How To Decline A Job Offer

Woman declining a job offer

It's easy to get excited when an employer is interested in you, especially when you haven't had any luck getting interviews or job offers. But what if the job proposal isn't a good fit for you? How do you decline a job offer?

Some of you might be thinking, "Decline a job offer? Why would I do that?"

Here are some of the reasons why you should reject potential employment:

Reason #1: It Doesn't Feel Right

"You are a company," says professional development coach and facilitator Henrieta Riesco. When you're looking for a job or being offered a job, what the company is looking for is what Riesco calls, a mutual benefit.

For companies, it's important to find ways to be a better company, and as a job seeker, you have to adapt to that same mindset.

The ultimate goal for your "company" (you) is to thrive and excel at your professional talents. If the job description doesn't make you feel like your company can progress, then it probably isn't a good idea to take the job.

Reason #2: Your Values Don't Align With The Company

Serious man thinks about declining a job offer


It's one thing to say a job position doesn't feel right. It's another thing entirely when your professional values are not in line with the company at all.

Riesco uses the following analogy when describing why having mutual values with a company matters.

Let's say you're a person who's an advocate for preserving the environment and the company that's really interested in you is an oil company. That probably doesn't align with your values if you're an environmentalist. In fact, you probably never should've applied for the job in the first place, and you could have avoided wasting time on this employer if you had made an interview bucket list.

"You have to look at the bigger picture of the company and really find out if you want to support that," says Riesco.

Reason #3: The Employer Wants To Exploit Your Skills

Hiring manager talks to a job candidate during a job interview


This might be a no-brainer for some, but it's important to point out because when an employer wants to exploit your skills, rather than use them in a way where you're still comfortable practicing those skills and enjoying them, then the job is no longer about how you can benefit yourself and the company with your professional abilities.

Rather, the job becomes something only your employer controls, and exploiting your talents is how they choose to use your expertise.

Declining The Job Offer

Serious man on laptop holds his phone as he declines a job offer


So, how does one reject an unwanted job offer?

Riesco states that when it comes to rejecting a position, you have to think about that mutual benefit between yourself and the employer.

"Tell the employer why you don't see a match," says Riesco. "State the possibilities, areas, and interests you have right now," and explain why it doesn't match with their company.

By talking about the things you have to offer, you allow the employer to get a clearer sense of who you are as a professional and what you can provide for the company.

It also clears up any misunderstandings about the position. By highlighting your concerns, the employer could clear things up in case you got the wrong idea.

In addition, crafting a rejection that allows an employer to respond is also key when declining a job offer. It shows that you don't want to burn any bridges.

We can do this by saying the things we would want to hear from an employer when rejecting us for a position. "Treat others how you want to be treated," says Riesco.

Nowadays, a lot of employers who aren't interested in certain candidates don't even take the time to respond to them. This is not the way you want to handle your rejections. Really think about the things you want to express about the position and why you feel it isn't a good fit.

Be honest and authentic.

Emphasizing that the position isn't right for you at this time is also something you want to make sure you include in your rejection.

"I would love to keep in touch with you and would love to know what other opportunities you would have in the future," are some good things to say to keep that connection with the employer, according to Riesco.

This shows that you're not rejecting the company entirely by declining the position, and hopefully, sometime in the future, you could contact that employer and see if you'd be a better fit for the company at that point in time.

It's never an easy decision to decline a job offer, especially when you've been struggling to get hired. By following these tips, you'll make sure you don't accept a job offer for a position you don't really want.

Nothing is worse than accepting a job offer and then realizing a few weeks in that you've made a huge mistake!

When the job feels right, you'll know.

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This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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