How to Decline a Job Offer (So That They Won’t Hate You)

Let’s say you’ve been offered a job but it’s lacking.   In something.  The pay isn’t enough. It’s too far to commute. (“91 freeway westbound in the morning? Are you KIDDING me!?”) Your ex-boyfriend just announced on InstaStories that he got a job there. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided that the job isn’t what you thought it would be and so you’ve decided to turn it down.

But in order to get a job offer, one usually must say right out loud while shaking a hiring manager’s hand goodbye: “Thank you for this interview(s). I think I’d be a great addition to your team and I hope you will offer me the job.” Or you said as much on the phone. Or probably in your thank you letter after your interviews.

So. Turning down the job after you baldly and repeatedly said you wanted it? This is embarrassing.

No, it’s not.

People decline job offers all the time. What’s more, job offers get rescinded all the time. So, minor embarrassment aside, it’s perfectly normal to say no thank you after an offer’s been extended.

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But. You never know: you may want to work at this company someday in the future. So be careful how you the job down: you want to do so with grace, professionally and in a way that makes the hiring manager think well of you.

Take a look below for how to do this.

  1. Don’t not show up on your first day.

Sure, you’re nervous about saying no. You also may be worried that you might be making a mistake by turning it down and so you postpone making a decision until the day you’re supposed to start. And so you don’t show up. And you don’t answer texts or calls or emails from your (could have been) new boss.

Instead, be a professional and as soon as you’re certain the job’s not for you, let the hiring manager know, preferably no later than a week before your start date. (Even better, turn it down before you even set a start date!)The absolute latest you can tell someone you’re not coming in: the day before your first day and even that is cutting it way too close.

Not showing up just shows extreme immaturity and massive inconsideration. Man- or woman-up and tell the hiring manager with days to spare.

  1. It’s best to call the hiring manager. Second best is an e-mail. Never text.

Yes, it could be a hard call to make. But the hiring manager deserves this courtesy. And you’re a professional: you definitely can do this.

Whether you call or email, follow these guidelines:

  • Thank the hiring manager for the offer. Tell her how much you appreciate her consideration of your skills and background.
  • Give a brief reason why you’re not accepting the offer/changed your mind. You don’t have to go into great detail: you’ve accepted a position at another company. After much thought, you’ve decided to stay put. You and your spouse discussed and the longer commute will just cut too much into critical family time, etc. You don’t even have to give a reason, you can just say “As wonderful as this opportunity is, unfortunately I am going to decline.” (If you say this in a phone conversation, understand the hiring manager probably ask for a reason. Have a good one handy. Again, you don’t have to go into details.)
  1. Offer a solution.

You’re not going to say “give me 20 percent more than you offered and I’m your gal!” Instead what we mean by a solution is to say you have several connections in your network who may be great for the position and you offer to talk to them about it and send their information to the hiring manager

You see, by turning the offer down, you’ve created a huge problem for your hiring manager: he has work to be done that no one’s going to do and he to go through the interview process all over again! By offering a solution you show that you understand you’ve created a problem and you want to help fix it.

This shows empathy and professionalism.

  1. Say you want to stay in touch.

The world of work is small one. Particularly within industries. There may come a time when you will want to work for this company. Or you may see the hiring manager at conferences, seminars and other professional events. If you aren’t yet connected on LinkedIn, say you will send a connection request soon (and then do so that day). Even a simple “Thank you for your time and offer and I hope we meet again,” will be enough.

Say yes to your next job offer by contacting Helpmates. We have many great job and career opportunities in Orange and Los Angeles counties. Good luck with your job search!

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