How To Reject A Job Offer Without Burning Bridges

How To Reject A Job Offer Without Burning Bridges was originally published on Ivy Exec.

Getting a job offer is worth celebrating, but not all the time. The employer may decide to post you in an unfavorable location or offer a salary that doesn’t meet your expectations. You may also get a better job while awaiting a response from other recruiters.

Rejecting a job offer can be nerve-wracking regardless of why you don’t find the position suitable. You don’t want to offend the employer, but at the same time, you want to avoid settling for something that isn’t ideal.

If you are wondering how to go about this issue without burning bridges, we have some tips.


☑ Act Quickly

Employers often face a time crunch when filling open positions. The longer they take, the more resources they waste. Act quickly if you receive a job offer and can no longer take it. Inform the recruiter about your decision within a day or two at most.

Responding to a job offer swiftly allows the potential employer to consider other candidates. It shows professionalism and respect for the hiring process. Acting quickly after unsuccessfully negotiating for better incentives will also prove that you know your value.

Pondering over a job offer can be pretty stressful. If you try to keep your options open, hoping for a better deal, you won’t be able to focus on other opportunities. Reject job offers quickly to avoid stress and maintain good relationships. Once you send your response, you can consider other positions with an open mind.


☑ Choose How You Want to Respond

Expressing your thoughts in writing can sometimes be challenging. The tone of the message may be unclear and confuse the recipient. If you want to explain a particular reason for not taking a job, it’s better to do it over the phone.

Call the company and ask to speak to the hiring manager or employer. Tell them you appreciate their offer and are glad they picked you for the job. After that, mention that you will not take it and give them a reason. You don’t have to go into much detail, but it’s good for the employer to have a clue of why you declined their offer.

Phone calls allow you to convey things that may get lost in written communication. They give you a personal and direct channel for expressing your gratitude and sincerity. With a phone call, you can determine how the potential employer took your message based on their tone. You will also improve the chances of maintaining a good relationship.

While phone calls are ideal for rejecting job offers, they aren’t always the best option. You may be better at expressing yourself in writing rather than speaking. Besides, the employer may be unavailable to talk when you want to respond.

In such cases, rejecting a job offer via email would be better. Keep the message short and ensure it’s polite and professional. Read it out loud and look at it from the employer’s perspective. If you can, send it to a friend and ask for their opinion on making it more assertive.


☑ Don’t Be Negative About the Company or Employer

Your interactions with an employer might be the reason you reject their job offer. If you found some of their questions during an interview offensive, you might be unwilling to work with them. You may also find out something you don’t like about the firm or workplace in general.

Even if you have something negative to say about a company or employer, it’s better not to if you don’t want to burn bridges. Their values and opinions may not align with yours, but you could still benefit from a good relationship.

Focus on positive things to come up with a polite response to the job offer. Highlight the things you liked about the firm and the job interview process. You may also talk about how their work or ongoing projects impressed you.

Using neutral language will prevent you from offending employees when turning down a job offer. Express your needs instead of listing the negative aspects that drive your decision. Mention how the role doesn’t currently meet your expectations or career goals.

If you reject a job because you have another offer on the table, it’s unnecessary to mention it. Discussing why you chose a different firm may imply that you think less of the other company. Focus on the matters that influenced your decision without mentioning why you accepted a different offer.

When you turn down a job offer while being positive about it, you won’t burn bridges. You reassure the employer that your decision wasn’t due to their shortcomings.


☑ Offer to Stay in Touch

If an employer offers a job, they believe in you and your expertise. They see you as someone who can add value to their brand and blend well with other employees.

When rejecting a job offer, let the employer know you are open to keeping in touch. Maintain a positive connection by adding them to your LinkedIn network. Invite them to networking events, especially if you are the host or keynote speaker.

While preserving contact with employers after turning them down is vital, you should also offer value. Don’t be just another potential hire they talk to occasionally. Engage them in stimulating conversations about trends in your industry.

Ask for their opinions on recent economic changes and news. Applaud the employer for their achievements and inform them about your recent accomplishments.

Here are other ways to engage an employer after rejecting a job offer:

  • Attend industry events they host or sponsor
  • Refer other candidates
  • Mention the company’s recent developments during interactions
  • Engage with their content on social media

Staying in touch with potential employers helps you keep doors open. It allows you to continue learning from them, and you can make them part of your professional network. Maintaining contact with them also leaves room for future collaboration.


Don’t Sabotage Professional Relationships

Rejecting a job offer reflects your commitment to your needs and career goals. While turning down an offer is difficult, it’s sometimes necessary for growth.

Maintain good relationships by not criticizing the employer or their brand. Expand your network by engaging them frequently and seeking their guidance.

Explore our blog for more job search insights.

By Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec is your dedicated career development resource.