Important Notice:
This site has moved to, please update your bookmarks. If you were looking for a specific post, you can use the site search option, archives, or categories at the new domain to find it. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

how to turn down a job offer

A reader writes:

I know you write a lot about rejecting candidates for job offers. Do you have any sound advice for the best way for a candidate to reject a job offer when it's not the position for them?

As always, straightforward is good. Thank them for the offer, but say that you've decided it's not quite right for you. Say you hope there's opportunity to talk again in the future, if that's true.

If there's a specific reason that you're comfortable sharing -- such as salary or job duties -- you should. If they know what didn't work for you about this offer, they may approach you about something that's more appealing to you in the future.

And tell them quickly. If you know you're not going to take the offer, don't drag it out. Their number-two candidate may be waiting anxiously for a "yes."


Karen Flowers said...

I get this question and requests for help over this matter a lot... People may get tons of great job offers, but obviously can only choose one that works for them. But what to do to keep the door open for future career changes?

My suggestion to everyone is a simple letter- something that would resemble a cover letter in length, and that is honest enough to let them know, sorry, another job offer was provide and is the best for my situation right now. I am eager to discuss things with your company in the future. I really liked your goals of blah and blah, and I am confident that I am a top candidate for you in making that a success.

So please keep in touch, and in the meantime, all the best with your endeavors.

A letter like that shows you as professional and still very open to working with them, and it leaves them with the mindset that you are THE RIGHT candidate for them... so they will most likely contact you in the future to work on the projects they had you in mind for.

Keep it simple and professional. And if you need help - just Google me, I'm The Resume Chick.

Anonymous said...

I think the turn-down letter has to be delicately written.

Don't say its salary if that's really not the reason. Because they may try to negotiate, and it will be obvious pretty soon that it wasn't the true reason. Then they might be irritated that they wasted their time on you, and that's the last impression they'll have of you.

But don't give a reason that is critical of the employer either, such as lack of advancement opportunities or company culture. Such comments almost assures that you will never be considered for another position with them.

And it is important to keep in mind, that some recipients may find it a bit presumptuous if you launch into the answer of 'why' before the question has even been asked.

IMO, keep it brief and polite. Respectfully decline but don't give a long winded or detailed explanation. If they are interested in feedback about their hiring process or in negotiating, they will let you know.

Anonymous said...

Many years ago, I was looking for a new job. I ended up seriously considering and interviewing with two companies. When I decided to go with company A (still my current employer), I let company B know that there was no point in going forward with any more interviews. I was withdrawing myself from consideration.

I did not expect the reaction I got from the HR recruiter with whom I had been working. He said that first, he was unaware I was interviewing with any other companies. (Uhm... duh?) He told me I was making a big mistake because his company was the best thing going in my state. (I'm in the midwest and applying for a position in the midwest. He himself worked in New Jersey.) Furthermore, I would regret the day that I turned them down because they would not consider me in the future.

That confirmed to me that I had made the right decision. :)