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Decline Job Offer Letter

decline job offer letter

Even in a world where there is much uncertainty, there will be times when you need to reject an offer of employment. A Decline Job Offer Letter is something that needs to be handled with a certain amount of tact and diplomacy.

It might not happen often, but it is certainly a good idea to be prepared for when the time comes. So, let’s get started!

decline job offer letter

Before You Send The Letter

Think carefully about why you are declining the job offer. This will determine how you write the letter, so once you are sure the particular position is not for you can create it.

The Timing Of The Letter

It is quite often not an easy decision to make whether to accept a job or not. There may be a number of positives and negatives to consider. But you have made your decision, and now you need to write a letter. It is always a good idea to contact the company as soon as you can as they may well be looking to fill the position quickly if it is an important one.

This will be the first of a number of times that I make this point. Always be considerate of an employer you are rejecting. This is for two reasons:

  • Firstly, you never know if you will ever apply to them again, so it is worth maintaining good relations.
  • The person who interviewed you might one day interview you again at another company, so stay professional.

How You Contact Them?

They may have asked you to contact them in any number of ways. It could be by letter, or email, or even by phone. Whichever option they have requested, then use that medium.

In my personal dealings with potential employees, I would ask them to confirm by letter rather than by email. I was personally not a great fan of emails for contacts such as these. But some employers will be different.

By Letter

It should be quite brief and to the point. And here is where you need some consideration. Too abrupt and short, and it will feel rude to the reader. Not a good idea. Too long-winded, and you will just have them feeling ‘get on with it.’ And always spellcheck what you have written just to be sure.

By Email

This is something I personally tried to avoid with those I interviewed. People have a habit of writing emails using different terminology and style. They will abbreviate phrases and cut short sentences for some reason. Most people probably do it as a way of speeding things up. I would avoid sending a rejection by email unless you have specifically been asked to.

The Content Of The Letter


You don’t really need to explain why you are refusing the position unless there was some discussion about it at the interview. But if you choose to, here are some options to use:

It is not the position you were hoping for

For example, it may have been a sales job. You may have been hoping for a field position, but there was also some talk about joining an office-based team. When the offer came, it was for the office team. In that circumstance, you can politely inform them you would prefer a field position. But thank you anyway. They may reconsider.

You have accepted another position

If you have decided to accept an alternative job offer, there is no requirement to mention this in the letter. Just a courteous thank you for their time, and the offer they made is all that is required.

If a follow-up is requested

You have been asked to phone and inform them verbally of your decision. If so, it is advisable to follow up the call with a letter confirming your conversation and thanking them again. It avoids any potential confusion at a later date.

Good And Bad Reasons

These can be varied and including them in your letter is not always a good idea.

For example:

  • You didn’t like the company or its culture.
  • You didn’t like your potential boss when you met them.
  • Lack of employee benefits, healthcare, amount of holiday per year, etc.
  • There are other companies you feel are better.

All of these reasons are things that really should not be included in a letter. Just a few words thanking them for their time is sufficient.

As I said earlier, you never know in the future whether you will ever go back to the company. And you don’t know if you will meet the interviewer again in your business life. In other words, any negative feelings that you may have about the company or the interviewer do not need to be included.

the decline job offer letter

There Could Be a Purpose to Enclose a Reason

Reasons for declining a position are usually personal. But there is an occasion where it might pay dividends.

If there had been some negotiation regarding salary, but your requirement was not met, then a gentle reference to that might be appropriate. A simple ‘thank you for your time’ etc., plus ‘how impressed you were with the company’ should be included. And then a very brief comment about how you ‘had been looking for a slightly higher salary’ than what was offered.

But before you engage in that dialogue in your letter, you must decide on some issues.

  • Know what salary you would accept if the offer is increased.
  • Only include this if you were happy with all other terms and conditions, and are therefore likely to accept a revised offer.

This approach may or may not generate further dialogue. It could therefore be worth including if you liked the look of the job, but the salary was an issue.

Changing Your Mind

If for some reason, you accepted the position but had a change of heart, you can still decline. But this is only providing you have not signed a formal contract of employment. A Contract of Employment is a legally binding document. You may need to show it to an employment lawyer to confirm your legal status if this is the case.

Having said that, most companies would usually be prepared to tear the contract up in this case. Better to not have you there if you don’t want to be. If this is the route you go down, make sure you keep any written communications in case you may need them.

It is Your Decision

Whether you accept a position or not is solely your decision. You shouldn’t allow yourself to be influenced. The interview and the process of accepting or declining are not always the nicest of experiences. Even if your application has been successful. But even if the offer came nowhere near what you were hoping for, then it is always best to be polite when declining.

The majority of employers will always respect your decision if it is delivered correctly. And it will ensure you feel comfortable as well, knowing you have professionally conducted yourself.

Should you need to acquire any equipment for completing the letter or replace some materials, here are some options. An excellent printer option is the Canon PIXMA MG2521 All-in-One Hi-Speed USB Color Inkjet Printer. Plus, maybe you need some replacement print cartridges? If so, the Canon PG-243 Black Ink Cartridge Compatible to iP2820 MX492, MG2420, MG2520, MG2920, MG2922, MG2924 MG3020, MG2525, TS3120, TS302, TS202 and TR4520 is a great choice.

And you probably won’t get much written without paper, so get yourself some Amazon Basics Multipurpose Copy Printer Paper.

Need More Writing Info And Advice?

Well, you’re not going to have to decline job offers if your resume and interviews don’t go well.

So let’s start by checking what we’ve found for you to help with that all import resume. Firstly, the Resume Formats book, the Resume Format Guide, How to Write an Amazing IT Resume, Land Your Dream Job: Join the 2% Who Make it Past Resumé Screening, Optimize Your Resume: DOs and DON’Ts the SamNova Way, and the English for Academic CVs, Resumes, and Online Profiles available online in 2023.

Almost everything is digital these days, so get with the times by reading the Marketing Yourself in the Age of Digital: CVs, Applications, Interviews, Social Media, LinkedIn, CVs, Resumes, and LinkedIn: A Guide to Professional English as well as the Expert Resumes and Linkedin Profiles for Managers & Executives.

Last but not least, for your interview skills, check out Amazing Interview Answers: 44 Tough Job Interview Questions with 88 Winning Answers, or maybe the Hiring Squirrels: 12 Essential Interview Questions to Uncover Great Retail Sales Talent to help get you ready!

Final Thoughts

No one wants to decline a potential job offer, but it does happen every now and again. So, just remember to be courteous at all times. That is always the best approach when composing your letter to decline an offer.

As mentioned above, it is your decision but enclosing your reasons is not necessary, especially if they are personal and could possibly offend the interviewer or company. As they always say, never burn bridges in business!

All the very best for the future!

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