I believe all of you would agree that the economy is tough…and many job seekers would probably feel lucky to receive any job offer.  But what if you receive a job offer that doesn’t align with your career goals?

Or what if you receive multiple job offers and therefore have to decline one (or more)?  Do you know what the etiquette is for declining a job offer?

First of all, do not procrastinate relaying your decision to the hiring manager.  I get it, having these discussions are tough, but you need to consider the hiring manager and company.  They have a need to fill and therefore will need to extend your declined offer to someone else.  So be timely and don’t hold up the process.

Secondly, be considerate in how you deliver your decision.  Regardless of your interview experience, be gracious and thank the hiring manager and his team for taking the time to interview you.  It is important to put your thoughts in writing, however I always recommend you make a phone call to the hiring manager prior to sending that decline email.

Thirdly, tell the hiring manager why you are declining the offer…but don’t provide inappropriate detail.  I recommend you avoid going into the specific reasons as to why you are accepting another offer.  In many cases, I think it is sufficient to just state that you are accepting an offer which better aligns with your current career goals and interests and leave it at that.

This important for a couple of reasons.  First, you don’t want to burn any bridges with this hiring manager or company.  Perhaps this particular position doesn’t align with your career goals now, but another position may fit perfectly at a later time.  Additionally, it is a small world and the hiring manager at this company may be the hiring manager at a different company in the future.  Heck, he could be your manager someday (or you his!)  Build relationships and rapport instead of burning bridges.

Lastly, show you care.  Make sure you remember to wish the hiring manager and the company continued success.

Here is a quick sample email declining a job offer:

Dear Tom,

Thank you very much for offering me the position of Senior Clinical Research Associate at craresources.  I am honored you and your organization have found interest in me.  

While I firmly believe in the mission of craresources and appreciate the challenging opportunity you have offered, I have received another offer which I believe more closely aligns with my current career goals and interests.  This has been a difficult decision for me, but unfortunately I am going to respectfully decline your generous offer. 

I have appreciated the time you and the craresources’ team have spent with me.  I wish you and craresources much future success and do hope our paths will cross again. 


Jane Goodman

Investing in a Lifetime of Success,

Angela Roberts


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