Why on earth would you want to decline a job offer if you are searching for a new role and you’ve invested time in undergoing the recruitment process? Well, off the top of my head I can think of at least three reasons that candidates shared with me over the years:
- you take part simultaneously in a few processes and in another one you’ve received a better offer
- the offer you’ve been given is less attractive than your current job (it might mean less money, poorer package, but also less responsibility, less interesting challenges, fewer progression options)
- during the recruitment process you’ve discovered that either the company or the role turns out to be unappealing: long commute, uncomfortable offices, future boss or colleagues presenting style you are not comfortable with)
All of the above might make you decide to turn the potential new role down and in this post, I will help you do it in the best possible way. (If you don’t want to decline the role and instead just negotiate the offer you received, check out my upcoming post on How to negotiate the job offer)
How to decline the job offer:
Once you made up your mind to decline the offer, there are few elements to remember to make the process easier and more pleasant for you and the employer. You would usually want to maintain or even strengthen the good impression they have on you and to leave the door open for other opportunities in the future.
First of all, try to do it as early in the recruitment process as you can. If after the first interview you already know that it’s not a place for you – withdraw from the process. Recruitment cost time and money for both parties involved. Respect your time and energy and be mindful on the employer’s too.
Second is to do it clearly and politely, what stems from the common courtesy. The worst situations are those when the candidate disappears in the middle of the process: stops picking up the phone, responding to emails. Usually, it means that they’ve decided to withdraw from the process but lack the courage to openly say so. Such attitude leaves of course poor impression and sometimes red flag in the database.
Third: give a meaningful reason. If you want to completely withdraw from the process, giving a good reason will help to close the conversation effectively and leaving a positive impression.
What are the possible reasons you can give when declining a job offer? I have four suggestions for you below:
- I was offered a role at another company and decided to accepted it as it closer matches my professional development plans at the moment.
- I was just offered a potential promotion in the current place and decided to explore it with my current employer
- My family situation has changed and I can’t afford to change job now
- I feel that this role is below my qualifications and interests.