Friday, June 24, 2011

Be Professional When Turning Down a Job Offer

The interview process is complete, and your qualifications and experience are exactly what the hiring manager is looking for. A job offer is extended. But there’s one problem; you’ve decided it is not the right job for you. How do you graciously and professionally turn down the offer and still keep the door open—even just a crack—to future opportunities in case circumstances change.

Carefully Consider Your Decision

Before declining a job offer, make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. Carefully weigh the pros and cons and consider all aspects of the offer. Maybe even discuss the matter with someone whose opinion you value. If you decide to decline based largely on one aspect of the offer, have you thought about whether this point might be negotiable? Remember, once you decline an offer, there is no backtracking.

Declining Professionally

Once you’ve concluded that you need to decline a job offer, do so with the utmost professionalism. Reply promptly—first by phone and then by mailing a formal written communication. Both notifications can be brief but should include the following:

· A gracious thank you to the appropriate company contact(s)

· An acknowledgement that you’ve given the offer careful consideration

· Your decision to decline the offer and, optionally, your reason(s) for declining

There is no right or wrong answer about providing a specific reason for declining the offer. In some cases it may be better to simply state that you’ve decided the job is not the best fit. If you wish to provide a specific reason, don’t share details that could be construed as insulting or could cause company representatives to feel defensive. For example, don’t say you didn’t like the manager or people you would be working with or that you’ve accepted a better offer that is providing a higher salary and/or better benefits.

Always remember, the goal when declining any job offer is to do so in a way that enables you to maintain a professional reputation.

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