Many of us study, do internships… until the entry into the world of work comes. When we begin to enter it, this world seems to us as interesting as it is unknown.

We all imagine ourselves happily saying “Yes!” to a job offer, but… what happens when we decide to turn down one of them? It’s often the case that we don’t really know how to do it so that we don’t look “bad” to the company. Therefore, in this article we will see different key ideas about how to reject a job offer in a friendly way .

How to politely decline a job offer

Many of us think about how happy we will be if they call us from that interview we did to tell us that we have been selected for the vacancy in question, but… What happens when we decide to turn down a job offer instead?

First of all, it must be clear that it is essential that we take selection processes seriously , that we value the work of recruiters (human resources professionals who are dedicated to interviewing and selecting candidates) and that we are honest and sincere throughout the process.

Without further ado, here are some of the best tips on how to politely decline a job offer:

1. Be transparent throughout the process

The first piece of advice regarding how to reject a job offer in a friendly way has to do with sincerity throughout the selection process. So, in fact, to leave a good image of us when we reject an offer, it is convenient to show a positive attitude from the beginning of the process, not only at the end .

By this, we mean that if you are in more than one selection process, you should say so from the beginning during the interviews you do; this does not take away from you as a candidate, on the contrary, recruiters already know that when you are looking for a job (and even if you are not actively looking) it is very likely that the applicant is in more than one process.

Knowing this information will help them to know your situation, as well as your profile, and will make things easier in case you finally reject the offer (as they already knew you were in more processes, they won’t be so caught off guard, and they will be able to organize themselves better).

2. Communicate immediately

Once you know that the offer does not interest you, whether you have already been told that you have been selected or not (and especially in this second case), it is important that you communicate your decision to reject the offer as quickly as possible.

In this way, you show that you value the work of the people in charge of the process , as they will be happy to know it as soon as possible in order to organize themselves and not to count on you, to call other candidates, etc.

3. Make a call (avoid email)

Imagine that you have already decided on another offer, or you simply wish to reject a certain offer for “X” reasons (there are many).

So, if you have already advanced in the different phases of the selection process and have been informed that you are the selected one, but you wish to reject the offer, it is best to communicate this by telephone .

As a general rule, it is better to avoid emails, as more information can be provided through a call, and it is a much closer act that the recruiter will appreciate.

However, if you finally choose to communicate your decision by email, at least make sure you don’t make any spelling or grammatical mistakes (pass the reviewer!) and use clear, concise and respectful language.

4. Be honest

Another tip regarding how to reject a job offer in a friendly way is in line with the first one, since has to do once again with sincerity and openness .

These two values should also prevail when you communicate that you finally reject the offer. Of course, we don’t always have to explain everything to those responsible for the process, but we do have to summarise your reasons for rejecting the offer.

5. State your reasons

In line with the previous section, it is recommended that you share the reasons that led you to make the decision to reject the offer in question. Thus, this is another of the key ideas about how to reject a job offer in a friendly way.

In addition, this can provide feedback to the interviewers, and learn more about the sector of the job offer (e.g. that there is a lot of mobility in that sector, that salaries range “X” range, that candidates prefer to travel – or not to travel – etc.).

6. Evaluate the work of recruiters

At this point, it is important to highlight the importance of valuing the work of the recruiter and/or the people with whom we have had contact throughout the selection process.

This can be expressed in phrases such as: “I appreciate the good communication you have had with me during the whole process”, “It was a pleasure that you contacted me”, “Thank you for the feedback after the interview”, etc.

7. Be grateful

There is a phrase that says: “Being talented opens many doors for you, being grateful keeps them open. Who knows if, in the future, you will not wish to knock again on the door that you decide to close today?

This is more frequent than we think, and although perhaps today we are not interested in a certain job offer, perhaps in the future our plans, expectations, desires or needs will change.

Being grateful at the end of the process, when we decide to reject the offer, besides giving a good impression, allows us to keep the doors open in that company for the future . Moreover, it is a way of thanking the recruiters for their work, which they certainly value.

8. Do not close the doors

In relation to the previous point about how to reject a job offer in a friendly way, one piece of advice is that you should not close the door to that company completely (in case you have really been interested and/or the offer is minimally attractive for you).

We can express this with a sentence at the end of the conversation, of the type: “I hope we can be in touch for future offers, since I really find your company/offer interesting…”.

Bibliographic references:

  • Blasco, R.D. (2004). Recruitment and selection of personnel: the old and new role of the psychologist. Revista Psicologia: Organizações e Trabalho, 4(1): 91-122.
  • Team Vertex. (2007). Selection of personnel. Editorial Vértice. Spain.
  • Jiménez, D.P. (2016). Human Resources Manual. (3rd ed). ESIC, Business & Marketing School. Professional business books.
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