How to Politely Decline a Job Offer by Email or Phone [+10 Email Samples]

Different people have different reasons for rejecting job offers. However, the question of how to politely decline a job offer is something they all struggle with. After all, you don’t want to be stuck in a job just because you couldn’t say no. 

Perhaps you’ve meanwhile accepted another job offer, the salary they offered doesn’t meet your expectations, or maybe you simply don’t think the company is a good fit. Whatever your reasons, it’s always a good idea to be polite and provide some level of detail when you’re refusing a job offer. 

We’ll provide you with 10 job rejection email samples that you can tailor to your own situation as well as useful tips for rejecting a job opportunity.

In this article, you’re going to learn:

  • How to reject a job offer via email or phone;
  • How to ask for more time to consider a job offer;
  • Why you should always include a reason;
  • Tips for turning down a job offer;
  • How not to burn any bridges;
  • 10 email samples for various situations.

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How to politely decline a job offer?

  1. Think again. If you don’t like one aspect of the offer, such as the salary, try to negotiate better conditions first. 
  2. Give a reason. Not providing a reason will make you look rude. Giving a short explanation will keep things cordial and ensure no bridges are burned. 
  3. Be polite. Let them know you appreciate their time and the opportunity.
  4. Don’t waste time. If you have made the decision to decline a job offer, do it as quickly as possible. Even though it’s uncomfortable, it’s a fair thing to do.
  5. Consider future networking. As mentioned before, you never know if your paths don’t cross in the future. Propose to remain in contact with them.

how to decline a job offer

How to reject a job offer by email? [+6 email samples]

It depends on the company and their preferred communication channel. Some smaller companies prefer phone calls, while larger companies find it more convenient to use email. It’s safe to say that it’s less awkward to politely decline a job offer by email rather than during a phone call. 

Here are six sample job rejection emails for different circumstances. Feel free to copy them and edit them to suit your needs.

Sample: Declining a job offer when the job is not a good fit

It’s nobody’s fault. Sometimes everything seems fine but your gut feeling is telling you the company is not a good fit. Here’s what you can say:

Dear [Hiring manager’s name],

Thank you very much for offering me to be a part of [company name] as a [name of position].

While this position is surely a great opportunity, after much thought I have decided that it is not the right fit for me and my current career path.

I really appreciate your time and effort that went into interviewing me and discussing the job offer details during the past week.

I wish the best for [company name] and hope our paths will cross again in the future.

Best regards,
[Your name]

Sample: Declining a job offer due to better job opportunity

This is a very common situation. Try not to be negative towards the company you are turning down, and say something like this:

Dear [Hiring manager’s name],

Hope you are well. Thank you so much for the offer for [name of position] at [company name].

After careful consideration, I have decided to decline the offer. The reason is that I have recently been offered a job opportunity which is a better fit for my current career path.

Once again, I want to thank you for your time and for considering me as a candidate.

You have my best wishes in finding the right person for the job at [company name]. I sincerely hope our paths will cross again in the future.

Best regards,
[Your name]

Sample: Declining a job offer due to salary

Money is often a touchy subject, however, nobody will blame you if you’ve decided on your limit. An answer like this will keep thing cordial and not reveal too much detail. It might even lead to negotiation.

Dear [Hiring manager’s name],

Thank you very much for offering me to be a part of [company name] as a [name of position].

Sadly, I will have to turn down the offer. The reason is that at the current compensation you are offering is, in my opinion, not an adequate evaluation of my skills and experience.

I really appreciate your time interviewing me and answering all of my questions.

You have my best wishes in finding the right person for the job at [company name].

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Sample: Declining a job offer after accepting another job

You received two offers, but you can only accept one. That inevitably means having to turn down the other. Here’s how:

Dear [Hiring manager’s name],

Hope you are well. Thank you very much for offering me to be a part of [company name] as a [name of position]. You have a great team!

Unfortunately, I have decided to decline your offer. The reason is that I have recently received a job offer at another company, and decided to accept it.

