How to Properly Decline a Job Offer

male hand in a suit showing the stop gesture

Anyone who has searched for a job before has likely encountered rude and insensitive hiring managers who treat candidates more like numbers than people. When the tables are turned and you are in a position to actually turn down a job offer, it can be tempting to imitate this kind of disregard. But in every case, it’s a mistake to act like that, and it can actually hurt your career down the road. Instead, use these tips to properly decline a job offer:

Be Appreciative

Recruiting can be a long and grueling process for a hiring manager. And if you have won out over all the other qualified candidates, it’s a huge compliment. Make sure you show your appreciation for both the work that went into your recruitment and the confidence the company has in you. At no point should you indicate that you are relieved or glad to not be working for the company. That kind of ungrateful response will likely kill your chances of ever working for or even with the company in the future.

Offer an Explanation

It’s not enough to simply say “thanks, but no thanks.” As we just pointed out, recruiting is difficult. When a hiring manager fails to attract his number-one pick, he will want to know why so he can refine the recruiting process for the future. Be honest about your reasons for declining the position, but be tactful and brief as well. For example, it you felt that you and your future boss would clash, you don’t have to insult them personally. Instead, emphasize that you feel like you’re in a better position to succeed elsewhere. If you’ve already accepted another job offer, don’t hide that fact, but don’t gloat either.

Stay in Touch

You never know when your next job search will begin. Since this company has already offered you a job, they have an acute understanding of your credentials and feel confident that you can make an impact. Having already passed the screening process can be a huge asset to you in the future if you find yourself suddenly unemployed, or if an appealing position becomes available. Periodically follow up with the hiring manager, and don’t shy away from interacting with them if your paths cross at a professional conference. As time passes, they may decide you’re exactly what the company is missing and make an aggressive and lucrative push to win you over.

Remember that everything you do in your professional life, either positively or negatively, impacts your success. Taking the time to properly turn down a job offer can pay unexpected dividends down the road. Learn more about effectively navigating the recruiting process from the job seeker’s perspective by working with Artemis ConsultantsArtemis_CTA_ContactUs_v02.

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