In the current labour market, employers are more likely to make a job offer today than they were several years ago. If you are carrying out your job search actively and you submit consistently good applications, the chances are you will be invited to several interviews.
But what happens if you are offered more than one job, or you change your mind about a position you have been offered?
Here’s how to craft a gracious “thanks but no thanks.”
Step by step
Our advice would be to take a sensible approach: draft an email or letter (either is fine) but before you send it, call the person who interviewed you and let them know your decision by phone. This demonstrates professionalism and shows that you care how much effort they put in selecting you.
The first point is about politeness really. Don't sit on a decision for days, or hold off deciding on one company over another because you're nervous about saying ‘no’ to one of them.
As an employer we know it’s best to receive a quick rejection rather than wait days or even weeks to receive a response.
Say ‘Thank You’
Thank all the people you interviewed with and wish them and their company continued success.
Ideally, pick something specific to thank them for, so your comment doesn't come across as overly generic. For example, if you asked a lot of questions relating to the role and they answered all of those candidly and in detail, you could mention that.
You may be hesitant to explain why you’re turning the job down, but doing so will keep the company from wondering what went wrong, and may even help them improve their hiring process moving forward. Be careful with what exactly you share, though. Some useful examples may include:
- After much thought, I’ve decided that now is not the best time to leave my current position.
- While this position seems like a great opportunity, I have decided to accept another role that will offer me more opportunities to pursue my interests in marketing and social media.
Finish by Leaving the Door Open
Try to be positive throughout. Many industries are a small world, so you don’t want to burn any bridges by being negative. When declining a job offer, tell the company that you look forward to running into them or seeing them in the future. This point is especially important if things should go wrong at the company where you’ve accepted work.
Declining a job offer will never be something that anyone will look forward to. But, fortunately, there is a way that you can handle it politely and professionally. Whatever you decide, honesty is always the best policy.