6 Tips for Declining a Job Offer You Just Accepted

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Jessica DaySenior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad

Monday, June 20, 2022

Getting a fair job offer can seem like a challenge these days. What’s even more difficult, though, is declining one. Regardless of your reason, saying ‘no’ to a job offer you just accepted is a task that’s likely to leave many bridges burned and that’s fraught with complications.

Article 7 Minutes
6 Tips for Declining a Job Offer You Just Accepted

It could be that you find yourself conflicted between two job offers, or sometimes it’s the realization that you won’t be motivated at said job. Perhaps a personal reason has come up that’s forced your hand. Maybe you accepted the job offer because it was remote work, but then remembered the remote work-related fatigue you suffered last year, along with the hassle of having to use a bunch of team-collaboration software, and time management tools.

Whatever your reason, refusing the offer politely and in a timely manner will benefit both sides and help fortify your reputation. For example, companies like Talkdesk have frequent openings in customer service positions. They’re a human resource-centric organization, so to accept an offer and not take it up would land them in a pickle. This is a delicate situation and needs to be handled as such.

Follow the six suggestions below to help you turn down a job offer in the most tactful way possible. Instead of burning bridges, future avenues might even remain open for your professional career within the organization.

1. Convey your rejection appropriately

Choosing the correct method to deliver your refusal is key to an eloquent rejection. Often, it’s best to follow in the organization’s footsteps. For instance, if the HR manager initially offered you the job via call, then picking up the phone to decline is fitting.

However, primarily, you should use the medium that is most comfortable for you. While convenience takes a back seat here, we recommend you communicate your thoughts using the method that will reflect your confidence best.

For some, a simple email may suffice, but if you feel it’s optimal to sit down with the manager in person, so be it. If you decide to convey the rejection on the phone, read up on phone sales tips. You need to sell your rejection. The employer needs to be on your side after hearing you out. 

Lastly, be mindful of the communication hierarchy. Calling the company displays a sense of professionalism that an email doesn’t. Even better would be to meet up with the manager, showing grace and thoughtfulness.

You can go the extra mile by reaching out to everyone you met during the hiring process and make them aware of your resolution. This will improve feedback about you even if the hiring manager is resentful.

It’s important to note that avoiding the email route will prove you’re responsible and tactful.

2. Show your gratitude

A company goes through several hoops and hurdles to develop the hiring process and streamline it. This requires both monetary investments, like paying for the job advert to be listed, and non-monetary investments like the manager’s time, effort, and energy. Organizations go out of their way to attract new talent, and you need to respect this.

When you turn down an accepted job, you reset the entire process. The company will need to go through it all again, resulting in the same resources being invested once more; ergo, it’s your moral responsibility to express thankfulness to the organization.

Let your humility take center stage. Appreciate the organization’s efforts, and praise them for entrusting you with this opportunity over other applicants. Mention promising attributes of the company to soften the blow. Personally thank the HR/hiring manager for their decision and faith in you.

You never know when you might cross paths with someone from that organization, so. showing basic courtesy in your refusal will keep your reputation and relationship intact. Not showing gratitude, on the other hand, will create a poor white-collar image for you.

Hence, always be thankful to the organization for considering you.

3. Be precise yet brief

You need to be respectfully explicit with your refusal. Don’t rattle on for too long about irrelevant things that are of no importance. After thanking the organization and hiring manager, quickly transition to what you want to say. Clearly state that you’re declining the job offer and are certain about it. Don’t introduce elements that cloud the decision or confuse the manager.

Explain your reasoning in a summarized manner, leaving out details that are not vital. Establish a narrative that displays your strong decision-making. Be straightforward with your words, so the hirer can’t unfavorably decipher your message. If you’re there in person or on a call, don’t leave the conversation open-ended, and be clear about your decision.

4. Be sincere

To be truly sincere to someone who expects you to report to work, tell them as soon as possible. This gives them time to restart the hiring process and not be without a necessary resource for long.

It’s unlikely the employer will expect you to turn down the offer once you’ve accepted it. They found you the most suitable for the job, and they think you share the same sentiment. Thus, when you do disappoint them with the news, they deserve to know the reason. Being honest and upfront is the right thing to do.

Explain why you declined the offer in a brief manner, focusing only on the things that will persuade the employer into believing it was the right decision. Don’t dive deep into the personal details; instead, float on the surface with the specifics that bolster your story.

It would be unwise to tell them the perks of the job you accepted instead of theirs. For instance, if you’ve taken a remote telemarketing offer, where you’ll be getting paid more, have better health insurance, and the facility to work from home. These are details you could and should forego.

It would be counterintuitive to make the organization feel like they’re not worth your time. Remember to be considerate of the employer in your reasoning, even if it’s at the expense of some honesty. A little diplomacy goes a long way.

5. Recommend a suitable candidate

More often than not, you won’t know another person who would be as good a fit as you for the job. If you’re lucky and do know someone else, then a referral is a great idea. It will show you’re considerate enough not to leave the organization hanging in the wake of your refusal to join them.

You’ll be making a statement that shows you understand the struggle that goes into selecting an applicant, while saving the company from the hassle of restarting the recruiting process. They might not hire them, but your kind gesture will go a long way.

Not to mention, the recommendation may earn your referral an exciting new career opportunity. Suggesting referrals also exhibits a fondness for the organization, which can help you later in your career if you come back to the organization for a different role.

6. Leave with an open-ended sentiment

The reason for declining a job offer will differ drastically among individuals. For some, it may be the emergence of a better work opportunity, while others may have accepted the wrong job at the right company. Hence, ending things with ambiguity will keep the door open for the future.

Keeping in touch with the company is an excellent way of demonstrating your interest and ensuring healthy communication for the future. The organization may even keep you in mind for any future positions that come up. Perhaps these might fit your skillset better and shape your professional career further. Establishing a connection with the boss or an executive within the organization will keep you in their good books.

Clearly state your interest in the company and how you could see yourself working there in the future if a better opportunity presents itself. Keeping a good casual relationship with those you meet during the hiring process will only add to your professional experience, and you never know where those connections could end up benefiting you.

Final thoughts

It’s not every day you decline a job offer you initially accepted. Various reasons might be to blame - life often takes unexpected and unprecedented turns - but in the end, dealing with these sudden changes defines you as a person. Instead of leaving the organization in the lurch, channel your rejection as professionally as you can.

With the six steps explained above, you can communicate with the business in a fashion that’s both guilt-free and persuasive. The last thing you want is to feel culpable and regret not liaising with your employer earlier. For the sake of your credibility as a professional, always be considerate toward the organization that wanted to hire you.

Jessica Day

Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad

Jessica Day is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad, a modern business communications platform that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns.

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