How To Decline a Job Offer: Email Examples

Updated 22 February 2023

Sometimes a job offer doesn’t fit, even though you applied for the role hoping it would. Or perhaps, you’re in the position of being offered two opportunities at once. It may not be easy, but sometimes it’s necessary to decline a job offer. Below, you’ll find guidelines on how to decline a job offer politely and sample emails that you can customise based on your situation.

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Don’t procrastinate

Once you’ve decided to decline an offer, don’t delay writing to the employer. Letting the company know in a timely manner will help them move forward more quickly in the hiring process.

Keep it simple and to the point

Don’t go overboard with excessive compliments about 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.

Say “thank you”

Above all, maintain a tone of gratitude as you write the letter, letting the recruiter and hiring manager know that you have appreciated their time and effort, as well as the opportunity to apply for the position.

Provide a reason but don’t get specific

Your reasons for not accepting the offer could be as simple as the company didn’t offer you the compensation you were seeking. Perhaps you weren’t sure you’d work well with the hiring manager. Or maybe you weren’t excited about the company. While these are all justifiable reasons to decline a job offer, you should not include them in your rejection letter. It is sufficient to say that you’ve accepted a job offer elsewhere or simply that this job offer isn’t the right fit for you and your career.

Consider offering to stay in touch

If you felt a warm connection with the hiring manager but the role wasn’t a good fit for other reasons, consider offering to stay in touch and provide additional contact information. Don’t feel obligated to provide this information, but some people might see this opportunity as a way to build their professional network.

Email examples of how to decline a job offer

Below are two sample email templates to choose from, one if you’ve accepted another position and the second if you are just turning down the role.

Subject line: Job offer – [Your name]

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

Thank you for offering me the role of [insert name of position] with [insert company name]. Although it was a difficult decision, I have decided to accept a position with another company.

I sincerely enjoyed our conversations and have appreciated the opportunity to apply and to interview with you.

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

Yours sincerely,

Though it’s typically a good idea to provide a reason, you might not always have one, or one you care to provide. Here’s a second template that will help you decline the job offer politely without specific details:

Subject line: Job offer – [Your name]

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

Thank you 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 conversation as well as discussions with your team. I have appreciated the opportunity to apply and interview for this role.

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

Yours sincerely,

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

Finally, don’t be afraid to say “no” if the job offer isn’t right. 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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