How to Gracefully Turn Down a Job Without Burning Any Bridges

Finding a New Job | October 2nd, 2019

Receiving a job offer can be a flattering experience; however, there are occasions when the offer isn’t one you want to accept.

Whatever the reason(s), if you choose to turn down an offer, then you ought to do so politely and provide an explanation. Any decent company should be concerned about a rejected job offer and should want to understand why the offer was rejected. Your tone and explanation will affect your reputation with the company moving forward.

Don’t think you won’t ever want to work there. The job market changes quickly and can shrink in an instant. Also, you never know if you will cross paths with someone from this company down the road. Even though you may feel like you’re in the driver’s seat right now, the way you handle this situation can have a serious impact on your career moving forward.

Take a Business-Minded Approach

When you have to turn down a job offer, it helps to think of yourself as a business-of-one: You need to do what’s best to keep ‘you’ in business. This mindset can help you see things pragmatically and even from the employer’s point of view.

For instance, if you know there won’t be much opportunity to advance, you can approach the employer with the idea that you are at a point in your career where you need to grow. You can explain that a lack of growth might cause you to disengage and become unproductive, which the employer obviously wouldn’t want.

Consider Using the Phone

Sure, rejecting a job offer is an awkward situation and it would be easier to just fire off a polite, professional email. However, rejecting an offer over the phone helps you to come across as sincere and thoughtful. You’re also more likely to walk away from the situation having earned the respect of the other party.

Keep It Simple

It’s easy to overthink something as awkward as turning down a job offer. However, the reality is you would truly need to go out of your way to outrage a hiring manager by turning down a job. For most hiring managers, the frustration of having an offer rejected rarely turns to animosity, especially when the application deals with the situation professionally.

Therefore, it’s best to keep it simple. Don’t overcompensate for the awkwardness by saying too much and making things even more awkward.

Keep It Honest

By honestly outlining the reason behind your rejection while expressing gratitude, you can make the rejection easier for the other person to swallow.

Also, if you’re open to it, honesty is an effective way to get an appealing counteroffer. If your reasons for rejection can be addressed, you may want to reconsider your decision.

Let Us Connect You to High-Quality Employment Opportunities

At ZDA, we can connect you to high-quality career opportunities, increasing your chances of getting a job offer you’ll want to accept. Please contact us today to learn more about the supply chain career opportunities we currently have available.

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