5 Best tips to Turn Down a Job Offer Politely?

Turn Down A Job Offer

When you turn down a job offer politely, it sends a clear indicator of the high level of your business etiquette. But what remain as a big question is – “How to Turn Down a Job Offer politely?”

When you do it with grace and politeness it doesn’t leave a bitter aftertaste with a would-be employer. Nor would you have much to regret about it by doing so politely.

So how does one decline a job offer politely? Continue reading. Because I’ll be providing you some valuable tips and ideas on this topic.

Reasons to Turn Down a Job Offer

As I mention earlier, there’re countless reasons why you could turn down a job offer. Here I will discuss some of the most common ones that I often come across in my role as a Human Resources Manager.

Pay and Perks Lower than Present Job

If the pay and perks that a new employer is offering is lower than what you presently get from the current employer, it’s but natural that you would decline a job offer.

Nobody wants to settle for lower salary and perks unless there’s a very strong reason to go for such jobs. It also happens to be the most common reason why people turn down job offers.

Here, the fault lies entirely with you. That’s because you didn’t negotiate your salary and perks at the interview or another occasion. Instead, you might have asked for pay “as per company scales” or something like that.

In such cases, the employer makes a job offer that goes in line with their overall pay scales and budget. Less pay and perks the your present job is indeed a reason for turning down a job offer.

Poor Performance at Interview

Poor performance at the job interview might also be one of the reasons for an employer offering you lower pay and perks than what you’re currently getting.

Here too, it’s worth examining your own performance to find what went wrong. The main reason is usually our inability to project our skills and work experience properly.

The very fact that an employer has made a job offer is clear indication that they’re interested in hiring you. So what went wrong? Sometimes, we send feelers that we’re too eager to get that job and neglect the salary aspect, while forgetting to bargain for the pay and perks altogether.

It is always smart to negotiate for your salary when you think you have relevant qualification for the position. And when the offer letter arrives, it’s not exactly what you expect. In such cases, declining a job offer politely is the best decision you can make.

Saber Rattling

By saber rattling I mean that you’ve gone for an interview and got an offer. You intend using this offer to negotiate for higher pay and perks with your present employer. And it is given.

This is a wrong practice by any yardstick. And I suggest that no employee should ever engage in saber rattling by appearing for an interview for jobs they don’t wish to take while intending to use the offer letter as a bargaining chip or pawn.

Unfortunately, thousands of employees indulge in this unacceptable practice every month. In such cases, you might have to turn down another job offer.

And if that’s your case, then by all means you must reject the job offer politely. At least you would have left the doors open to join that prospective employer at a later date, if the situation actually arises.

Harsh Terms & Conditions

The pay and perks on the offer letter are superb and just as you wish. However, the terms and conditions of work are rather harsh. And you find that you’ll land from the proverbial frying pan into fire if you take the new job.

Such harsh terms and conditions could be multitasking despite not having skills, excessive domestic or foreign travel, long notice periods, various kinds of clauses that would render working there very difficult and leaving the job even more harder.

In such cases, the employer is at fault. They’ve to make an offer that conforms to the Department of Labor laws without any ambiguity.

Some employers however flout these rules in a roundabout manner to avoid penalties under the law for harsh terms and conditions. After all, they have experts to draft your offer letter. In matters like these question like how to reject a offer letter should not stop you from turning down a job offer.

In such cases, I would recommend you turn down the job offer politely, though the employer is purely at fault.

Inability to Relocate

And finally, the inability to relocate to a new city or foreign land is also one of the main reasons why people turn down job offers. If you find yourself in such a position, inform the would-be employer politely.  

That’s because you would definitely have known that the new job involves relocation. Yet you took efforts to attend the interview and fared well.

That’s the reason an employer selected you out of a few candidates for the job. Now you’ll be disappointing the employer with your refusal to join. Here the thought comes into play that “How to turn down a job offer politely?”.

Often, people are unable to relocate for various reasons. Sometimes it could mean shifting the whole family to a new place, admitting kids to new school and moving away from relatives and friends.

This can be very inconvenient for most people. Even if the terms and conditions are superb, you might simply not wish to leave your current location.

Therefore, it’s best to stick with the present employer while turning down a job offer gracefully and politely. There’s nothing wrong in such cases. Because, as human, you have every right to select where to stay and with whom to work.

Poor Reputation of New Employer

Let’s consider that you’ve just found that your new employer has a poor reputation in the market for any reasons.

Of course, you would wish to safeguard own interests in such case. Therefore, the best thing is turn down a job offer given by such employer politely.

Remember, there’s no point in working with an employer known to violate labor laws, has high attrition or staff turnover rates and the workplace is full of discontented employees.

You’ll be harming yourself by joining such an organization. Hence, decline the job offer but do so calmly and with due etiquette so as not to hurt anyone.

5 Tips to Turn Down Job Offer Politely

Now let’s come to the big question: How to turn down a job offer politely or gracefully?

As I mention earlier, there could be countless reasons for you to turn down a job offer. However, I always suggest people to turn down a job offer politely for one main reason.

