Turning down a job offer is one of the most awkward professional positions to be in. You would want to decline the offer kindly and with diplomacy, but in a balanced straightforward, honest manner. Note that declining a job offer doesn’t mean that you won’t ever meet those that made the offer, so it’s very crucial you find a way to leave them with a positive remembrance of you. You need to understand that the earlier you turn down a job offer, the sooner that company can extend it to the next person. This usually takes additional meetings and other company protocols that take time. Have it in mind that just like arriving punctually to meetings and promptly returning work correspondence, turning down a job offer needs the same attention. If you have thoroughly researched the company, and your instincts tell you it’s the right thing to do, then do it quickly.

Irrespective of how you choose to inform a company that you are declining their offer of employment, you have to be clear on want to say and why you want to say it. Finding a way to turn down an offer of employment that won’t burn bridges is very pertinent in business. You just can’t say, “The money you offered is insulting.” Nor do you want to lie. You will have to keep it short and to the point. Try explaining that it was a very hard decision and focus on your reasons, but keep it about you. Sometimes companies use your reasons as information about how their company works.

Also note that it is really best to refuse a job offer by phone. It may or may not be quicker, but it definitely offers a personal touch. Call your point of contact or the person with whom you interviewed first and let them know your decision in a short phone call. Make sure to refer to your outline during the call. Declining by email or regular letter is largely a personal choice. Include your contact information and address the letter to your main point of contact. Be sure to thank them for the offer and for considering you.

Ways to Decline a job offer after accepting 

Sometimes the salary offered to you by a company tends not to be the same as it was advertised. Alternatively, the salary may simply be too low, and no possibility exists to earn more. If you can’t pay your bills on the salary, you simply can’t accept the job. Sometimes also the scales fall off your eyes after you must have verbally agreed or even signed an acceptance contract. Now you have to find a suitable way to reject the offer and not leave a negative image with the company.

Turning down a Job Offer by Email

If most of your communication with the interviewer and company have been through email, then it’s OK to turn down the job by email. But you have to make sure you read your email response several times to make sure it sounds professional and that it mirrors the tone of the messages that the company has sent you. Have it in mind that if you submit a very casual-sounding response to a company that was very formal in their approach to you, it would be quite inappropriate. You should always thank the employer for the time spent in talking with you or in checking references, as well as for the opportunity and their consideration. Then apologize for any inconveniences you’ve caused. Make sure that it sounds sincere and genuine.

Turning Down a Job Offer Over the Phone

If the company or interviewer contacted you by phone many times, then it is advisable that you turn down the offer over the phone. You have to make sure that you show professionalism and call to turn down the position as soon as you make the decision. It is a very huge mistake to make them call you. This is especially important if you’ve already accepted the job, but after consideration, you need to bow out. You have to make sure that you speak to the same person who offered you the job. If you speak to someone else, the message may not be relayed in the same manner that you intend. Never just leave a voicemail with the information; this makes you sound weak and afraid.

Useful tips when turning down job offers after accepting because of salary

When it comes to rejecting a job offer after accepting due to salary issues, have it in mind that some companies may come back and offer you more money, even if you were not actively trying to negotiate for more. In that case, carefully consider the offer and repeat these steps again if you decide to decline.

Evaluate the offer

Before you turn down a job offer, you need to ensure you are 100% certain you do not want (or cannot take) the job. Have it in mind that once you turn down a job you previously accepted, there is no going back. Before you make a decision, remember that the job may come with compensations too. Find out if the position comes with bonuses or a profit-sharing plan. Also take into consideration the value of all the benefits, retirement contributions, and any extra perks like tuition reimbursement or child care stipends. While these extras don’t directly add figures to your bank account’s bottom line, they do have value, so fully evaluate the entire offer before making a final decision.

Understand your contract

If you have accepted the offer already, you might as well have signed a contract. So it’s advisable that you read through it carefully to make sure there will be no legal repercussions to you rejecting the job. For instance, some contracts say that you have a certain window of time during which you can reject the job, or that you have to give a certain number of days’ notice. Check with a lawyer or employment expert just to make sure there will be no legal consequences.

Don’t wait and be tactful

Just like is stated in the introduction to this article, you need to let the employer know as soon as you realize you no longer want to accept the job. Note that the earlier you let the hiring manager know, the sooner the employer can start looking for your replacement. He or she will appreciate your swift communication. Also be tactful when letting the employer know why you changed your mind, but do so without insulting him or her, or the company. If you realized that you don’t think you will get along with the other employees, simply say that you do not think you would fit in with the company culture. Also if you found a job that you are much more interested in, explain that you were offered a job that is more in line with your skill set. Do not say anything negative about the employer or the company.

Be concise and express gratitude

Irrespective of what you feel or what your reason for turning down the job offer is, try to keep your explanation brief. You do not want to go into all the details of your family emergency, or all the reasons why another job is a great fit for you. Start with appreciating the employer for the opportunity to meet and to learn about the company. If there was anything in particular you liked about the employer or company, say so. Also explain and acknowledge that turning down the job was a hard decision. You do not want to burn bridges with the employer – you never know if you might want to work with them in the future.

Understand your bottom line

Note that some employers might try to negotiate with you to get you to come on board. So, before you speak with the hiring manager, decide what your bottom line is. Would you stay for more pay? Better benefits? There are some benefits and perks that are negotiable. If you decide you do not want to negotiate, be clear about this with the employer. If you do opt to negotiate, know what would entice you to accept. Keep in mind that the hiring manager may not be thrilled that you want to counter the offer after you already said “yes” to the first offer.

Choose the right form of communication

You need to understand that talking with the employer directly (either on the phone or in person) is the best strategy, because it gives you the upper hand to explain yourself more clearly and increases your chances of maintaining a positive relationship with the employer. You should then follow up the conversation with a letter or email confirming your conversation. But if you are nervous about speaking with the employer directly, or if you are worried you will not be able to fully explain yourself over the phone, you can send a formal letter to the employer. However, a conversation in person or over the phone is the best way to personally explain and apologize.

Learn from this

You should use this as an opportunity to learn how to avoid situations where you accept and then reject a job. For example, for your next job offer, you can ask an employer for more time to decide. You might also work on your negotiating skills if you felt you did not get the salary or benefits you wanted. Also try not to let your excitement about a job offer cloud your judgment. Think carefully about the pros and cons of any job offer, negotiate a contract you are satisfied with, and then say yes (or no) to the job. Most times turning down a job offer after you must have accepted comes with negative effects as the company might decide to take it up legally.

Conclusion

When it comes to a job, sometimes, it really is all about the money. A lot of us work to live. We have mortgages, rent, utilities, car payments, day care and more to pay for, and we’re working to foot the bills. So, if you’re presented with a job that doesn’t even come close to making ends meet, it might be worth holding out for something more lucrative if that’s feasible. But you need to first and foremost be clear about pay structures and costs of employment — especially for commission-based work — before grabbing a temporary position.

Also, if you really don’t want to reject the job offer, never forget about the possibility of salary negotiation. Any job is said to be better than no job, but not necessarily. It’s very important that you measure “filler” jobs against your overall career plan. Indeed career paths are most times not straight and visible. Sometimes the route to a coveted sales position goes through the mailroom. And there are times that outside pressures and financial considerations force us to pause professional progress completely. Note that these challenges are surmountable and may even provide valuable perspective, as long as hitting the pause button doesn’t cause our motivation to idle as well.

Ajaero Tony Martins