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How to decline a job offer or interview

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 30 Aug 2019

Declining a job offer Hero Image

Ideally, a job-seeker’s goal is to receive a job offer. If the job seeking process has been a long one, some people would rarely think about declining an offer. So, when you get offered a job that just isn’t for you, you may not know how to handle the situation. What ever your reason for not accepting a job offer, you will want to give the hiring manager as much respect as you would expect from them. Here are some simple tips for getting past this stage in your job-search, which can be used to help settle the situation.

Act Quickly

You need to make sure that once you have made your decision, even if it is to not accept their offer, that you let them know as soon as possible. You don’t want to waste your own time worrying about this and you don’t want to waste the employer’s time either. As soon as you have declined your offer, they can prepare another offer to a different candidate. It’s in everyone’s best interest that you act fast. In most cases, it is always better to call them with the news, even though it can feel a little uncomfortable compared to email. If you are having trouble getting into contact with the employer, then send an email explaining your efforts.

Tell them why

You would want feedback from an unsuccessful interview, so it’s common courtesy to let the hiring manager know why you are declining their offer. It can be incredibly valuable information to a company, and they may rethink how they go about their interview process. It’s still important to give constructive criticism, if it’s necessary in your case, don’t just focus on the negative. Start the feedback on a positive note, let them know the criticism or whatever your reason may be and end on another positive. It’s never good to just talk about all the negatives to a role, this can affect any future roles you go for with this employer.

Hopefully, they won’t take the rejection personally. Sometimes there won’t be anything negative about the company itself, maybe your situation has changed, or you decided the commute was too far. It’s likely that they will respect your choice and appreciate the honesty.

Keep in touch

Declining an offer doesn’t have to mean that is the end of your professional relationship with the employer. You can keep in touch via social networking platforms like LinkedIn. It can be a good place for you to keep an eye on any job vacancies they may have live and see how they are developing. Keeping in touch with a business can have numerous benefits for your future career. Just because you didn’t want this job, does not mean they won’t consider you for another.  They must have liked you if they offered you one job, so if you are able to handle the situation properly, they may offer again.

Offer referrals

In some cases, it may be appropriate to offer referrals. This is especially common if you have been using a recruitment consultant to help you with your job search. If you have declined a job offer, but you know another candidate that would be fit for the role, then you can pass over their contact details. (With their permission of course) Don’t recommend someone that isn’t right for the role, it can make you look unprofessional.

Send a thank you note

After any other interview, it would be normal to send the employer a thank you note, thanking them for their time and the opportunity. You should do this no matter what your situation. It shows that you are a professional candidate that really cares about their job-search and career. It can make you stand out if you were to apply there again in the future.

It’s not always easy to decline a job offer, especially when you have had a long job search already. Picking up the phone and letting them know as soon as you make your decision, is important. Tell them why and keep the whole process very positive, to prevent ruining any future opportunities. Although it can be a difficult decision to make, sometimes it is worth waiting for a better job to come up. It will be better for your career and you. You have declined it for a reason, stick by your decisions and don’t forget that you will get the right job for you.