How to politely decline a job offer

25 March, 2020

So you’ve been through the recruitment process for a job that turned out to be not as you expected. You’ve been offered the position and you’re not quite sure how to turn them down without burning any bridges.

Maintaining relationships throughout your career is so important as most of the time it will end up benefiting you in your future career. It’s important to know how to decline a job offer whilst keep the door open for future opportunities.

Here’s how to politely decline a job offer.

It’s important to start by acknowledging to yourself why you are declining the offer. Have you written a list of what you are after in a job? Refer to it. Does this job offer neglect your non-negotiables on the list? A common wish list for a new job may include the following categories

– Salary

– Commute to and from

– The potential to excel

– The potential to develop skills

– The company culture

If this job offer isn’t ticking off your list, it may be smart to reconsider accepting. It can be difficult to say no to an offer, especially when you’ve been through the interview process. However, it is okay to decline and move on to another opportunity. 

Remember to stay professional and polite

The first thing to remember about declining a job offer is professionalism. Be respectful as many industries can be small in Australia, so you don’t want to damage relationships. Just think, the person hiring you may be a boss or client at some point.

When you respond to their offer, begin by being clear as to why the job is not a good fit for you. Be sure to thank them for their time, after all, they were invested in you.

Understand that the employer may ask for more details as to why you are declining

Remember, most people offering a job do not expect to be rejected. Understand that they may be taken aback. Don’t feel compelled to go into detail as to why you are declining their offer unless you wish to negotiate the conditions of the offer.

Should I decline a job by email or phone?

A phone conversation is always appreciated however if you don’t feel confident enough to do so, make sure your email is professional. Below is an example of an email template courtesy of

Dear <Hiring Manager Name>,

Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me for the role of <Job Title>. It was a pleasure to meet with you and learn more about the team and the organisation.

However, after much consideration I have decided to decline the offer as I don’t feel it’s the right opportunity for me at this point in my career.

Thank you again for the opportunity and I hope that we cross paths again in the future.

Kind regards,

<Your Full Name>