How to Decline a Job Offer Politely?

Job hunting is a lot like fishing; there are some small fish that you reject and release back into the water for being too small or for already having scored a bigger catch.
Nevertheless, the fish you release back into the water may grow bigger at some point! So, it’s best if you turn a job down respectfully and politely.
Leaving a good impression gives you a better chance in future job hunts. So, with that in mind, how to decline a job offer without burning bridges?

How to Decline a Job Offer Without Burning Bridges?

Before we dive into the steps of declining an offer, you should always make sure that it’s your final decision.
Whether you’ve already accepted another offer or you believe that the salary isn’t good enough, it’s best if you view all your options and plan ahead for your decision.
Here’s what you need to do:

Fast Response

They’ll be holding that position for you, so it’s best to be prompt and reply as soon as you’ve made up your mind.
They probably have other candidates, but a delayed response can put them in an inconvenient situation. The rule of thumb is to reply within 48 hours of being offered the position.

Expressing Gratitude

Searching for suitable candidates is a hassle for any company. The recruiting team made a lot of effort to make sure they picked the best candidate.
Declining the job offer means they’ll probably need to go through the candidates again to pick a replacement. So, you should express your gratitude for being offered that position.
Starting the email with a thank you is a great idea, and a special thank you to the recruiting team would be a nice addition to your email. After all, they believed you deserve that position over other candidates.
For instance, here are some examples:
  • Thank you so much for considering me for this position.
  • I appreciate you being generous enough to offer me this position.
  • It’s an honor to consider me for (the position).

Breaking the News

To avoid any misunderstanding, you should be clear and direct when turning down the offer. For example:
  • However, it’s with regret that I’ve made the decision to decline your offer.
  • After clear consideration, I’m sad to say that I will turn down your offer.
  • After much deliberation, I’m afraid I will not be accepting your offer.

The Reasons Behind Your Decision

It’s best to state your reasons in your rejection letter. It doesn’t matter how vague they might be; you don’t have to go into details.
Whether it’s salary expectations, your career goals, or you’ve accepted a better offer elsewhere, providing a reason is a good idea.
You don’t have to be detailed; stating your reasons clearly and briefly is enough.
It might even lead to getting a better offer or keep you in mind if a better position is available, especially if you show interest in working for that company, not the offered role specifically.
On the other hand, mentioning negative or silly reasons might be a bad idea. It’ll only make you sound pretentious and unappreciative.
Here are some examples to help you out:
  • Unfortunately, we’re so far apart salary-wise.
  • I’ve received another offer that I believe is a closer fit for my career.
  • I’ve decided to accept a position in another company.

Leave a Door Open

Another reason you should consider your manners when declining a job offer is negotiation.
While you may have already set your mind on declining the job, hiring managers are often flexible. They may respond with a counteroffer that might just be suitable for you.
In addition to that, maybe in the near future, you’ll be hunting for new jobs again, and that company may offer you a more prominent position.

Email vs. Phone Call: Which Way Is Best?

Now that you’ve decided on what to say when declining the job, the next thing to figure out is how to say it.
Either by phone or e-mail, the method of declining is almost as important as the phrasing. The general rule of thumb is to respond in the same method the hiring manager used to extend the offer.
You should also put your own comfort into consideration. If phone calls fill you with anxiety, don’t sweat it; it’s perfectly okay to send an email instead. If you prefer to get it over with, then a quick call would do the job.

How to Decline a Job Offer via Email?

A job rejection email is just like any formal email. You should keep it short and to the point. For example:
‘Jan 1, 2022
John Doe
(City, State, Zip Code)
(Contact Info)
Dear Mr (Hiring Manager),
I’d like to thank you for your generous offer to work as (the offered position) in (the company’s name), It’s an honor to consider me for that position.
As much as I would’ve appreciated working with you, I’m afraid I will not be accepting your offer.
I have decided to accept another position that is more suitable for my career aspirations.
I’d like to thank you again for your consideration. Furthermore, I wish you all the best and hope we cross paths again.
John Doe’


Turning down a job offer should be done within the first 48 hours after receiving it, or as soon as you’ve made up your mind. You should make sure that your decision is final before responding.
Whether you choose to do this over the phone or via email, you should show your appreciation and gratitude for being offered that position.
It’s crucial to clearly state that you’ll be declining the offer to avoid any misunderstanding. You should provide them with a brief reason for why you’ve declined their offer, be honest but don’t mention negative reasons.
Ending your email or phone call with a thank you and an open door to hopefully cross paths again will leave a good impression.