Job Searching

A Quick Guide to Declining a Job Offer

Sarah O’Mahoney

Marketing Specialist & Freelance Writer

Being offered a job is usually a huge relief and a really happy moment, especially when you have worked so hard on the recruitment process to get to a point where the company wants to hire you. When it gets to the stage where you have received communication that you have been offered the job, the ball is in your court.

Although wanting to accept a new job may be the goal, sometimes job applicants will face a time when they have to consider how to decline a job offer. A job needs to fit the candidate perfectly and there are a lot of factors to consider such as the job’s responsibilities, the company values, the culture, the salary and more. If one of these factors don’t fit, it may be time to consider how to decline a job offer. 

This blog is going to take a deeper look at some of the reasons why someone may consider declining a job offer, and how to decline a job offer respectfully and gracefully. 

Why Would Someone Decline a Job Offer?

Taking a closer look at why someone may decline a job offer can be beneficial for job candidates. It may encourage you to take a second to think about whether or not a job you have been offered is the best fit for you (of course, we hope that it is!) 

How to Decline a Job Offer- See the Warnings
Don’t ignore the “red flags”.

1. Something felt “off” During the Interview

Interviews are a great opportunity to get a sense of the job you are applying for, as well as the company. Most job candidates get so caught up in trying to answer every question during an interview as well as they can, they forget to take the opportunity to suss the company out. 

If you noticed a red flag during your interview, this may be an indicator of what’s to come during your time working with the company. Some red flags during an interview may include:

  • Your interviews being rude or argumentative 
  • Not being made feel welcome
  • Showing signs of inappropriate behaviour 

The list goes on, but if you have experienced a red flag during your interview, it may be worth considering how to turn down a job offer. 

2. The Salary Doesn’t Match Your Value

Often companies will advertise jobs, interview candidates and even offer someone a job before disclosing the salary of the job. If you eventually find out the salary that the company is offering and it is less than you had anticipated, then this might motivate you to decline a job offer. The financial aspect of a job is super important to most job applicants, no matter how great a job may seem, at the end of the day, being able to pay bills and afford to live is a top priority for all. 

3. The Job Doesn’t Feel Right For You

Most often than not, our gut feelings are correct, and if you have a feeling that a job isn’t right for you… then it probably isn’t. You need to consider that taking on a job should feel good. If you feel that the job doesn’t match your passions or skill set, you may be thinking about how to turn down a job offer, and that is completely valid. Starting a new job should be exciting, if you don’t feel delighted to have been offered a job, take some time to rethink your next steps. 

How to Decline a Job Offer Respectfully

1. Be Polite

For whatever reason you have for declining a job offer, it is important to remember to be polite when letting the company know. Showing respect for the fact that the hiring team took time to process your application is essential. If you come across as inconsiderate, or even rude, when you are declining a job offer, you can probably say goodbye to having another opportunity to work there. 

How to Decline a Job Offer- See the Warnings

It is possible that you are declining a job offer because the job isn’t a great fit for you. That’s not to say the company won’t have a better suited job for you in the future. Don’t burn any bridges and be as graceful as possible. 

2. Be Honest… but Not Too Honest

When it comes to considering how to decline a job offer, it may be a good idea to give a little bit of information as to why you won’t be taking the job. For example, if you are not accepting the job because it turns out you have no interest in this particular area, you could indicate that the job doesn’t fit your long-term career goals. This way, you are being honest to the employer, just without being too honest.

Another example of why you might be declining a job offer may include not getting paid enough. Financials can be a difficult topic to bring up at first. It may not come across great if you tell the employer that you were shocked by the low salary, for example. Instead, you could briefly explain that the salary doesn’t meet your current financial requirements. Again, this is being honest while still being professional. 


When you are trying to think through how to decline a job offer, it shouldn’t be made into a big deal. If you have decided that a particular job offer isn’t for you, that’s just life sometimes. Being polite, honest and professional when turning down a job offer are three of the most important aspects. If you have recently declined a job offer, try not to see this as a setback… this means you are one step closer to finding the perfect job for you! 

Happy Job Searching!

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