An employer would have spent some amount of money on your recruitment process. Usually, this runs up to $4,000 per employee.

The cost includes everything from advertising a vacancy on job boards, shortlisting Resumes and inviting you for an interview.

These costs occur in the form of paying job boards and man-hours spent by the organization. And when you turn down a job offer, you’re actually wasting the company’s money.

Therefore, it’s best to turn down a job offer politely. And here’s how to do it.

1. Address Your Letter to the Right Person

Always address your letter turning down the job offer to the right person. This means, the person whose signature and name appears on the offer letter.

Write the name in full followed by the designation and name of the company with full address.Use this pattern even if you’re sending an email to the person.

And if you don’t have their personal email ID, you could use the general one of the company. In such cases, write the subject as “For Attention of Ms./ Mr.” This ensures it will reach the right person’s desk.

And if you’re sending a letter by mail, follow the same format as for email. Actually, I suggest that people should send both, an email and letter by mail for that personal touch.

2. Subject Line

You might believe that writing a simple subject line such as “Turning down Job Offer” or “Inability to Join Your Services” is adequate. No it’s not. And get this very clear. Because such words sound impolite and terse.

Instead, use words such as: “Sincere Regrets for Inability to Join Your Services from (date) at (designation). This sounds more courteous and is accurate.

Because the person who’s signed your offer letter might not be able to recall which post or role you were selected for. This happens commonly when a business is hiring for multiple vacancies at the same time.

Therefore, when you mention the designation and date, the manager in charge is immediately able to refer to your application letter and interview documents to take the necessary action.

It also enables them to make an offer to another job seeker whom they would have called for an interview.

3. The All Important Body of Letter

The body of the letter, meaning what words you use to turn down a job offer politely is the most important. And it is the most difficult to write as well. Therefore, follow these simple tips that I suggest.

Never mention the real reason for turning down a job offer if you were merely saber rattling, the prospective employer offers harsh working conditions or has a poor reputation in the market for any reason.

In such cases, you can simply say that you’re unable to join because of prior commitments. And by doing so, you’ll not be lying. That’s because your prior commitments are with your existing employer. If you’re jobless and turning down the offer, you can write this as well.

However, writing the body text assumes a newer meaning when you’re turning down a job offer because you fared poorly at the interview and the salary and perks the offer letter mentions are lower than your expectations.

In such cases, you can put across that very clearly and politely. For example, you could say clearly that the salary and perks on offer would entail drastic changes in your family and your lifestyles.

You could also say in a very apologetic manner that such changes aren’t possible.At the same time, leave the doors open for re-negotiations for salary and perks. Often, an employer can reconsider the pay they were offering if you put it across clearly.

I always point out that the very fact that you were at an interview shows that an employer is interested in your services. And if they truly want you, they will invite you or call you for negotiating a larger salary with better perks. You can opt for them, if it suits your needs.

4. End by Showing Regrets

Always end your email or letter by saying that you regret you cannot take the offer. Whatever the body of your letter or email turning down a job offer contains, always express regret.

As I said earlier, the organization has spent some money on your hiring process. Hence, expressing regrets is one way to turn down a job offer politely.At the same time, also apologize for any inconvenience that your inability to take the job.

The would-be employer deserves your apology because they had to spend in terms of the hiring process both in cash and in terms of manpower for the interview and sending the offer letter.

5. Leave Doors Open

As an HR professional, I always emphasize on leaving doors open with any employer. That’s because you might actually have to work for them at some point of time. An organization consists of humans.

And all humans are prone to bad decisions. Therefore, the management of an organization could change which could lead to better working conditions and a healthier reputation in the market.

Therefore, leaving doors open ensures you can apply again for another or same position at the organization. And that’s possible only when you reject a job offer gracefully.

Who knows, you might also be the person who could drive the change in that business at some point of time at a later date.

You might have got an idea by now for your doubt on how to turn down a job offer politely and why you should do it gracefully. Declining a job offer might sound simple but it has lot of reasons attached to it.

Wrap Up

Actually, there’re no hard and fast rules on how to turn down a job offer. Some people simply don’t send a letter or email rejecting an offer.

Studies indicate that women usually send a letter or email or both to turn down a job offer while men tend to take it easy and just call up the would-be employer.

Merely calling up on phone and speaking to the person at that organization to turn down a job offer is impolite and speaks ill of your business etiquette. Therefore, the best thing to do is send both, an email and a letter by mail.

This will not only leave doors open for other opportunities with the same employer but also give a good impression about your business etiquette and professionalism.

Sometimes during our careers, we may have to turn down a job offer. This could be for any reason. However, if you come across a situation where you’ve to turn down a job offer, the best way to do so is politely.

When you turn down a job offer politely, it sends a clear indicator of the high level of your business etiquette. And it doesn’t leave a bitter aftertaste with a would-be employer. Nor would you have much to regret about it by doing so politely.

So how does one turn down a job offer politely? Continue reading. Because I’ll be providing you some valuable tips and ideas on this topic.

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