Have you been offered a job but want to reject it?

You probably feel guilty about it. You think you are doing the wrong thing. You applied for the job, did the interviews and now the offer is here, you don’t want it.

Take heart. This is not something strange.

It may be that you have never rejected a job before but for the recruiters and hiring managers, they have experienced this before. They have received job offer rejection letters many times.

So don’t be too hard on yourself about this.


There is one thing you however need to be sure about. Do you really want to reject the job offered?

It’s important that you understand that rejecting a job offer is a final decision.

You would have a very difficult time if you were to later on decide that you’re changing your mind.

Take time and think this through.

To help you with that process, consider the below tips.

Find out the reason(s)

If you are about to reject the offered job, then you must have a reason. There could also be several reasons.

This should not be a case of looking for a reason. The reason should already exist.

In most cases, reasons for rejecting job offers fall into the below categories. You can still have a reason that is outside of this list.

1. Personal reasons

These are the most cited reasons for rejecting job offers. This is because they can cover many reasons without the need for detailed disclosure. But in essence, personal reasons center around your convictions, strong preferences or other things not directly related to the job.

Examples of personal reasons could be inconvenient working hours, working schedules, commuting distance etc.

These can be connected to the job but have a personal touch to them. It might be for example that the working hours will deny you some quality family time.

It is always important to know what you value in life. These are the things which determine how much joy and satisfaction you have in life.

If the workplace is far and you will be disconnected from your family for long er, then it is understandable to look for alternatives.

2. Career reasons

Accepting a job is not just about pay, as important as that is. There is usually another factor in your working other than the pay. This is career progression.

You want to have a career which will experience growth. Otherwise how will you grow?

You may realize that the job does not offer you the best chances to grow.

Maybe you have not seen opportunities for promotions. Maybe there is no appreciation or rewards.

Anything that can hinder your progress is not worth compromising on.

3. Low pay

Your earnings are a great way to measure your career level. Though salaries differ from one employer to another, they still offer a means of gauging where you stand.

If you’re bringing in more value and the pay offered is little, you wouldn’t be mistaken to reconsider.

Although salary can rarely be enough, you should look at the whole job offer package before making a decision.

In some cases, an employer can give you a lower pay but substitute it with great benefits. These are all within your decision.

4. Instincts

There are few ways of explaining how your instincts have made you reject a job offer. This is something only you might understand. And that means that explaining to the hiring manager can be challenging.

Maybe you met your would-be boss and sensed that working with him would be stressful. Maybe a look at how the staff were working just made you uncomfortable.

Maybe you spotted a seemingly-small incident and it put you off completely.

Still, following your instincts is wise.

5. Discomfort about company

Researching the company you applied to doesn’t come to an end after the interview. So you probably kept on digging, or you just saw in the news, that they are in financial distress. Or maybe there is a scandal involving the CEO.

Watching them handle the situation makes you wonder what is going on within the walls. If such situations cause you discomfort, your values could feel attacked.

If you value integrity, you may not want to be where there are scandals.

6. Changes in job description

In some cases, the job offer given by the employer differs significantly from what was written in the job advertisement.

This may not be a case of providing further explanation of the job using a totally different job description.

If this is what happened, then you can consider rejecting the job. First of all, there is the obvious integrity issue.

Could it be that the company is not sincere?

Or it could be just an issue of the new description being a necessitated change.

If you can’t work under the new arrangements, you can reject it.

Try Renegotiating

Job offers are more often than not negotiable. From the pay to the benefits, you can negotiate many things. This is why it is not advisable to rush into rejecting a job offer on the basis of salary alone.

When you receive a job offer, go through it keenly to note what exactly the offer contains. Read through the terms and conditions because some job offers contain clauses worth considering.

If you see something you don’t agree with, find out whether it’s negotiable. Take note of all such things and call the hiring manager who sent you the offer. Find out if the specifics of the offer can be changed.

Depending on the response you get, you will know which direction to take.

Before making the call, ensure you have listed all the things you would like changed. This will help have the conversation take the least amount of time possible.

