Turning down a job offerTuesday, 18 October 2016
If you've been actively looking for a job, there's a good chance that you've applied for more than one job and hopefully you've even been to more than one interview. Unless you're planning to work more than one job though, have you thought about how you'll turn down those offers you're not interested in?
You may decide to turn down a job offer because it's not satisfactory, you feel the work will be too easy or too difficult for you, you don't feel the company culture is a good fit for you, you feel the daily commute would be too much, or you've received a better offer from another company. No matter what your reason for turning down a job offer, make sure you do it properly.
Think it through
Like all important decisions, think your decision through before you act on it. It's perfectly alright to turn down an offer, but don't expect the offer to still be available should you change your mind or your other options dry up. The employer isn't going to wait for you and may have already offered the job to the next person on the list. Even if they haven't filled the role, your dedication may be in question. You've already turned them down once because it wasn't what you were looking for, or something better came along. Now you've come back only when your other options dried up. Will you do that again as soon as something else becomes available?
If you feel like you can't turn down a job you've already accept, don't worry you can. It's not the end of the world, but you shouldn't make a habit of accepting job and then turning them down. How can you expect to be taken seriously if you have a reputation for constantly stuffing around employers with this sort of thing? If you decide that you need to turn down a job offer after you've already accepted it, you need to let the employer know as soon as possible.
Don't take too long
When it comes to how you're going to turn down a job offer you need to consider timing, what you're going to say, and how you are going to say it.
If you know you aren't going to accept a job offer, don't make the employer wait. It's better to let them know sooner rather than later. This way you won't be wasting their time by keeping them waiting for your decision, which I'm sure they'll appreciate. Trying to stall and get more time so you can see if you receive any better offers can backfire on you, annoying the employer and losing the offer. They'll only wait so long until they move on, and at that point you've damage their opinion of you.
Plan what you're going to say
When explaining why you aren't accepting the offer, and you should provide some sort of reason, you don't need to go into great detail. Just remember to be polite, diplomatic, and concise. The interviewer took the time to interview you and consider you for the position, so thank them for it.
Being polite and diplomatic is the best way to ensure you aren't burning your bridges by rejecting them. You never know, you may apply for a different role at the same company somewhere down the track, or with a different company that the interviewer now works for. You'll make things harder on yourself if you're remembered as the person that rudely turned down a job offer.
Whatever your reasons are for turning down a job offer, being diplomatic is your best option. Don't express any personal dislikes about the employer, their employees or their company. If your turning down their offer because you've found something better, make sure you don't point out why the current offer is worse.
For example: You wouldn't say 'I've received another offer from a better company that pays more, has friendlier staff and managers, and does more interesting things'.
A better way of turning down a job offer would be to say, 'I appreciate your consideration and the time you took to interview me for the role, but I have to decline your offer as I've decided to accept another role that is more in line with my current interests and goals'.
Lastly when it comes to your reason for turning down a job offer, don't lie or make up a scenario as an excuse. Just be honest, if the job isn't in line with your goals, you're not obligated to accept the position.
Personally I think a phone call would be the best way to turn down a job, it's more personal and the tone of your voice can help convey your message, something you won't get in an email.
Turning down a job offer isn't always easy because no one likes giving bad news. But if you learn from the experience and recognise why you felt the job wasn't a good fit for you, it will help you make better decisions about what's important for you when it comes to a job.