How To Politely Decline After Accepting A Job Offer

Accepted a job offer that you regret? Or simply because a better offer came along after you said ‘yes’ to the first one. It’s nothing personal, it’s just business. However, ‘ghosting’ your potential employers is still not advisable.

It may be the easiest way out to avoid an awkward conversation but give your would-be (or not) employer the due respect of being honest and truthful about backing out of the job offer.

Although generally speaking, once a job offer has been taken – it is highly recommended that you stick to your word, but even with valid reasons it would behoove you to inform the hiring manager as soon as possible to allow them enough time to find a replacement candidate. When a candidate rejects a job offer that was previously accepted, the company has lost out on other potential candidates as they may have stopped looking.

Thus, when you inform the hiring manager by phone or in person, the best way to handle the situation is always with grace. This is only respectful, if you accepted the offer during a meeting. Avoid informing them by text or email as that can be perceived as rude and insincere, especially if you’ve already agreed to the job face-to-face. However, if the correspondence regarding the matter took place via email, it is acceptable to send an email detailing your declination.

It is not necessary to provide the exact reasons for rejecting the job, so keep your explanation brief. Keep it concise, polite and simple. Throw in a few words of contrition expressing your apologies at not being able to proceed with the job. Be tactful and inform them about your change of heart without offending them. Do not say anything bad about the company, just focus on what has changed for you such as a better offer to suit your skills or you feel you do not fit in with the culture. Always show appreciation for the offer as the hiring manager did put in the effort in interviewing and reviewing your profile to begin with.

To help you along, it would help to research email templates on the subject to help you let down your employers gently without bruising any egos.  Most of these email template have formal and polite language, feel free to edit them to suit your particular situation and to make the email more personalised. It would be bad if the text comes across too ‘template’ as it again, comes across as insincere.

Retracting your acceptance can be damaging to one’s reputation if handled badly, and various hiring managers do talk amongst one another, and you’ll never know who they would be showing your CV to. The last thing you’ll need is an offended party of the industry bad-mouthing your profile based on a bad impression following you for the rest of your career.

With that in mind, be fully aware of the consequences of declining a previous accepted offer. You may face a much harder time in getting a job in the same corporation after due to this first misstep. It may be a difficult situation, but if you are sure – this could be your first step into getting a better job for you.

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