It may be that no changes can be made or only a few. If a few, come to an understanding about them then think through the whole offer again.

You will do yourself a big favor by maintaining balance in your thinking and negotiations.

Ask yourself again why you applied for the job. Reconcile that answer to the issues you are looking at in the job offer.

If you can’t come down to where the company is, then you’ll want to start thinking of how to communicate your decision.

Consider Making a Counter-Offer

Sometimes, negotiating can go beyond just asking the company to change what they have offered. You can take the negotiations further and make a counter-offer.

Making a counter-offer is a bigger challenge to the employer than the negotiation for minor changes. When renegotiating, the whole conversation is based on the original offer. You are simply trying to make changes.

Making a counter-offer is quite different. You are ditching the given offer and coming up with a new one which is completely different.

A counter-offer comes after an unsuccessful negotiation. It can also happen as part of the negotiations.

If you take this route, you should have a very clear picture of what you want to achieve.

If the other party decides to negotiate the counter-offer you made, they will be tackling specific items.

For that reason, while making your counter offer, be specific and know how much you can let go of.

When mentioning pay, ensure you indicate whether it is the basic or gross. If talking about benefits, mention them.

Be sure to include things like opportunities to work from home and leaving early on certain days. The counter-offer you make should fit all your needs.

It can also include work-from-home days. These will lower your commute costs and give you ample time with your family.

Buy More Time to Think About It

After all these, you may still not be sure whether to accept or reject. You can get yourself some time to think about it. Note however that the employer likely knows that you want more time to consider.

Whereas this is not a problem as such, it can keep the company from moving at the required pace.

If you will eventually say “Yes,” then the company would want you to start working soonest possible.

They will also know that they have finalized on the vacancy-filling process thus move to other matters.

On the other hand, if you were to say “No,” then they will have to pursue one of the other candidates.

So for the company, they will be looking to finalize this quickly. They can even try to push you to make a decision quickly.

If you need time, just ask them to give you at least 24 hours.

If they are pressed for time, then ask for some hours. Just try and get some time away from the interview room to think about the offer.


If after all the considerations you still decide that you don’t want the job, then it’s time for the actual work. This is where the real work comes in.

The negotiation and counter-offer might have been a challenge. But communicating that you are declining the job is more challenging.

Unless you have written several of such letters before, there will always be a sense of fear to this process.

You know that you are supposed to avoid burning bridges.

Will rejecting a job offer you have engaged with the company about be seen as burning bridges? What will the hiring manager think about you? What will the recruiter who recommended you for the job say?

It is true that your decision may disappoint someone. But you don’t want to say “yes” to the job only to please someone else.

These tips will help you deal with the situation quickly so you can get another job and continue building your career.

Do It Soonest Possible

Being professional requires that you act respectfully towards the company. Understand that they have a need to finalize this process and so save them time.

The fears you have will only serve to make the situation worse.

What you also need to remember is that you might need that HR later in life.

Or you might want to apply for another position in that company some time in the future. Consider these things and communicate promptly.

Making prompt communication also helps you move on faster.

When your thoughts and emotions are freed from the company, you are able to look for other jobs.

Or focus on any other companies you are waiting for responses from.

Be Honest

With the situation being as tricky as it is, and being inexperienced in such communication, you may think of lying. You might decide to come up with a false reason.

One which is strong enough to convince the hiring manager that it is completely out of your control.

You do not want to do that. Do not practice lying with HR officers. In many cases, a little questioning can expose the lie.

Apart from that, lying is also an unethical act which you should avoid getting into.

At the beginning, we discussed the need to know what your reason for rejecting the job is.

If you are clear about that, then you have no need to worry about coming up with a response.

All you will have to do is communicate it well.

And as mentioned, hiring managers are not necessarily shocked by rejection letters. All they desire to have from you is feedback.

The questions you will be asked revolving around your decision to decline the job will be for the purposes of making improvements.

Companies know that they also have to improve their process. They therefore appreciate any feedback received.

Be Tactful

Being honest is not a ticket to respond with something like, “I didn’t like the attitude my would-be boss showed.” Such a statement is honest but unprofessional.

