Declining a job offer with grace is important.
Knowing how to decline a job offer without offending your interviewer can have unforeseen benefits to you down the road, so do it with care and thoughtfulness.
It’s okay to decline a job offer for any reason or for no reason except that it just doesn’t feel like the right fit.
Prospective employers don’t want you working for them if your heart isn’t in it, so don’t feel badly about turning down a position.
Just do it with tact, and try to leave the door open for future employment, just in case.
Handling prospective employers with tact is more crucial than ever. Thanks to boom in social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, you never know when you might run across someone who interviewed you in the past. The person who offers you a less-than-desirable job today may be in a position to offer you your dream career tomorrow.
Avoid burning your bridges when turning down a job offer
You don’t want to burn any bridges while job seeking. You could turn down one job in favor of another one that you are certain will be your lifelong career, and end up back on the street tomorrow in today’s job climate, so be smart and decline a job offer with professionalism.
Honesty in job-seeking, as with all of life’s challenges, is the best policy. You don’t have to spill the beans about every potential future employer with your interviewer, but don’t deliberately mislead them, either.
Prepare for questions about whether you are interviewing elsewhere in advance, and don’t lead a potential employer down a long and expensive path without informing them that you are considering other options. Likewise, don’t play hard-to-get and overstate your prospects, because that could backfire.
Simply follow each job lead through to its natural conclusion to the best of your ability, and be prepared to decline a job offer that is less than ideal with ideal grace. The way to decline a job offer with your professional reputation intact is to leave the rebuffed party with their dignity.
Never accept an offer if you know you might renege when a better job comes along if you can help it. That said, be prepared to help your interviewer if this situation arises. You probably have acquaintances with skills similar to yours who are either looking for employment or who would move for the right offer.
Contact them and ask if you can give their names to interviewers who might be a better match for them than for you, and keep their contact information on hand as a bone to throw someone whose job offer you refuse.
Be ready with honest words of praise before declining a job offer, and try to leave the door open. Tell the interviewer what you liked about their firm, but that another job was just a better fit for you. Never make the mistake of divulging salary or other proprietary information. The company you reject will hear about it if you do.
When you know that you definitely plan to reject the offer, don’t delay. Give the company as much time to find another candidate as possible, and offer them the other names you prepared in advance, if you think they are a good company.
Apologize sincerely for any inconvenience, and if it’s appropriate, try to maintain the interviewer in your professional network for the future.