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How to decline a job offer?

When you get a job offer, it comes after a lot of work that you have put in. The effort you put in to apply for the job, clear the assessments, and interviews have finally yielded its result and you have a job offer in your hand. However, after receiving the job offer, you may decide against taking it up. This could be due to various reasons. You may not be happy with the salary offered or with the job position mentioned in the offer letter. You may have got a better offer from another company, or you may have simply changed your mind.

Whatever may be the reason, you need to inform the company that you are not taking up their offer. This brings us to the question of how to decline a job offer. If the company has selected you, it means you meet their requirements and they are looking forward to you joining them. When they have reposed trust in you by making an offer, it is your duty to decline such an offer quickly and gracefully.

Just as companies reject a candidate, a selected candidate can reject a company. This is a common occurrence in the industry. In case you were thinking that the company would be offended by your declining the offer, put the thought aside. It is an offer and it is up to you to either accept or decline it. Now that you have decided to decline it, you need to inform the company. Here’s how you can do it in the best possible way.

1) Do it quickly

If you reject a job offer, the company has go back to its interview records to select another candidate. This sets them back by many days. It is, therefore, important that you communicate that you are not taking up the offer as quickly as possible. Don’t delay and waste the company’s time. Don’t wait till the date by which you are supposed to accept the offer. The moment you decide to decline the offer, inform the company on the same day.

2) Email, letter, or phone?

The next thing is to consider whether you should send an email, letter, or call up the company. If you have got the offer through email, you can reply through email. Sending a letter is better as you ensure that the company definitely gets the information that you won’t be joining them. The ideal way to do this is to call them and inform them. It is a more gracious way of turning down a job offer.

3) Should you tell them the reason?

You are under no obligation to give them details of why you rejected their job offer. However, it would be rude to turn down an offer without assigning any reason. You need to be diplomatic while telling the reason. The real reason could be that you found out that the company was not a good place to work. It wouldn’t be nice to tell them this directly. You can give a general reason for declining the offer.

4) Don’t burn your bridges

You never know – the company you declined today may become a market leader tomorrow. At that time, you may want to join them. Don’t burn your bridges by being rude, or delaying informing the company. Do it gracefully and in a professional way so the recruiter’s opinion of you doesn’t turn negative. Remember that most recruiters are connected professionally. It is not good to create a bad opinion about yourself in the recruitment world.

5) How to do it?

Now that you have understood the need to turn down the job offer in a professional way, let’s see how this can be achieved.

The first thing is to thank the company for its offer. Then inform them that you are not taking up their offer. Provide a reason for this. Conclude by thanking them and trying to stay connected. You can follow this template, whether you inform telephonically or by email/letter.

The following is a template of a job decline letter that you can refer while drafting your letter:

Subject: Job offer for <position>

Dear Mr./Ms. <name of person who sent you the offer>

Thank you for offering me the position of <position> at <name of organization>. I am grateful to you for selecting me. However, I am sorry to inform you that I am not in a position to take up this offer at present.

I have decided to take up a position at another company / I have decided to pursue other career goals because of which I cannot take up this offer.

I once again thank you for your time and consideration. I do hope I get a chance to associate with you in the future. I am sure you will find a great candidate to fill this position.


It is not easy declining a job offer, which has come after putting in so much time and effort. When you have to do it, make sure you do it professionally without offending anyone.