Turning down a job offer without burning any bridges can be tricky. And most people feel uncomfortable rejecting a hiring manager’s proposal. But things don’t have to be that way. In this quick guide, we’ll show you how to gracefully decline a job offer via email. So that you can maintain a positive relationship with the employer and safeguard your reputation in the industry.
Got a job offer? Well done you 🙌 But it’s important to remember that not every opportunity is the right one for you.
Perhaps, after careful consideration, you’ve realized the position doesn’t align with your current career goals.
Perhaps you’ve received a more attractive offer from another company (go you!). Or perhaps the salary doesn’t quite meet your expectations.
Whatever your reasons, it’s perfectly okay to turn down a job offer. The key lies in doing so gracefully and professionally.
In this quick guide, we’ll share a handy formula (complete with 3 proven email templates) to help you tactfully decline a job offer via email.
This way you can move forward to more fitting opportunities. Without burning any bridges with the company or the hiring manager.
Sounds good? Then let’s jump right in.
How to Politely Decline a Job Offer
Don’t overcomplicate things. Here’s a 6-step proven formula you can follow to politely decline a job offer by email.
Give a Prompt Response
Don’t procrastinate. Turning down a job offer can be tricky. But delaying your answer for too long can negatively impact the employer and hinder their recruitment efforts. As soon as you’ve made your decision, let them know you won’t take the job. This will enable them to proceed with other potential candidates.
And if you need some time to think about their proposal before accepting or declining it, make sure to send them a short email to acknowledge their offer and provide a timeframe for your final response. This lets the employer know you value their time and helps them better manage their hiring process.
Express Your Gratitude
Begin your email by thanking the employer for the job offer, and express your gratitude for being considered for the position. For example, you could write something like ⤵️
“I am truly grateful for being offered the [Position Title] role at [Company Name].”
Another key part of politely declining a job offer is to acknowledge the effort and time invested by the employer in the hiring process. You can show your appreciation for specific elements that stood out to you. Here’s an example ⤵️
“I want to thank you and your team for your time and dedication during the interviews. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the fantastic work being done at [Company Name].”
Lastly, it’s considered best practice to end your email with a sincere thank you. This allows you to reinforce your appreciation, show professionalism, and leave a positive impression. Here’s what you could say to conclude your email ⤵️
“Thank you for understanding.”
Personalize Your Email
Don’t speak like a robot. And don’t send a generic email. Personalizing your communication is a sign of consideration for the employer.
Make sure to address the hiring manager by name and try to reference specific aspects of the hiring process to personalize your message.
You can easily personalize your emails at scale with a little help from Mailmeteor, the #1 email marketing platform for Gmail users.
This trusted mail merge lets you customize everything in your email, including the subject line. Learn how to personalize your emails to get more clicks and opens.
Explain Your Decision
You don’t have to provide a reason when you’re turning down a job offer. But briefly explaining your decision could help the employer understand your perspective.
Try to be clear and honest. But avoid negative comments about the company or the role. You want to maintain a positive tone throughout your email.
Also, keep your explanation brief and to the point. You don’t need to delve into unnecessary details.
Common reasons that you can use to turn down a job include ⤵️
- The job is too far away
- You’ve received another job offer
- The salary doesn’t match your expectations
- You’re facing unforeseen personal circumstances
- The position doesn’t align with your current career goals
- The company’s culture doesn’t align with your values or working style
Whatever reasons you have, make sure to frame them in a positive light and maintain a polite tone. For instance, you could write something like ⤵️
“After thoughtful consideration, I have decided to pursue a different opportunity that I believe is the best fit for my current career path.”
Wish Them Well
To conclude your job offer response gracefully, you can express your sincere goodwill towards the company’s future.
The idea here is to demonstrate your respect for the organization and leave a lasting positive impression.
To do so, make sure to use encouraging language and try to acknowledge the company’s strengths.
Here’s an example of what you could say in your email ⤵️
“I wish [Company Name] all the best in its future endeavors and look forward to seeing its continued success in the field.”
Offer to Stay in Touch
If you want to leave the door open for potential future opportunities, you can offer the hiring manager to stay in touch.
This is a strategic move, as it allows you to maintain open communication with the company and strengthen your professional network.
Express your interest in maintaining a professional relationship and suggest a platform to connect with the employer ⤵️
“I hope we can stay in touch, perhaps via LinkedIn, and explore potential collaborations in the future.”
Additionally, you could imply that you’re open to future collaborations, by saying something like ⤵️
“I am very interested in keeping the door open for future opportunities that might align better with my career goals.”
Declining a Job Offer – Email Templates
Need some inspiration to kickstart your writing process? Here are 3 email templates that you can use to decline a job offer courteously. Just pick a template that matches your current situation and fill in the blanks.
Template #1 – You’re not interested
Template #2 – You’ve accepted another offer
Template #3 – The salary doesn’t meet your expectations
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you reject a job offer without being rude?
The best way to decline a job offer without being rude is to send a concise, polite, and professional email to the hiring manager. Here are some handy tips to help you reject a job offer by email ⤵️
- Respond as soon as you’ve made your decision
- Maintain a professional, positive, and respectful tone
- Express your gratitude for being considered for this position
- If you can, briefly explain why you’ve decided to turn down their offer
- Conclude your message by wishing the company success
- Proofread your message before sending it
How do you decline a job offer but keep the door open?
You’re interested in a company, but the timing isn’t quite right, the salary is too low, or the position doesn’t fit in your career plans? In this case, it may be in your best interest to reject the offer but keep the door open.
The best way to decline a job without burning any bridges is to send them a polite email to express your appreciation. After politely turning down their offer, you can express your interest in a future role.
For example, you could say something like ⤵️
“I am very interested in keeping the door open for future opportunities that might align better with my career goals. I hope we can stay in touch, perhaps via LinkedIn, and explore potential collaborations in the future.”
Be positive about the company. Wish them continued success. Offer to stay in touch via networking platforms such as LinkedIn. And make sure to include your contact information at the end of your email.
What’s the best way to decline a job offer after accepting it?
As long as you haven’t signed anything, you’re free to decline a job offer. Even if you’ve already accepted it.
While this may feel uncomfortable, make sure to communicate clearly with the hiring manager. Don’t just ghost them.
Consider calling them on the phone before sending them your email. This shows you respect them, and it may help soften the blow.
Lastly, try to maintain a positive tone. Don’t criticize the company or its hiring process. This may hurt your reputation in the industry.