Rejecting Job Offers Professionally

If you’re on the hunt for a job, you know that getting a job offer is music to your ears. But sometimes, the notes can sound a bit flat.

While every offer is encouraging to receive, not every one will be up to your expectations when it comes to things like compensation, benefits, location, hours, or even just how it stacks up to other offers you may have received. Only you will know if a job offer is up to par with your needs, but should you decide that an offer you’ve received doesn’t make the cut, it is important to your professional image that you reject it with grace.

First of all, always respond in writing; letters or emails. It helps to remove tone and emotion from your reply, and allows you to formulate your words in a way that is both final and polite.

There are 4 cornerstones to keep in mind when it comes to squaring up with an employer whose offer you’re inclined to decline. In this article, we’ll guide you through them and what you need to craft a professional and purposeful rejection letter.

Respond in a timely fashion

Just as you expect recruiters to update you on your candidacy within a reasonable timeline, so too should you be sure to reply to their offers (and rejections) in a timely fashion.

Most job offers will come complete with a due date for your response. Particularly if you are applying to fill a vacancy in an existing role for the business, your potential employer will have a deadline by which they need someone to fill those shoes. Be respectful of their business needs and reply by the date and time they specify.

If you were not given a deadline, be reasonable with your expediency. If you have other offers to consider, or are waiting for other information to come to light for whatever may affect your decision, then advise the recruiter of when you will be able to give them an answer.

In some cases, it may be reasonable to ask for an extension to consider their offer, for instance if you have a personal emergency. If that should be the case, you should at least do them the service of asking as well in advance of the deadline as you can; at least one business day.

Ask yourself, how ready are you to say no to that job offer?

Be general in your reason

It is worth your time to consider exactly what you are looking for in a job when setting out to find new work. It will help you be timely in your replies to offers, and help you know which offers to accept and which ones to reject.

That being said, when it comes to explaining the reason you are turning down a job offer in your rejection letter, it is better for you to not be specific. A vague answer will suffice. Remember, the point of your correspondence is to decline the offer. Your letter or email doesn’t need to paint a larger picture of your reasoning.

This also assumes that you have completed any negotiations that were on the table. Don’t be too quick to reject an offer over, say, vacation days, when the number you get according to your contract is open for discussion.

But, assuming you have maximized your offer and are still not completely satisfied, simply stating that you have decided to go a different direction, or that you feel it would not be a perfect fit for you is really all you need to say.

How could you phrase your rejection in a way that is both candid but discrete?

Be appreciative

Just because an employer’s offer wasn’t up to your standards, doesn’t mean they haven’t done you a positive by taking time to consider your application and laying their cards on the table.

Even when rejecting an offer, you should take care to be as polite as possible, and remember to acknowledge and thank them for the time and respect they paid you. Pay it back, so to speak.

This will also help to smooth things over in case you ever do work with them in the future.

What did you appreciate most about your latest job offer?

Don’t burn bridges

Never say never.

Offering to remain in contact with the company whose offer you decline is a sign of professionalism and maintains your display of interest in their business. Besides, you never know if someday a better position will open up with this recruiter and you may need to stay in their good graces.

Particularly if they are in the same industry you would like to build your career in, maintaining a healthy relationship will help keep you in the know, and get you known for your dignified countenance.

Can you say for certain that you would NEVER accept an offer they made?


Being timely, straightforward, respectful, and mindful of future opportunities are all virtues that can get you moving forward in life. And even if you are deciding to NOT move forward with a job offer, keeping these virtues at heart can help you make the most out of disclosing your decision.

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Phone: 613-966-9069
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Marmora, ON

Phone: 613-966-9069
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