It can also be rude, whether the person has a bad attitude or not.

Being tactful requires that you be sensitive to the other person’s opinions and perspective.

For that reason, you should always maintain a positive attitude during the communication.

This works well to maintain a good impression of you.

The example letter provided at the bottom of this article will help you see how to be tactful.

Keep It Short And Professional

This tip should give you some comfort. It should increase your confidence before making that crucial communication.

You have your reasons for rejecting the job offer. You have agreed with us that you need to be honest. You have drafted a sample communication which is tactful so as not to burn bridges.

Now that it has come to the communication itself, it needs to be short.

Do not be tempted to explain your reason so that it is better understood. Do not try to defend yourself as though you have made a mistake. Just keep the communication clear and professional.

In keeping it short, the body of the letter should not be made of many lines. Three lines of text should be enough. A maximum of three paragraphs should make up your written communication.

On matters professionalism, consider this letter as important as your cover letter.

Ensure the letter is well punctuated. It must be written in line with grammar rules and ensure you proofread it before sending.

Give Reason and Appreciate Them for the Offer

Now this is where the rubber meets the road.

Despite what you may have thought is best, HR experts agree that the best way to communicate a job offer rejection is through the phone.

Yes, a phone call. Sounds scary but you will see the reason for this.

A phone conversation is more prompt than any other form of communication.

Keep in mind that the best communication is whereby you pass the message and the other party understands it.

To understand the message, they might need to ask questions.

At the end of the 5 minutes or so, you will have dealt with the situation and pushed it out of your way. If you were to solely rely on letters or emails, you might get a response with questions.

Responding would mean there is a lot of possible back and forth communication.

Wouldn’t it be better to have only one conversation with both parties understanding each other?

As you prepare to make the communication, remember to thank them for the opportunity they have offered you. Tell the person something positive about the company or the position you were offered.

Let them know that you appreciate the process you were taken through. This appreciation should come first then state the reason for rejecting the job.

If asked to give more details about your decision, do not say much as that can drag you into unnecessary discussions.

As long as your decision is final, just stick to the reason, maybe communicating it slightly differently while avoiding details.

Confirm in Writing

After you have made the call, it is best to follow it up with a written confirmation of the same. This can either be a hard copy letter or an email. Follow the lead of the company.

If they sent you a hard copy job offer letter, respond similarly. If they sent you an email, reply using email.

In the event that you were just called and got informed about the offer, you can respond using email. This is the most common form of business communication today. Make it polite and professional.


To give you an idea of how such communication can be done, here is an example letter. This is for an offer made through an email and so the response takes a similar form.

The reason given is that of career goals not aligning with the specifics of the job.

Still, the email is short and to the point without giving much details.


Exаmрlе 1

Email Subject Line: Job Offer – [Your Name]

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Last Name],

Thank you very much for offering me the role of senior software developer. Considering my career goals, I regret that I have to decline the offer since it is not the best fit for me.

I truly enjoyed every moment shared with you and the rest of the team at [Company Name]. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. It is my sincere hope that you will find the best person to fill the vacancy.

Once again, I thank you for the consideration.


[Your Name]


Exаmрlе 2


Cаthеrinе Hаrреr

Operations Manager

ABC Cоmраnу

50 Cоrроrаtе Plaza

Sоmеtоwn, ST 00000

Dеаr Ms. Hаrреr:

Thank уоu very much for оffеring me the assistant mаnаgеr роѕitiоn. After саrеful consideration, I regret thаt I must decline your оffеr. Although you wеrе most еnсоurаging in оutlining futurе advancement роѕѕibilitiеѕ within ABC Company, I have accepted аnоthеr opportunity thаt iѕ mоrе in linе with mу ѕkillѕ аnd саrееr gоаlѕ.

I еnjоуеd mееting you and the rest of your tеаm. You hаvе bееn mоѕt kind аnd grасiоuѕ thrоughоut thе interview process, аnd I оnlу wiѕh thаt circumstances аllоwеd me to ассерt your оffеr.

