Turning Down a Job Offer Professionally

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So you applied for a job at a company you thought you’d love and you were really excited about it, but then you had your interview and something just seemed off. These situations happen more often than you think and it’s completely fine if there was something at the interview that made you realize this company just wasn’t a good fit for you.

We all have second thoughts about a lot of things, some small and some big…it happens every day! But for some reason, we all seem to get down on ourselves if we feel in our “gut” that something isn’t right and that the job we so desperately wanted before just isn’t the job we want now.

It’s time to stop having that fear and trust your gut! Here are a few reasons why it’s okay to trust your gut when it comes to a job offer and how to graciously turn them down.

You’ve Been Job Hunting for Awhile

If you’ve been looking for a job for awhile, it’s easy to lose sight of what you really want in a job and you could end up taking something out of desperation. It’s okay if that happens, but don’t feel discouraged if you turn down a job offer even after you’ve been searching for awhile.
Finding the right job at the right company that has the same values as you is HARD. There are so many companies out there but not all of them are right for you. Being able to recognize what you are looking for in a company/job is super important when you’re looking to change jobs. The process can take awhile to find the right company for you, but know that it is okay to take your time because in the end you’ll be much happier once you find the right company for you.

The Company Has a Bad Reputation

Before you go accepting a job offer, make sure to check reviews online on sites like Glassdoor or LinkedIn. Also, if you know anyone who is working at the company or has worked there in the past – ask them for their honest opinion of the company. If there are one or more red flags that come up, then this probably isn’t a good company to work for.

The Job Responsibilities are Vague

If the job responsibilities seem unclear and they aren’t providing enough information, it may be a sign that this company just isn’t the right one to go to. When there are vague job responsiblities, it can sometimes be a sign that the company just doesn’t know what they’re looking for in the position and in turn, it could make it very unclear for how you should set goals for advancement in the position.
Related Reading: How to Nail Your Next Phone Interview + Free Checklist

So, now you know some of the reasons you should turn down a job offer but how the heck do you turn down a job offer without burning bridges?! Here are some tips for how you can turn down the job offer, without being rude or unprofessional.

#1 Let Them Know You Appreciate the Offer

First off, make sure that you thank them for their time and for the offer they gave you. Showing your appreciation is very important when turning down an offer and shows that you are a true professional. Being short and just turning down an offer with “thanks, but no thanks” isn’t a way to show them your appreciation, so make sure it is heartfelt and be truly grateful for their offer.

#2 Provide a Reason (but keep it short) 

When turning down an offer, it’s important to give them a reason. It doesn’t have to be very lengthy or too in-depth. Just give them a short reason like “I have decided to keep looking for a company that better fits my values” or “Thank you very much for the offer on the Project Manager position, however I have decided to move forward with another company”. Giving a short but gracious reason will keep it professional and clear.

#3 Stay in Contact

LinkedIn is truly a beautiful tool for networking and staying connected to others we have met in our careers, so make sure to add the main contact at the company that you worked with. This way you can keep in contact with them and if they have a better position or you want to reach out to them again, you are able to do so.

Have you ever turned down a job offer? If so, what was something you learned from turning down a job opportunity? 

How to Turn Down a Job Offer Professionally & Graciously | Job Interview Advice | The Sophisticated Gal


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  1. What I\ve noticed so far is that job descriptions always sound more complicated than the job actually is. I guess there is some sort of rules or templates that should be followed when a JD is created, but they all sound the same and fake somehow.
    I like to put my probation period to good use. If I spot that something does not feel right, then it was nice working with you but no thank you.

  2. GREAT post!!!!

    When I was on my job hunt I received a great offer from a unique company… but it didn’t feel quite right. I hated the job I was in but I knew that taking this new job wasn’t going to be right either. I politely declined the offer and continue to follow up every now and then to see how they are doing.

    Who knows, it wasn’t the right fit for me but I might know someone who would be perfect!

    Laura @ http://www.cookwineandthinker.com

  3. Great tips! I had someone accept a verbal offer for a position and then she totally ghosted for over a week and then finally said she decided to go elsewhere.She tried to follow the steps you mentioned but at that point it was a bridge burned!

  4. I loved reading your tips on this especially when it comes to explaining why you’re turning down the job. Great tips on this topics!

  5. Tip #2 is a good reminder, particularly the part to keep it short! It can feel awkward, and sometimes I feel like you can find yourself rambling. Short and sweet is the way to go!

  6. When I first began my job search and finally landed an interview with a company, I was so excited about the prospect of no longer being unemployed. After receiving an offer, a combination of things didn’t feel right. I’m thankful to have received the offer and was given a grace period to formulate how I wanted to turn down the offer.

  7. Sometimes it can be hard to turn down an opportunity, but remaining steadfast with what you want, and are worth, pays off in the end when the right job inevitabley comes along!

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