How To Turn Down a Job Offer Gracefully

You filled out the job application. You got the call for an interview. You met with representatives and made a great impression. You get the call for a job offer, but the position isn't what you expected. How do you turn down a job offer?

It's not easy realizing that the position you were once praying for doesn't pan out the way you imagined. There are several reasons to why you now have a change in heart. I've been in this boat, and it's a weird feeling initially. I mean, I wanted a new job right? But somehow, going into the interview and learning more about the company showed me that I wouldn't be gaining much or it wouldn't be a good fit.

So what's making me not want to accept the offer? Here's what you should consider before turning down a job offer:

  • Am I going to be compensated just as much or less? 
  • Is this a lateral move, a step up, or step down? 
  • Will I be losing anything by taking this offer? 
  • Is this going to be a good fit? 
  • Is this job better than what I currently have? 
For me, I wanted a step up in my career. I wanted a job that paid more, and I wanted a job that had work-life balance. I needed something that would be worth giving up my own office and flexible hours.

I once went to an interview that didn't offer a step up from this. Even though the role was more challenging, I'd be signing up for a job in a cramped work space with no windows. That doesn't sound like a step up from having my own office does it? I received the phone call that they wanted to make an offer and immediately knew I wanted to decline.

So here's how to turn down that job offer:

Thank Them For The Opportunity
Always show that you truly appreciate the time invested in meeting. You want to show the employer that you're grateful for the opportunity. You never know if you may want to be considered for future openings. So, be polite.

"Thank you so much for meeting with me. It truly was a pleasure speaking with you."

Keep It Short
There isn't an easy way of telling someone no thanks. Keep the reason for why you've chosen to decline short. No need in providing greater details than needed. I like to keep it vague to prevent having a further dialogue. They'll get the gist.

"I truly appreciate the opportunity. However, after careful consideration, I will have to decline this offer. I've decided that now is not the best time to leave my current position."

End Positively

Letting the employer know that there's no hard feelings could potentially keep you on their radar if another position becomes available. If possible, offer a referral or wish them well as they continue to seek a candidate.

"I wish you well with your candidate search and that they'll be a great addition to the team."


  1. Valuable information. Sometimes we forget that we don't have to accept an offer, I know I always do. Turning down an offer is a great sign of knowing your worth.

    1. Absolutely! I think we feel because we are looking for a job that we shouldn't turn it down, but it saves everyone time in the end if you know what you're looking for.