:
Thank you for the offer of the position of accounting supervisor with Go National. As I mentioned when we spoke on the phone this morning, I have received another offer that best matches my career goals and interests, and, for this reason, I must decline the job offer. This was a difficult decision for me because I support Go National’s mission and appreciate the many opportunities that this position affords.
I wish you the best in your endeavors and hope we can work together in the future.
Be certain that you do not want to accept the position before you decline. Once you turn the offer down, it will not be offered again. If you are still interested, get clarification if there are aspects of the job you do not understand. Schedule another meeting for an extensive talk.
- Virginia Tech: Declining a Job Offer
- Harvard University: Office of Career Services: Letter Declining an Offer
- “The Academic Job Search Handbook”; Julia Miller Vick, Jennifer S. Furlong; 2008
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