How to gracefully decline an offer

At some point in your career, you may find yourself in the happy situation of having to turn down offers. Perhaps you decided to stick it out at your current workplace. Or you’ve decided to accept another offer.

Whatever the reason, here’s how to reject an offer like an adult.


A phone call or an email or text is perfectly fine, so pick the medium that you’re most comfortable communicating in. What matters more is when and how you do it.

As soon as you’ve made up your mind, reach out immediately and let them know. That’s the kindest thing you can do for a company given it might mean exploring other candidates in the pipeline or starting a search from scratch.

First, you want to thank them for their time and effort in assessing you and sharing more about their world with you. Next, be specific and honest about why you’re rejecting the offer. That information and feedback is a gift if a company takes it the right way. It’s market intel, it’s valuable insight around what an employer could do differently the next time around.

If you’d like to be even more generous, give them useful feedback on your interview process: what was great and worth keeping up? What should they stop doing? And what can they consider doing instead or trying?

Finally, offer to make introductions to other candidates in your network that might be a solid fit. You’ve gone through an interview process with the company, no outsider actually knows better than you do today about what they’re looking for. So scour your contacts list or LinkedIn network for names that you could pass along to your recruiter.


And that’s how you respectfully turn down an offer from anyone. The key here is to never ghost your recruiter or a prospective boss especially if you’re not taking the offer. Anyone in this company could very well go on to work somewhere else - making a great impression and not burning any bridges can go a long way.


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