One of the most exciting things in your professional life is receiving an offer for a new job opportunity and accepting it.
However, sometimes you might second guess your decision, and decide the job is not the right fit for you.
If that happens, you need to know there is a professional way for you to decline the job offer you already accepted.
In this article, we are going to help you with that, looking into the following questions:
- What are the most common reasons for declining a job offer you already accepted?
- How to professionally decline a job offer you already accepted?
And we are going to leave you off with a great template and an example to prepare you to professionally decline the job offer you already accepted.
So, if you are ready, let’s dive in.
Common reasons for declining a job offer you already accepted
No matter how well you plan your file, it sometimes happens for things to be out of your control. Let’s take a look at the 4 most common reasons for declining a job offer you already accepted.
One of the most common reasons for declining a job offer, even if it is your dream job, is something unexpected in your personal life.
The possible reasons here are countless, but here are a few examples:
- Family emergency
- Sudden health decline
- Relocation to a different city
No matter the personal reason, the employer would most likely understand that you turned the job down out of necessity.
In today’s job market, it is possible for the process to move along faster than you can digest it.
In that case, you might receive a job offer just a few days after your interview, and before you had the chance to really think about it.
And noone would blame you if you just accept it in the thrill of the moment.
However, when you give it a thought over the next few days, you might find that:
- The position is not as great as it seemed when you accepted it
- The work environment does not suit your preferences
- The work shifts are not what you feel comfortable with
- You would prefer a flexible working time, but the company does not offer one
- The job would require you to relocate to a different city, but you are not ready to do so
- The company would disturb your work-life balance
When considering these separately, they don’t seem like deal-breakers, but as long as they start piling up, you know it is time to professionally decline the job offer.
Even if you are perfectly satisfied with the job offer and all your future responsibilities in your role, there is still one potential deal-breaker – if the company can’t or is unwilling to provide you with a competitive salary.
They might try to compensate with a great benefit package, but noone would blame you if you start doubting whether you should decline the job offer, even after initially accepting it.
After all, no matter how much the job fits you, you can’t be expected to work with unsatisfactory compensation.
Receiving a better offer from another employer
If you are actively looking for a new job, you might find yourself in one tough situation – you have received and accepted a job offer, but then a better one comes along from another company you interviewed for.
However, no matter how awkward it might be to decline the first offer for a better one, it is an absolutely valid move on your side.
How to professionally decline a job offer you already accepted?
No matter how hard it might seem to decline a job offer you already accepted, there is a way to do it professionally, and to do so, you need to follow just a few quick steps.
Think it through before you act
Before declining the job offer you already accepted, you need to be a 100% certain that you can’t or don’t want to take the job.
Once you decline the offer, there is no going back, and the offer is gone forever.
Declining the job offer you already accepted can also negatively impact your chances of being considered for future positions in the company.
That’s why you need to carefully consider all the pros and cons of the situation, and only after that take the final decision and act on it.
Carefully read your contact
If you have signed any document regarding the job offer and your acceptance of it, you need to take a minute and carefully go through the documents.
Some contracts state that you only have a specific window of time during which you can reject the job offer you have accepted.
You need to consider this, and just to be safe – check with a lawyer to make sure you will not suffer any legal consequences of rejecting the job.
However, if you have not signed any legal document, and have just received a verbal offer, you are in the clear.
Do it quick
Even though you should carefully consider the position and read any documents you have signed, you also need to act quickly.
The sooner you notify your employer that you are declining the job offer, the better chances there are that they will respect your decision.
Furthermore, they will likely need to find a replacement for the position you had an offer for, so they will really appreciate you notifying them early.
Be honest and concise
In this case, it is really important for you to make your reasoning for declining the job offer short and honest.
Don’t go into too much detail, but make sure you provide them with the actual reason for your decision.
However, you need to remember that you should never say anything negative about their company.
Express your gratitude
Last but not least, make sure you express your gratitude for being offered the position in the employer’s company.
Make sure you outline everything you liked about their company, and overall keep a positive tone.
You would want to leave things off on good terms, as you never know if you might want to work with them in the future.
Template for professionally declining a job offer you already accepted
And now, as promised, let’s check out a template for professionally declining a job offer you already accepted.
Dear, [Name of hiring manager],
Thank you so much for offering me the position of [job title] in [Name of company]. I am very grateful for the time you spent considering me and for offering me to work with you. I would like to share that I am impressed with [Name of company] and can see why it has been so successful.
Unfortunately, after careful consideration, I have taken the decision to decline your offer, and therefore will be unable to join you at [Name of company]. [Provide a brief and honest description of the reasons you are declining the job offer].
Thank you for the opportunity, and wish you and [Name of company] continued success.
Kind regards, [Your name]
Example for professionally declining a job offer you already accepted
Dear Ms. Doe,
Thank you so much for offering me the position of Marketing specialist in Company Ltd. I am very grateful for the time you spent considering me and for offering me to work with you. I would like to share that I am impressed with Company Ltd and can see why it has been so successful.
Unfortunately, after careful consideration, I have taken the decision to decline your offer, and therefore will be unable to join you at Company Ltd. As it turns out, my fiancé is being promoted to assistant regional manager in Chicago, and I plan on relocating there with her in the next few days.
Thank you for the opportunity, and wish you and Company Ltd continued success.
Kind regards, John Doe
And now, let’s see the template in action with one great example.
We are all done, now you know how to professionally decline a job offer after you already accepted.
Let’s go through all the important steps you need to take one more time:
- Think it through before you act – make sure you are certain in your decision, as you can’t change it back
- Carefully read your contract – if you have signed any documents, go through them carefully, or consult a lawyer to make sure that you will not suffer any legal consequences of rejecting the job
- Do it quick – contact the employer as soon as you have reached your final decision, they will appreciate you contacting them as soon as possible, as they would most likely have to find a replacement for you
- Be honest and concise – make sure you provide a brief and honest reasoning for your decision
- Express your gratitude – show the employer that you are grateful for the offer, and outline all the things you like about their company
Check out our template and example for professionally declining a job offer you already accepted, and prepare your own whenever you need it.
Make one that's truly you.