No matter what the reason may be, at some point you may have to decline a job offer or remove yourself as a candidate for a position. After going through the application and interview process, you have devoted a lot of time towards the recruiting process for each position and so has the company. Through the job search process, you likely explored a number of opportunities or perhaps have determined through the recruiting process that this particular role is not the right fit for you and now you have to explain that to the company. Undoubtedly, it is an awkward situation, but with these tips you can gracefully decline the offer.
LET THEM KNOW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Once you have decided that you want to decline, let them know. Don’t ignore the offer or keep putting it off. Be aware of the deadline on the offer and be sure to let them know before then.
SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION
Thank the employer for their time and consideration. The company invested a lot of time and resources into filling this position, and they picked you out of all the other candidates, so show them your gratitude.
GET ON THE PHONE!
Younger generations often turn to an impersonal e-mail or text message, which may be easier in awkward or uncomfortable situations. By picking up the phone, it not only shows professionalism but also that you are not afraid to speak to them about the situation.
TELL THEM WHAT YOU LIKED ABOUT THE COMPANY
You would not have gone through hiring process if you did not like something about the company. Take time to mention what you liked about the company and the positives about the interview or hiring process. This will show the company that you were not leading them on and that their time was not wasted.
You need to tell them why you are declining the job offer and it is important to be honest. If you are declining the offer due to a negative impression gained during the interview/hiring process, provide them with a simple explanation and be careful not to bad mouth the company or anyone in the process.
Remember you want to be honest, but you do not want to be brutally honest or overly critical.
KEEP THE DOOR OPEN
Maybe you will want to work for this company in the future or maybe the hiring manager will end up working for a different company you would like to work for one day. Let him/her know that you would like to stay in touch, that you hope to work together in the future, or that you would be interested if a position came open that might be a better fit for you.
Do you know someone who might be a good fit for the position? Let the company know and provide them with that person’s contact information. Be sure that the person you are recommending is open to the recommendation and you sharing their contact information before doing so.
It is said that declining a job offer or bowing out of the recruitment process can be a vexing situation. To be fair to the employer it is important to be upfront and timely. With these steps and proper planning you can ease some of the tension and remove yourself gracefully and professionally.
This article first appeared in the October 14, 2014 edition of the AGCareers.com University Newsletter.