How to decline a job offer?

How to decline a job offer?

How to decline a job offer?


Hi, I’m Janet Granger, answering the question: how do I decline a job offer?


I’ve answered another question, how to negotiate and accept an offer, if you want to review that, also. If you’re talking to a company – or two companies – there will be a point in time where you will probably have to decline an offer. 


Please know that the marketing world, like many different industries, sometimes can get small, meaning that the same people you meet early on in your career may still be around 10 or 20 years later. It’s a good idea to not hurt yourself, in the future, or possibly shoot yourself in the foot for the future, by making sure that, whatever you do, you do graciously and well – so that no one feels bad. And in the future, should you ever meet these people again professionally, it will all be okay. 


My advice is to always keep in mind that you shouldn’t burn your bridges. The best way to decline a job offer is to reach back to your contact – preferably do it by phone, not by email – even though it may be difficult. I recommend the phone so people can hear your tone of voice (or maybe you do a zoom and they can see your face) and the goal is to say something like,


“I’m calling about this position which we discussed. I’m not going to accept the offer at this time but I want to thank you for your consideration and the time that you spent with me on this. I’m hopeful that you find the right candidate quickly, and if there’s anyone I can think of who would be a great candidate and fit, I will send them your way. Thank you so much for your help on this.”


If they ask you why, it’s up to you whether or not you want to talk about it. Whatever you say, be nice. Again, because you never know when (and if) you will encounter this particular person again – or this company. 


You could say something like: “The overall package wasn’t a good fit for my needs. I’m going to stay where I am until I find the right opportunity for me.” Or you could say, “The overall package wasn’t right for my needs now and I’ve accepted another offer that’s a better fit.”


Again, if you want to keep the door open for negotiation, if you’re nice about it – who knows? They may come back with a better offer. (Sometimes saying no is a great way to make a company reconsider the package they’ve offered you.) 


You could say, “My plans have changed so this isn’t a good role for me right now.” Or you might say, “the reason is I’ve decided not to move,” or you could just leave it at that. 


The reason why you really don’t have to give a reason for not accepting their officer is that companies don’t give you a good reason when they reject you, either. They’ll say something like, “It wasn’t a good fit.” Or “We’ve decided to go in a different direction.” Etc. So you can just leave it vague and they’ll understand.


Whatever you say, it’s most important that you are friendly, and courteous, and gracious. Because you just never know when you may encounter any of those people again, in the future.


I’m Janet Granger, answering the question: How do I decline a job offer?

Use this section to make notes and capture ideas and questions. It is only visible to you.

Private Note
Click here to enter your note