If you’ve been offered more than one job or it's a role that’s not quite the right fit, you might be wondering how to go about declining a job offer - formally and professionally. First and foremost, it’s important that you update the hiring manager or recruiter as soon as you've made up your mind. Dragging out the process or informing them of your decision at the last minute will not do you any favours when it comes to maintaining a good relationship there.

The second key rule to follow is to always be polite and thank the hiring manager for the offer, regardless of the reason you’re turning it down.

However, the way you approach rejecting a job offer should also be dependent on the reason you’re saying ‘no, thanks’.

We’ve outlined some of the most common scenarios for writing an email to turn down a job, and how to tackle each situation.

Sample letters for declining a job offer

When you have accepted another offer

Declining a job offer because you have been offered another (better) job is generally an enviable position to be in, but it’s still important to stay on good terms with the employer. Keep your job offer rejection email or letter clear and concise:

Contact Name
Street Address
City, State, Postcode

Date

Dear [Name],

I’d like to thank you very much for offering me the position of [Job Title] with [Company]. After much consideration, I have decided to accept a position with another company.

I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to interview me and for offering me this role. I wish you all the best in finding someone suitable for the position.

Thank you again for your consideration.

Kind regards,

[Your Name]

When the salary doesn’t meet your expectations

In most cases, there are plenty of opportunities to negotiate a salary before needing to decline a job offer entirely. However, if you’ve done your part to reach a salary agreement and the company in question can’t match your expectations, you may wish to politely explain this when you decline the offer:

Contact Name
Street Address
City, State, Postcode

Date

Dear [Name],

Many thanks for your phone call yesterday and the offer of the role of [Job Title] at [Company].

I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to discuss salary expectations with me. Unfortunately, I will have to decline this role as the salary does not meet the financial requirements of my current living expenses.

Thank you again for your consideration, and I wish you all the best in finding someone suitable for the position.

Kind regards,

[Your Name]

When the job isn’t the right fit

It’s not uncommon to go through the interview process only to realise that the role you’ve been interviewing for is different to what you had anticipated or doesn’t align with your career goals. If that’s the case, keep your job offer rejection message cordial but direct:

Contact Name
Street Address
City, State, Postcode

Date

Dear [Name],

Thank you very much for offering me the opportunity to work at [Company] as [Job Title].

After much deliberation, I will not be accepting the position, as it isn’t the right fit for my long-term career goals.

I sincerely appreciate the offer and give you my best wishes in finding a suitable candidate for the position. I wish you and the company well in all future endeavours.

Kind regards,

Your Name

When the company isn’t the right fit

If it’s company culture, your prospective manager or anything else about the business that’s unappealing to you, avoid negative language and instead explain simply that the job isn’t the right fit for you:

Contact Name
Street Address
City, State, Postcode

Date

Dear [Name],

Thank you very much for offering me the position of [Job Title] at [Company]. Unfortunately, I have decided not to accept the position, as it isn’t the right fit for me at this time.

I truly appreciate the offer and your consideration. Thank you again for your time and I wish you all the best in finding someone suitable for the position.

Kind regards,

[Your Name]

If you’re looking for a new job, contact a Michael Page specialist recruiter today.

Join over 60,000 readers!
Receive free advice to help give you a competitive edge in your career.