Thank you very much for considering me as a candidate. I really appreciate your time discussing all of the details with me during the past week.

You have my best wishes in finding the right person for the job at [company name].

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Sample: Declining a job offer after you already accepted it

This is a tricky situation, but it happens, that’s life. Before sending an email check your contract to make sure you can legally decline. Here’s an example of what to say in an email: 

Dear [Hiring manager’s name],

Thank you so much for offering me the position of [name of position] at [company name]. It has been a pleasure speaking with you and learning more about [company name] and your team.

After careful consideration, I have decided to ultimately decline the offer. I have given it much thought and reevaluated my current career goals. [Optional: insert any further details or reasons for changing your mind]. This is in the best interest of me as well as your company, I sincerely believe.

I am very sorry for the inconvenience my decision may cause.

You have my best wishes in finding the right person for the job at [company name], and, once again, thank you for considering me as a candidate.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Sample: Declining a job offer due to personal reasons

Life happens and circumstances change. Everyone will understand that. Here’s what you can say to stay professional and polite: 

Dear [Hiring manager’s name],

I really appreciate the offer to be a part of [company name] as a [name of position].

Sadly, I have decided to decline your offer. Due to personal reasons and current circumstances I am not able to terminate my current contract. [Optional: Alternatively, cite a brief reason]

I really appreciate your time discussing all of the details with me during the past week. Again, thank you for considering me as a candidate.

You have my best wishes in finding the right person for the job at [company name].

Best regards,
[Your name]

How to respectfully decline a job offer but leave the door open?[+2 email samples]

As mentioned before, you never know what life brings. If you end things on bad terms it’s almost guaranteed you’re never getting a job in that company again. There are many ways to propose staying in touch, which often depend on the company. 

Are they big on LinkedIn? Do you know any of the people there personally? Alternatively, do they engage in networking events? Suggest a way to stay in touch that aligns with the company culture.  

Here’s an example of how to phrase your refusal of an offer while proposing to stay in touch via LinkedIn:

Dear [Hiring manager’s name],

Thank you very much for offering me to be a part of [company name] as a [name of position].

While this position is undoubtedly a great opportunity, after much thought I have decided that it is not the right fit for me and my current career path.

I really appreciate your time and effort that went into interviewing me and discussing the job offer details during the past week.

I wish the best for [company name] and hope you find the right candidate soon. I’d like to stay connected with [company name] and keep in touch. Would you, perhaps, be interested in connecting on LinkedIn?

Best regards,
[Your name]

Another example of how to turn down a job offer while leaving the door open:

Dear [Hiring manager’s name],

Thank you very much for offering me to be a part of [company name] as a [name of position].

Upon careful consideration, I have decided I will have to decline the offer. I plan to pursue another job that fits better with my current career goals.

It was great to meet you and your team. I really appreciate your time interviewing me and discussing the companies future goals. I hold our connection dear and I would like to keep in touch. Let me know if you are interested in connecting with me in future.

I wish the best for [company name] and hope you find the right candidate soon.

Best regards,
[Your name]

How to turn down a job offer over the phone

As mentioned before, sometimes it’s necessary to decline a job offer over the phone. While it’s definitely a lot more stressful to do this, or anything, over the phone, following a few simple steps may save you a sleepless night. 

One thing to ease your nerves is the fact that you’re not alone. According to Glassdoor’s 2020 Job Rejection Analysis report, in the US over 17.3% of job offers are rejected. So remember, you’re not offending anyone by declining an offer. It happens all the time. 

Here are 5 steps to help you decline a job offer over the phone.

