How to reject a job offer - Guide

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How to reject a job offer

Amazingly, yes there are students out there that have to reject job offers. It’s a lot more common than you might think. If you have ever gone through an application marathon – sending out countless applications and running to interview after interview – it’s a full-time job in itself. You may find yourself thinking “if I ever get one of these job offers, I’ll just take it.”

It’s understandable because, let’s face it, job hunting comes with sooooo many unpleasantries. From discussing your greatest weaknesses with people you have only known for less than 45 minutes – to nights spent wide awake worrying after all your friends have been given job offers… Even the guy, who showed up to all lectures in his crocs.

How to reject a job offer

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In those situations having more than one job offer to choose from would seem like some sort of luxurious problem to have. Still, as hard as it is to imagine, the situation arises more often than you might think. Therefore you will be in a position in which you have to reject a job offer and you might need to know how.

How to reject a job offer

Here is the thing – especially in the beginning of your career, you do not want to burn any bridges with anyone! Even if you don’t want to work for a particular company now does not mean that you will never deal with them again in the future, especially if you decide to stay in the same industry.

If you have ever broken up with someone or been broken up with, then you understand that rejection is a delicate thing to deal with (and in the past something you could have dealt with better, am I right?), especially when rejecting a job offer. It is just as delicate, just as awkward and filled with just as many “it’s no you, it’s me” during your explanation.

How to reject a job offer

Even though no one has ever written a best selling romantic novel on employment love and rejection, doesn’t mean there is no reason you can’t reject a job offer in a decent and professional manner.

Be honest

“It’s not you, it’s me” is as cliche as it gets, when talking about a break up. But in a work situation it has the advantage that it is most likely very true. If you have found an employer who you feel supports your career goals and progression better than another employer – there is no shame in saying this, when rejecting a job offer.

Remember that companies are competing for the best talent. As a companies biggest asset is their staff. So, you don’t have to be apologetic when saying no. Giving them a short reason may actually be helpful for their human resources department.  

How to reject a job offer

Be friendly

Okay, you got a better job offer somewhere else – doesn’t mean you have to be rude (which is one way of putting it). First things first, if they really liked you as a candidate, they might offer you more incentives to join their organisation. Similarly, if things don’t work out with the other job, then you can always ask to take the one you like less – if it’s still available.

Also, while you can be honest about your motives for rejecting the job offer, you shouldn’t necessarily go into detail about everything you did and didn’t like. It’s not exactly professional. Just send a polite response thanking them for the job offer and politely refuse their offer.

How to reject a job offer


….. Time for the biggest rejection cliche of all time. That’s right, the very words that are quite simply soul crushing. “Let’s be friends.” Friendzoning a company is something you might not be used to. The beauty of it is that in an employment situation this is actually possible.

Rejecting a job offer can lead to you keeping good relations with the company. It’s important to friendzone a rejected job offer, as you don’t know when you might come into contact with the same organisation again in the future – as running into your ex is never fun… especially in a professional sense.

How to reject a job offer

Candidates rejecting job offers is something that happens more often than you think. At some point in your career, you will find yourself in a position rejecting a job offer… I know, right?

Rejecting a job offer says a lot about your personality if you manage to refuse a job gracefully and keep yours and everyone else’s pride in tact. By doing this, you might become a more attractive hire in the future.