Best wiѕhеѕ for your соntinuеd success.


Jоhn Dое

Exаmрlе 3

Subjесt linе: Job оffеr – [Yоur nаmе]

Dеаr Mr./Mѕ. [inѕеrt last nаmе of hiring manager],

Thаnk you vеrу much fоr offering mе thе rоlе оf [inѕеrt nаmе оf роѕitiоn] with [inѕеrt соmраnу nаmе]. Thоugh it wаѕ a difficult dесiѕiоn, I hаvе ассерtеd a position with аnоthеr соmраnу.

I ѕinсеrеlу enjoyed оur conversations and vеrу much аррrесiаtе уоur tаking timе tо intеrviеw mе оvеr thе соurѕе оf thе раѕt fеw wееkѕ.

Again, thаnk уоu for уоur timе аnd consideration; best wiѕhеѕ in your continued ѕuссеѕѕ, аnd I hope our раthѕ сrоѕѕ again in thе futurе.


Exаmрlе 4

Dear Mr Mоrriѕ,

I would like tо thаnk you аgаin for оffеring mе the роѕitiоn оf Sаlеѕ Associate аt GHB Company. I gеnuinеlу аррrесiаtе the time уоu ѕреnt with mе аnd your соnѕidеrаtiоn for thе роѕitiоn.

I hаvе ѕреnt ѕоmе time rесоnѕidеring your jоb оffеr and I hаvе соnсludеd thаt thiѕ jоb is nоt thе bеѕt fit for my skills and еxреriеnсе. I bеliеvе it iѕ in thе bеѕt interests оf bоth myself аnd the соmраnу tо turn dоwn the jоb offer. I am vеrу ѕоrrу fоr аnу inconvenience that this mау cause.

I enjoyed learning more аbоut your соmраnу аnd I wiѕh уоu аnd уоur ѕtаff muсh ѕuссеѕѕ in thе futurе.


Jаnе Dое

Exаmрlе 5

Dеаr Sсооtеr,

Thаnk you vеrу muсh for offering mе thе роѕitiоn of Senior Swаmр Correspondent. Aftеr careful dеlibеrаtiоn, I’vе dесidеd tо accept аnоthеr роѕitiоn thаt’ѕ mоrе in linе with mу experience аnd mу gоаlѕ. I really appreciate уоur timе аnd соnѕidеrаtiоn, though, as wеll аѕ thе сhаnсе tо mееt уоur еxсеllеnt colleagues Fоzziе аnd Gоnzо. I knоw уоur team will соntinuе to achieve grеаt thingѕ in TV production, and I look fоrwаrd to hеаring аbоut уоur соntinuеd ѕuссеѕѕ.

Bеѕt wiѕhеѕ,

Jоhn Dое

Exаmрlе 6

Dеаr [inѕеrt nаmе]

I want tо thаnk уоu very much fоr offering mе thе rоlе оf [insert rоlе] at [inѕеrt company]. I аррrесiаtе thаt уоu interviewed a numbеr of candidates аnd will hаvе ѕреnt muсh time rеасhing уоur dесiѕiоn.

I was very imрrеѕѕеd by [insert соmраnу], whiсh mаdе mу decision a difficult оnе. Aftеr careful consideration, hоwеvеr, I have taken the dесiѕiоn tо decline your offer оf employment. Thе reason iѕ thаt I hаvе bееn оffеrеd a different rоlе at a mоrе senior lеvеl, аnd with a greater орроrtunitу tо dеvеlор mаnаgеmеnt skills.

I еnjоуеd meeting you аnd уоur colleagues, whо wеrе friеndlу аnd professional thrоughоut. I wоuld likе tо wish you аnd your соmраnу the vеrу bеѕt fоr thе future and I thank уоu аgаin fоr уоur timе.

Yоurѕ ѕinсеrеlу

[уоur nаmе]



Communicating your rejection of a job offered should no longer be a problem.

Follow these tips and use the example letter as a template if necessary.

Just communicate and move on with your life. Help your friends too by sharing these tips with them.

Job Offer Rejection Letter Example

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