  1. Call in the afternoon. Everyone’s more calm after a meal. Start the conversation by asking if it’s the right time to call. In case the person is not available, try calling later. Don’t leave a message saying you’re declining the offer. 
  2. Structure your answer. You should start by saying you appreciate the offer. Then proceed by saying you’re declining the offer and tell them why. Finally, wish them and the company the best and thank them for their time. Ideally scribble down a very short list on a paper and have it in sight – it’ll help in case you stutter. 
  3. Calm down your voice. It’s important to sound confident. If you tend to have shaky voice in stressful situations, do a breathing exercise and remember it’s not a big deal. 
  4. Be polite and professional. Don’t start the phone call saying: “Hey there! Soooo…” 
  5. Be honest. When they ask you for further explanation and you try to make stuff up, you’ll stutter. Be honest about why you turn down the offer. After all, if the problem can be solved it may even lead to a negotiation of better conditions! 

Did you decline a job offer without a having back-up up your sleeve? Don’t hesitate and create a killer resume with Kickresume’s resume builder.

How to decline an internship offer

It’s completely normal for students to send out resumes and apply for multiple internships at the same time. If you’re lucky, you’ll get multiple offers. Hence, you have to know how to politely decline an internship offer. 

It’s worth leaving the doors opened when it comes to turning down an internship. Young people should gain as much work experience as possible, hence it’s possible you may want to do an internship at that company in the future. 

Generally, try to be as positive as possible about the company and express your gratitude for the offer. Don’t say anything negative. Ideally, propose to stay in touch with them and ask to connect on LinkedIn or other relevant social media

How to decline an internship offer [email sample]

Dear [Hiring manager’s name],

Hope you are doing well. Thank you very much for offering me an internship at [company name].

Unfortunately, upon careful consideration I have decided to decline the offer. I decided to pursue an internship in another field that fits better with my current career goals.

It has been a pleasure meeting you/corresponding with you and learning about [company name] goals. I really appreciate your time interviewing me. Please do let me know if you are interested in working with me in future. I found our connection valuable and would like to keep in touch. Could we possibly connect on LinkedIn?

I wish the best for you and [company name].

Best regards,
[Your name]

How to ask for more time to think about a job offer

Changing jobs is stressful. Deciding to work for a different company or in a different industry is a very important step in life. No wonder you want to be absolutely sure about making the right choice. 

You just got a job offer. Everything seems great, you really enjoyed speaking to the team and liked the company’s culture. You have to decide by Monday.

But is it really the right fit for you? Having a few extra days for making that decision would ease your mind and help you come to a conclusion. 

But, how to ask for time to think about a job offer? And how to delay accepting a job offer? After all, you don’t want to seem like you’re having second thoughts and make the company assume they should hire someone else. 

How to ask for more time to consider a job offer [email sample]

Dear [Hiring manager’s name],

Thank you very much for offering me to be a part of [company name] as a [name of position].

I am very excited to put my skills to good use at your company and helping to grow the business. Is it possible to have a few more days to respond to the job offer?

While I think this is a great opportunity, I want to make completely sure I understand all that is expected of me as well as all of the aspects of the job offer before I make this major decision.

Would it be possible to arrange a phone call to ask about further details regarding the position? I am available every day from 8 am to 4 pm. Let me know what suits you best.

Best regards,
[Your name]

Key takeaways

  • Be polite and express your gratitude for their time as well as the job offer.
  • Make sure to provide at least some level of detail for the refusal. Not providing any reasoning will seem unprofessional.
  • Act quickly. Don’t make the company wait several weeks while you procrastinate and delay declining the job offer.
  • Don’t forget to say “thank you” and “I appreciate”
  • Ending things on good terms is beneficial. You never know how your circumstances might change. 
  • Don’t stress too much. The hiring managers deal with people turning down job offers all the time. 
kristi

Christy’s word of advice

Whether you’re declining a job interview invitation or a job offer: don’t ghost the recruiter. I know it feels awkward to say no, but you never know when ghosting may come back to haunt you in future (😊). For job offers, I recommend politely thanking them for their time. That you’re grateful for their interest. However, due to a change in your circumstances, unfortunately you can’t go ahead at this time. And thank them again. If there’s a specific reason (e.g. salary too low) feel free to mention it. You never know… they may come back with a better offer if you’re polite!

Christy Morgan, Resident HR Expert 

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