After sending out what feels like hundreds of well written cover letters and resumes and going through multiple interviews, you receive a job offer.
That is good news isn’t it?
But what if you receive a job offer that doesn’t align with your career goals? How do you handle receiving multiple job offers and therefore having to decline one or more of them? Or perhaps you are still in the interview stage for a more appealing opportunity when you receive an offer and decide to wait for something better.
So how do you gracefully decline a job offer?
1) First of all, do not procrastinate relaying your decision to the Hiring Manager. Of course having this discussion may be uncomfortable, but you need to think about the situation the Hiring Manager is in. The Company has a need to fill, therefore the Hiring Manager will need to extend your declined offer to someone else; so be timely and don’t hold up the process.
2) Be considerate in how you deliver your decision. Be gracious and thank the Hiring Manager and his team for taking the time to interview you. Regardless of your interview experience, it is important to relate your appreciation for the time they spent with you.
3) Tell the hiring manager why you are declining the offer…but don’t provide inappropriate detail. Always start with "Regrettably…" or "Unfortunately…" and avoid going into the specific reasons as to why you are accepting another offer. In many cases, it is sufficient to just state that you are accepting an offer which better aligns with your current career goals and interests and leave it at that. Why this is important: a) you don’t want to burn any bridges with this Hiring Manager or Company. Just because this particular position doesn’t align with your career goals now, another position may fit perfectly at a later time; b) it is a small world and the Hiring Manager at this Company may be the Hiring Manager at a different company in the future. Heck, you could be his manager someday! Work to build relationships and rapport instead of burning bridges.
4) Show you care. Remember to wish the Hiring Manager and the Company continued success. Answer any question the Hiring Manager asks politely and professionally while maintaining a positive tone. You certainly want to make sure you don’t end the call by offending the Company.
5) Put it in writing. To continue showing your professionalism and your ability to see things through, follow up with a letter to the person who extended you the offer. Here is a quick sample email for declining a job offer:
Thank you very much for offering me the position of Senior Clinical Research Associate at your company. I am honored you and your organization have found interest in me.
While I firmly believe in the mission of your company and appreciate the challenging opportunity you have offered, I received another offer which I believe more closely aligns with my current career goals and interests. While this has been a difficult decision for me, unfortunately I am going to respectfully decline your generous offer.
I have appreciated the time you and your team have spent with me. I wish you and your company much future success and do hope our paths will cross again.
Investing in a Lifetime of Success,