How to decline a job offer (with examples)

How to decline a job offer (with examples)
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 19 April, 2024

At some point in your career, you might encounter a situation where the terms of a job offer don't meet your expectations or the role isn't quite the right fit. It's in these moments that understanding how to turn down a job offer politely becomes crucial.   

This article aims to guide you through the process of how to politely decline job offers, equipping you with the language and approach needed to communicate your decision effectively. We will provide you with actionable advice and sample messages to help you navigate this delicate conversation with professionalism and courtesy.  

Some Considerations Before Declining a Job Offer  

rejecting a job offer

Before you proceed with turning down a job offer, it's essential to weigh your decision carefully. There may be several factors influencing your choice, and it's important to assess them thoroughly to ensure you are making an informed and considered decision. Reflect on the job's alignment with your career goals, the compensation package, the company culture, and the potential for professional growth.    

It's also wise to consider the timing of your decision. Acting hastily could lead to regret, so give yourself the space to evaluate the offer comprehensively. Ask yourself if the reasons for declining are temporary or if they signify deeper misalignments with your career path. This careful consideration is the foundation of how to respectfully decline an offer, as it allows you to communicate your decision with clarity and conviction to your potential employer.  

Personal and career goals  

The most important factor to consider is whether the job being offered aligns with the goals you have set for yourself and your career. Does the position actually interest you? Do you think you will be motivated and engaged? Will it help you fulfill the higher purpose that you have chosen for yourself?  

Keep in mind that the job you will accept will take up a significant portion of your time. If at the get-go, you already feel off about saying yes, then perhaps you are better off looking somewhere else.     

Compensation and benefits  

High inflation is causing the cost of living to skyrocket all over the world, which is why job seekers are on the lookout for future opportunities with higher compensation and benefit packages.   

If the job offer you received falls short of your requirements (or desires), then that should already be a cause for pause. A salary deduction is not normally seen as career progression after all.   It is completely normal to decline a job offer because the promised compensation was lower than expected.    

Location and commute  

Another consideration to keep in mind is the basic logistics of the job being offered to you, foremost of which is the location of the office or worksite and the length of your commute.    

How much time, money, and effort would you need just to travel to and from the job? Do the work hours demand that you rent an apartment or bed space nearby? Can you carpool with colleagues? Job seekers should take these things in consideration, given how bad the traffic can be in Metro Manila.  If accepting the job means spending so much time and energy commuting, then you might as well continue with your job search.     

Job responsibilities and growth opportunities  

You should also base your decision on the amount of work that you expect to take on. For instance, a potential employer might say that you’ll be expected to render overtime to meet deadlines. Is such an arrangement acceptable to you?    

Some may not appreciate the inconsistent hours and possible lack of work-life balance. Others however may see this as a challenge worth taking because of the potential growth opportunities that may come with such a demanding job.    

In the end, what matters is that you are not blindsided by the company looking to hire you. So that if ever you do accept their offer, you would be doing so with full knowledge and with full consent for the parameters.    

Company culture and values  

In recent years, job seekers have started to think more about the greater impact companies have on their respective communities and about the culture and values they espouse. This comes with the belief that the kind of work you do should ultimately represent or resonate with the kind of person you are or want to be.    

Research for Jobstreet showed that more than 50 percent of respondents from the Philippines said that they would actually refuse to work for employers that do not align with their beliefs, specifically on environmental responsibility and diversity and inclusion.    

As a job seeker, try to learn about a company’s culture and values by digging a little deeper and asking a few probing questions. Get insights from the people who work for the company about how it is to work there.   

The best time to find out more about a company’s culture and values is during the interview process, specifically when an interviewer or a hiring manager asks if you have any questions. If you do not jibe with the company culture, then do yourself a favor by declining the job offer.   

Crafting a Polite Rejection Message  

man typing on laptop

When you've made the decision to decline, knowing how to properly decline a job offer through a well-crafted message is key. Your communication should convey appreciation for the job opportunity while also firmly stating your decision to not move forward. Begin your message by expressing gratitude for the offer and the time invested by the hiring team. Then, transition into your decision, ensuring you remain both clear and diplomatic.  

In this delicate process, be concise yet sincere—there's no need for over-explanation. It is enough to say that you've given the offer considerable thought and have decided it's not the right fit at this time.  

Thanking the employer for the opportunity  

Your message should clearly express your gratitude for being considered for the job opening. Emphasize your appreciation for the time and effort they spent on interviewing you.  

Keeping the message honest, direct, and professional  

As a rule of thumb, try to be as honest and as direct as possible. Flowery and long-winded language might confuse the reader. This could leave them with a bad impression of you.    

In contrast, writing something sincere and straight to the point ensures that the recruiter has a clear understanding of your reasons for declining. What is essential is that your message remains professional and not overly personal.  

