How To Decline a Job Offer Respectfully (With Examples)

Updated February 16, 2023

There are some occasions when it might be necessary to turn down a job offer. Sometimes a job offer isn't a good fit or you might be in the position of being offered two opportunities at once. While it may seem uncomfortable, turning down an extended job offer can become easier when you follow a few guidelines.

In this article, we offer tips on how to turn down a job offer in a polite and respectful way, plus we'll share example emails you can customize based on your situation.

Key takeaways:

  • The way you decline a job offer can prove significant to your career. You don’t want to burn any bridge unnecessarily.

  • When you turn down an offer, be clear and firm in your decision to avoid any confusion.

  • Be sure to express your appreciation for a job offer, and avoid being too specific in your reasons for turning the offer down.

How to politely decline a job offer

Here are steps you can take if you decide to turn down a job offer:

1. Don’t procrastinate when getting back

Once you’ve decided to decline a job offer, don’t delay writing back to the employer. Letting the company know your decision in a timely manner will help them move forward more quickly, which is a courtesy you can do for them to show your appreciation for the offer as well.

Related: The Hiring Process: What To Expect at Every Stage

2. Keep your email simple and to the point

When you decline a job offer, start by being straightforward and honest in your message. Don’t go overboard with any excessive compliments about the job, the company or the people you’ve interacted with—it’s a rejection letter after all. Say what needs to be said as respectfully as you can and avoid being overly emotional.

Related: What Is Effective Communication? (With Benefits and Tips)

3. Express your appreciation for the offer

Thank the hiring manager, not only for extending the job offer but for their time throughout the entire process. Above all, maintain a tone of gratitude as you write the letter, letting the recruiter and hiring manager know that you appreciate their time and effort.

Related: Top Email Etiquette Examples for Professional Communication

4. Provide a reason but don’t be specific

There are a variety of reasons to decline a job offer. Perhaps the company didn’t offer you the compensation you were seeking, or you weren’t entirely sure you’d work well with the hiring manager, or maybe you weren’t excited about the company in the end.

While these are all justifiable reasons to decline a job offer, you shouldn’t include them in your rejection letter. It’s sufficient to say you’ve accepted a job offer elsewhere or simply that this job offer isn’t the right fit for you.

For example:

  • Thank you for offering me this positionit's a great opportunity. However, after careful consideration, I have decided to accept another role with another company.

  • Thank you for this opportunity to work for your company. I appreciate it very much, but I’m afraid I need to decline your offer at this time.

  • Thank you for this offer, as well as the time you’ve invested in my candidacy. I’m afraid, though, after careful consideration, I’ve decided to stay in my current role.

Related: FAQ: How To Turn Down a Job Offer You Might Want Later

5. Consider offering to stay in touch

If you established a connection with the hiring manager, but then the role turned out to be not a good fit for other reasons, consider offering to stay in touch and provide additional contact information. However, when you turn down a job offer, don’t feel obligated to provide this information.

This said, some people might view this opportunity as a way to build their professional network going forward.

Related: How To Quit a Job You Just Started for a Better Offer

Declining a job offer email examples

As said, when declining a job offer, you want to make your response clear and to the point, as well as simple. Here are two email examples for turning down a job offer concisely and respectfully:

Example 1: When you’ve accepted another job

Subject line: Job offer – [Your name]

Dear Mr./Ms. [insert last name of hiring manager],

Thank you very much for offering me the role of [insert name of position] with [insert company name]. Though it was a difficult decision, I have accepted a position with another company.

I sincerely enjoyed our conversations and very much appreciate your taking time to interview me over the course of the past few weeks.

Again, thank you for your time and consideration; best wishes in your continued success, and I hope our paths cross again in the future.


Example 2: When the job isn’t a good fit

Subject line: Job offer – [Your name]

Dear Mr./Ms. [insert last name of hiring manager],

Thank you very much for offering me the role of [insert name of position]. However, I have decided that this is not the right fit for my career goals at this time.

I sincerely enjoyed our dialog as well as discussions with your team, and I very much appreciate your taking the time to share information about the role and vision of [insert company name].

Again, thank you for your time and consideration; best wishes in your continued success.


Related: 11 Signs Your Job Isn't Right for You

Tips for declining a job offer

Here are a few final tips to keep in mind when weighing a job offer:

  • When you decline a job offer, be sure you’re making a well-considered decision. Once you’ve declined the job, there is close to zero chance you’ll be offered the position again. Note that this is not the time to attempt to negotiate a better deal.

  • Finally, don’t be afraid to reject the job offer if it simply isn’t the right fit. Turning down a job offer can be both a difficult and delicate task, but when done well, it will enable you to move on to the right job and keep your professional network intact.

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