5 Steps to Turn Down a Job Offer Professionally

Turn down a job offer with tact--or you may regret it, fast. Whether you have multiple job offers on the table, or you simply feel the job offer you got won’t be a fit for you, you can handle rejecting a job offer with these five tips and examples of what to do and say.

Five Steps to Turn Down a Job Offer

1. Be Gracious and Grateful

First of all, you should already have sent a thank you note after each interview to the hiring managers. Always thank your potential employers for the time they spent interviewing you. To turn down your job offer, it never hurts to reiterate your "thank yous" before rejecting the role.

2. Express Your Consideration

Before you express that you’re going to turn down the offer, let them know you’ve put serious time and thought into the decision. You want the decision to seem finite, concrete and give an unambiguous indication of your intention to turn down the job offer. Before explaining your reasons for turning down the position, start your sentence with your version “after much thought” or “after careful consideration."

3. Give a Solid--but Brief--Reason

While you don’t want to leave a hiring manager completely in the dark about why you’re turning down the offer, you also don’t need to go into excruciating detail. The best thing to do is to be brief and give one or two solid reasons why you’ve come to your decision.

4. Your Career Goals and Their Bright Future

It’s important to communicate why you’re turning down the offer, but you can also be simple with it: Let them know the position isn’t the right fit for your career goals at this time. Wish them well and say, “Good luck in finding someone who is the right fit for this position. I’m sure they’ll have a bright future at your organization.”

5. Stay in Touch

If you’re going to be working in a small industry or want to potentially work for this company in the future, it’s a good idea to find a way to stay in touch with any leaders or team members at the company you connected with during the interview process. Share your contact information and wish them all the best--and never underestimate the power of a well-maintained professional network.

Bottom Line

Not every job offer is the right fit for you. Sometimes, you will have to turn down a job offer, and you must prioritize professionalism and transparency to avoid burning bridges. Of course, if you have the help of a talented Search Executive, you'll have full guidance through the process.