How to Turn Down a Job Offer - and Still Look Good

25 September, 2020
Have you ever needed to turn down a job offer? In this article, discover some tips to help you stay on good terms with the company and avoid missing out on future employment opportunities.

Have you ever needed to turn down a job offer? In this article, discover some tips to stay on good terms with the company and avoid missing out on future employment opportunities.

You applied for a job and were called for an interview – that’s great news! Or maybe a recruiter saw your professional profile online and reached out to you.

Regardless of the circumstances, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to turn down a job offer. But how can you do this without looking bad and staying on good terms with the company?

You might feel the need to turn down a job offer for several different reasons. It’s a bittersweet situation, especially if you’ve applied with great enthusiasm and the company wants to hire you.

However, many things can occur during the interview. You may realize that the salary isn’t what you were expecting, that there aren’t promotion opportunities, or that the working hours don’t suit you (either because you have children or other obligations).

The same thing can occur if you get a job opportunity from a company that was interested in your professional profile. In these cases, if the conditions don’t suit you, then it may be easier for you to turn down the job offer.

How can you react in this situation? Is it possible to turn down an offer without losing a future opportunity?

A confused man.

How to turn down a job offer

Take your time before giving an answer

In most cases, you should take your time and fully think things through before you decide to turn down a job offer. However, other times, you may have no doubts whatsoever.

For example, if you find the working hours impossible, the financial conditions don’t match your expectations, or the type of job you’re being offered isn’t as secure as you thought it would be, you may not need to think things through.

Nevertheless, you should avoid answering right away. This way, you’ll be sure about what’s holding you back from accepting and you’ll be able to turn down the job offer without looking bad. You never know, the interviewer may be willing to negotiate if they’re very interested in your profile.

Don’t wait too long to turn down a job offer

Taking your time to turn down a job offer doesn’t mean you should take days to do so. This will show that you’re afraid of being open. That’s why you should give them an answer either the same day or the day after the interview or job offer.

Not only will you look better, but the company will also be able to continue its selection process with other candidates.

Remember that not all the candidates will reject the offer. They may need the job as soon as possible. Thus, you shouldn’t delay your response too much.

A job interview.

Honestly communicate the reasons behind the rejection

One of the last pieces of advice when it comes to turning down a job offer is that you should be honest. Tell the company the real reasons why the position doesn’t suit you. If it doesn’t meet your expectations, then communicate that clearly. If the salary is the problem, don’t be embarrassed to admit that this is the reason you’re turning down the job.

If you find it difficult to turn down a job offer over the phone, then send an email. State your reasons honestly and don’t forget to thank the company for taking an interest in you.

By doing this, the company will know what your conditions are and, perhaps, a future position that meets your needs will open up. If you turn down the job the right way, then they’re more likely to call you for a future position, if one should come up.

You should forget the idea that you should accept any job offer because that’s the positive thing to do or out of fear that you won’t find anything better. If the terms don’t convince you, then be decisive.

  • Argüeso, M. S. (2004). Una reflexión sobre la posibilidad de rechazar una oferta de empleo por responsabilidades familiares. In Desempleo: XIV Congreso Nacional de Derecho del Trabajo y de la Seguridad Social, Oviedo, 23 y 24 de mayo de 2003 (pp. 1453-1467). Subdirección General de Información Administrativa y Publicaciones.
  • Cruz Villalón, J. (2003). El deber de aceptación de la oferta de colocación adecuada. Relaciones Laborales: Revista Crítica de Teoría y Práctica, 1, 357-386.
  • de Escoriaza, J. C. Cómo afrontar una entrevista de trabajo: preguntas más frecuentes y aspectos positivos y negativos. sal de dudas, 63.