How to decline a job offer without burning bridges.

Steven Fulop - September 17, 2018

When applying for work, you may find yourself in the lucky position of receiving multiple offers. “As soon as you decide to accept an employment offer, you should contact the other companies right away,” says Steven Fulop, Director of u&u Greater Western Sydney.

Steven gives his advice on how to professionally turn down a job offer saying that over the years he rarely sees candidates do this well, many destroying their reputation and burning bridges with employers.

“Declining a job offer should be seen as an opportunity to generate good will”, says Steven. So, how can you kindly, professionally and gratefully decline a job offer whilst keeping your reputation in tact?

  • Be 100% sure before you say no. Don’t go back on your word. Whatever you decide is final.
  • Pick up the phone; do not email! If you can’t reach them on the phone, DO NOT leave a message rejecting the role. Leave a message asking them to call you back at their earliest convenience. Do not hide behind email, it’s really poor form.
  • Do not drop off the radar. You need to be prompt in declining the job offer, so that you don’t leave the company hanging and at risk of losing other candidates.
  • Show your appreciation for their time and their offer. An example: “Thank you so much for the generous offer. I appreciate you taking the time to consider my application and answering my questions on the role and company throughout the process.”
  • Rip it off like a band-aid. Keep it brief, but honest. Don’t waffle. An example: “After careful consideration, however, I have decided to pursue and accept a position at another company that will ultimately point me closer in the direction of my passions and career goals.” Be specific about your direction if you feel it is appropriate. Example: “I have decided to accept another role closer to my passion of cloud transformation, with a stronger remuneration package.”
  • Offer to stay in touch. The market is small and you never know what the future holds. An example: “It’s been a pleasure working with you during this process, and I hope we cross paths in the future.”
  • Offer referrals if you have them. Pay it forward. An example: “I have a few people in my network who could be interested in this role, and I’d be happy to send their information to you.”
  • Send a hand-written thank you note. Showing a little gratitude can go a long way, and it’s a classy gesture.
  • After your call, put it in writing to formalise and leave a paper trail.

    Top tip: Always be open and transparent during the process that you are exploring other opportunities and give detail as to where you are up to with those opportunities. Blindsiding people last minute when you’ve given no indication of any other opportunities during the process can be very frustrating for employers.

    Source: Steven Fulop (Link to LinkedIn profile)




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