Offering to keep in touch and remaining open to future possibilities  

Ensuring the politeness of your message could also keep the door open for you in case other positions open. Expressing your willingness to remain in their database of leads already gives you a leg up. You may want to indicate your contact information–such as your cellphone number and email address–or even include a link to your Jobstreet profile.    

Samples of rejection messages  

If at this point you’re still finding it difficult to craft your rejection message, here are some sample messages that you could revise according to your preferences.   

If the job isn't a good fit  

Note that sometimes there are several factors that make a job a bad fit for you. It’s possible that if considered individually, these factors may not be such a big deal. But when they come simultaneously, their negative effects pile up, rendering the job opening completely unfavorable for you. With that said, it would be good to list down these factors and explain how they figured into their decision-making process.    

“Dear Mr. Recruiter,   

Thank you for your offer. I appreciate the opportunity to have been considered for the [X] position. Through your time and effort, I learned a lot about [Name of Company], the work culture it seeks to espouse, and the ambitious goals it wants to achieve.    

After much consideration, I have decided to decline your job offer as the salary and compensation package do not align with my personal goals. While on paper it is higher than what I am currently receiving, I calculated that it would be disadvantageous for me because my travel and transportation expenses to and from the worksite would be significantly higher. The work-hours would also be too heavy for me, considering that my commute to work would already eat up a lot of time each day. All these have contributed to my decision to decline your offer.”    

If a better offer came along  

It would be courteous and professional to inform the recruiter that you had already said “yes” to someone else. But remember that you have no obligation to explain your reasons in detail. The portion of your message about this may read as follows:    

“...However, I respectfully decline your job offer. Prior to your email to me, I had already accepted another job opening. After weighing the options, I decided that the offer from the other company was closer to my expectations.”    

If personal reasons got in the way   

No matter how well you researched the company and prepared for the hiring process, unforeseen situations can come up. Family emergencies, mental and physical health issues, accidents, etc.      

These are valid reasons for you to decline a job offer. Again, you are under no obligation to fully explain your personal reasons for saying “no.” In fact, your rejection message could be as short as follows:  “....Unfortunately, I have decided to decline your job offer for personal reasons. A family emergency had suddenly emerged, which I need to tend to immediately. I hope that when the time comes I could still be considered for another opening in [Name of Company].”    

Tips for Turning Down a Job Offer in Person  

While declining a job offer via email is common, there may be situations where you have to decline a job offer in person. This can be more challenging, but it also provides an opportunity to leave a strong impression of professionalism and respect. Here are some tips to help you navigate the conversation to decline a job offer:  

  1. Request a private meeting to ensure the conversation remains confidential and doesn't put either party in an awkward public situation.  
  2. Express your gratitude and appreciation for your recruiter’s time and effort.   
  3. Being respectful and courteous on paper is very similar to doing so when face-to-face. Ultimately, respect and courtesy demand you to be more thoughtful and deliberate about the words you use–a skill that can be honed and improved through time and practice.   
  4. Unless warranted or requested by the recruiter themselves, negative comments or criticisms about the hiring process or the company itself should be avoided.    
  5. Just as you would want your written rejection message to keep the doors of opportunity open to you, so should your face-to-face rejection include an expression of your willingness to still be considered for future job openings.  


Mastering how to respectfully decline an offer is an invaluable skill in your career toolkit. Whether you're turning down a job offer for personal reasons, salary constraints, or because another opportunity aligns better with your career objectives, the way you handle the rejection speaks volumes about your professionalism.    

Employing the tips and examples discussed can guide you through crafting a message that is considerate and to the point. Remember, declining a job offer is about balancing honesty with tactfulness. It's about fostering a positive, lasting impression that could open doors in the future. So take these lessons, apply them with confidence, and you'll navigate these conversations with grace and ease.  


  1. How long should I wait before declining a job offer?
    ⁠Although one should take the time to weigh and think about many considerations, once you have made a decision, you should communicate to the people involved in the fastest time possible. Because the more you delay giving them a clear answer, the more the work becomes more burdensome for the recruiters.   ⁠  
  2. Should I explain why I'm declining the offer? ⁠  
    ⁠That really depends on your reasons for declining. Generally, if your reasons concern things that the company can change or improve upon, then it would be preferable for you to give them an explanation. But when more personal reasons are concerned, it’s best to keep them private.  ⁠ 
  3. How do I decline a job offer without burning bridges? ⁠  
    ⁠You can say “no” to a job offer, without resorting to needless insults or criticisms. Keep in mind: deliver your rejection message in an honest, sincere, and clear way.   
  4. Should I feel bad about turning down a job offer?  
    ⁠Trust yourself. If you know that this job isn't the one, or you're not happy with what they're offering, say so. You have to be your biggest defender and take care of yourself.  
  5. What if you accept a job offer and then back out?  
    ⁠Turning down a job offer after you have already accepted it can be an uncomfortable experience. However, as long as you have not signed an employment contract with the company, you are legally allowed to change your mind.  

Download the JobStreet app on Google Play or App Store, and visit Career Advice for work insights that you can use.  

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