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Career Progression

Find advice articles on how to climb the career ladder in your chosen profession.

How to Turn Down a Job Offer

15037597_mSo, you’ve written a professional CV, written a cover letter, attended the job interview and been called back for a second interview. It’s at this stage that you are very likely to be in the final running for the position and, in many cases, will be offered the job. But what do you if you’ve had second thoughts?

It’s unlikely that you’ll want to accept every job that you interview for. Remember, as much as an interview is about the employer finding out about you, it’s also your opportunity to find out about the company and whether you see yourself working there.

Reasons to Turn Down an Offer

There may be plenty of reasons why you feel the job isn’t right for you but some examples could be:

  • Salary offer
  • Company culture
  • Working hours
  • Job responsibilities
  • Growth opportunities
  • Flexibility
  • People

Either way, if a job offer isn’t right for you there is no harm in turning it down. But negotiation is important. So if it’s salary you’re not happy with then why not try negotiating first (see our negotiating salary article for tips on how to do that.) If you are keen on the job and there is only one thing holding you back from accepting it, then it’s important you are honest. Be professional and tell the interviewer your concerns. If you have demonstrated your skills and experience well and have been offered the job, they are unlikely to turn down your counter offer (unless it’s unrealistic).

How Do I Turn It Down?

If you have been honest with the employer and tried your best to negotiate to no avail, then you can turn the job offer down professionally. It’s crucial to think about your next step. Perhaps this role wasn’t right for you but you liked the company. If that’s the case then you may want to apply for other job roles that come up in the organisation so it’s important to end on friendly terms. Here are some examples of what to do if you’re turning down an offer:

  • Email – thank the employer for the opportunity and for taking the time to meet you. Explain that you are unable to accept the job but would like to keep in contact.
  • Phone call – depending on how approachable your interviewer is, call them directly to explain why you cannot accept the job. Be honest with them and they will appreciate the feedback.
  • Letter – thank the employer for their time and ask them to bear you in mind for future positions within the company.

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