How To Politely Decline a Job Offer

saying no

Sometimes you’re looking for a job. And sometimes jobs come looking for you. When you have too many job offers or a certain job is just not a good fit, how can you say “no” in a polite and professional manner? Why is professionalism important in such situations?

We’ve got everything you need to know about declining a job offer below. You can also check out this article for more information on orchestrating the decline.

Why Decline a Job Offer?

If you’ve ever played the starring role in an extended job search, you may be thinking, “Decline a job? Why?!”

In fact, there are many reasons why you may, at some point, need to decline a job offer. For example: 

  • You applied to more than one job during your search and received multiple offers.
  • You already have a job, and you prefer to stay with your current company.
  • The job offered does not align with your career goals.
  • The job does not offer adequate salary or benefits.
  • The job does not meet the needs of your schedule or responsibilities.
  • You realized that the job or the company culture is not a good fit for you.
  • The job would require you to relocate, and you are unwilling.
  • Taking the job would produce a conflict of interest.
  • You want more out of life than just career success, and the job being offered doesn’t align with your goals.

Why Focus on Etiquette?

Is it important to be polite when refusing a job offer? Yes, it is. Why?

Turning down the job gracefully and with professional etiquette can have a meaningful effect on your career now and even years down the road. How so?

How you treat people has a ripple effect throughout your professional network. If you are known as someone who treats others with respect and kindness, people will want to work with you. They may even go out of their way to assist you when a need arises.

On the other hand, if you are disrespectful, unkind, or negligent, people will remember. They may avoid or even try to hinder your efforts. And people talk. Your words and actions don’t just affect your relationship with their recipient – they can affect your interactions with your entire professional network.

At some point, you may wish to reapply to a company that you previously turned down. Or, you may need to work with them in a business-to-business capacity. Either way, things will go more smoothly if you have left the door open.

decline a job offer

How to Decline a Job Politely

One aspect of politely declining a job offer is to do so promptly. After all, hiring managers and HR teams may put a lot of time and effort into the hiring process. As soon as you decide you no longer want to be considered as a candidate, you should let them know. How?

Proper professional etiquette dictates that you write a job rejection letter or email. Below, we’ll discuss a step-by-step process for doing just that.

How to Write a Job Rejection Letter

Every job rejection letter should contain the following information:

  1. The job that you were offered or to which you applied.
  2. A clear statement that you will not be accepting the job.
  3. A brief explanation.
  4. A statement of gratitude.
  5. Evidence that you are willing to engage in future correspondence.

Why are each of these elements important?

Job Title

The HR department may be handling the hiring of several (or even dozens) of roles at once. You don’t want to spark negativity by leaving the guessing what position you’re talking about.

Rejection Statement

Within the first two sentences, the purpose of your letter should be clear. Again, you don’t want to leave anyone guessing your intentions.


You don’t have to share personal details, and your explanation should be brief. One or two sentences are adequate. You might make as simple a statement as “I will not be accepting this position because I have already accepted an offer from another company.”


The ultimate goal of politely rejecting a job is to leave the door open for future positive interactions. When you thank the hiring manager for their time, consideration, or something else, you lay the groundwork for a pleasant relationship. You prove that you are someone they may want to work with again.

Future Correspondence

Expressing a willingness to correspond in the future is one more aspect that can tip the scales in your favor. You might say something like, “I look forward to seeing the results of your current project,” or “Please feel free to contact me if similar positions open in the future.

By writing a polite rejection letter, you will sharpen your interpersonal skills and solidify your professional network. In the future, you may find many benefits from keeping the door open with your business associates.


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