How you turn down a job offer reflects on you, and doing it the right way might actually allow you to leave without burning bridges.
People on the look-out for jobs, or looking to switch their present ones, apply to several organisations, in the hope that at least one of them will work out. In such a scenario, when one is presented offers from more than one organisation, they naturally go onto pick the one that best suits their requirement: be it the salary, the job profile, the location, or the growth opportunities in the organisation. However, in this exciting process, one often forgets to rightly turn down the remaining offers on the table. Communication is cut-off abruptly, or they are kept hanging, or worse – the refusal comes days before the joining date. It is important to understand that how you turn down a job offer reflects on you, and doing it the right way comes with its own benefits. So the next time you are faced in such a dilemma, here’s what you should do:
Timeliness is critical
As soon as you have arrived at the decision that you will not be joining an organisation, be sure to communicate this information in a timely manner – and not keep the offer as a 'back up' option. The hiring manager is bound to be frustrated if you turn down the offer a day or two before you join. You do not know the urgency of filling the position in the organisation, and hence, refrain from making commitments early on and abandoning them later. Be prompt, and quick with communication from your side.
Justify your decision
Be honest about the reasons as to why you are not taking the offer, and justify them aptly. You are well within your rights to turn down a job offer – for any reason you deem fit – and you should communicate it sensitively to the organisation. Sometimes, organisations might up the salary or benefits, to encourage you to change your decision, but it is best to stick to your guns, unless of course, the salary was the only factor considered in your decision-making.
Be courteous and appreciative
Be genuine in complimenting the organisation and thank them for the offer as many times as possible. Keep the conversation professional and formal, and do not forget to thank the people who interviewed you. Parting on good and positive terms at this junction, by being honest, and grateful, is critical, for it will not shut the door irrevocably, and keep communication channels open in the future as well.
It is of critical importance that you undertake this conversation over the phone, and not over an email – no matter how comprehensively worded. The talk, of course, will be uncomfortable, but you need to do it that way, and walk away from the offer confidently, not in a stealthy back-door exit. Plan what you are going to say, what reasons you will give, and how you will end the conversation. The person on the other end might try to make you reconsider, but will be appreciative of the clear communication, no doubt.
Offer a reference
If you happen to know a friend, acquaintance or a colleague who could be a potential fit for the role – offer to connect the organisation to them. More often than not, they will take you up on that offer, and this will provide an opportunity for you to turn down the offer without having to part on bad terms. Offer any help you can offer to look for a suitable candidate, and follow-up on that. This will reflect on your capabilities and moral fibre, and might just come back as opportunity for you in the future.
We live in times where landing a single job offer is laudable, but every once in a while we do have to make tough decisions. In such a setting, declining a job offer might seem like a problem you don’t have to worry about – but when you step into those shoes, you won’t have the first clue how to deal with it. Remember, organisations are looking for the best suited candidate, and will look for the next best candidate in case you decide not to join them, provided you let them know timely. So be honest, open, and offer to help. Do not cease communication, or delay official processes. Last of all, be absolutely sure, before you turn down the offer. The only thing worse than declining a job offer is probably going back and asking for it.
Have you ever had to turn down a job offer? How did you do it? Let us know!