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3 Crucial Insider Tips to Declining a Job Offer Without Burning the Bridge

July 21, 2016


Accepting a job offer is easy. But turning down an offer in this competitive marketplace is a difficult task and requires sensitivity and thoughtfulness. You never know when you will cross paths with people and even if you have good intentions, your actions, or lack of, can burn bridges. If you find yourself in a position where you are pulling yourself out of an interview process or declining an offer, keep these 3 essential tips in mind.

  1. Communicate
    A phone call goes a long way. If you really liked the company but the role just wasn’t a fit, you want to leave a lasting impression in the event a new opportunity pops up that is more aligned to what you’re looking for. The worst thing you can do is go dark, meaning you don’t respond to emails or calls, or even delay several days before responding. If you are waiting to respond because you are expecting another offer, tell the employer that you need more time to weigh all your options. If they don’t understand, maybe they aren’t the best fit after all.
  2. Be honest.
    Explain to the employer why the position is not a good fit. This information may also help the employer in the search process. There are the typical reasons such as money, benefits, commute, and hours, but then there are also things people don’t often tell employers such as culture or mission. If you didn’t have a good experience in the interview process with a certain person, find a thoughtful and constructive way to communicate that to someone on their team. Maybe that individual could use the feedback to enhance the experience for the next candidate. Another common reason we see candidates decline an offer is because there is not a clear path for growth. By communicating this to the employer, it may help them see that in order to attract someone of your caliber, they may need to create a stronger strategy or communication plan around growth in the particular role.
  3. Provide referrals.
    Birds of a feather flock together and there’s most likely a good chance you know someone in a similar role to yourself. Maybe you don’t, but could you give the employer an idea of companies to target or networking groups that may be helpful for them to connect with?

When you decline a job offer or interview, you want to do so respectfully. You are a professional after all. By incorporating these three simple, but crucial tactics, you can guarantee you will keep the relationship with the company and the recruiter intact. It’s difficult to say where you, or they, may end up in the future. Be mindful. Be respectful.

Topics: Hiring, Interview, Talent, Talent Aqusition, Uncategorized