What To Do After An Interview

How to Turn Down a Job Offer

You’ve prepared yourself for the challenge of a long job search, multiple interviews and even rejection, but now comes the unexpected part: turning down a job. Whether this comes up during your search for a paid or unpaid internship or an entry-level job, it’s certainly not a bad problem to have. It can, however, be difficult to navigate.

Whether this job was a near second choice or one you would have never actually considered, here are some best practices to follow when turning down a job offer.

Be prompt and appreciative.

Interviews can often be time-intensive for you and especially for the hiring manager. It’s likely that he or she spent hours looking over LinkedIn profiles and resumes as well as doing phone screens and follow-ups. It’s possible that the hiring manager even advocated on your behalf. Because of this, you want to decline promptly in a way that is appreciative of the time and energy that went into your hiring process. Your “thank you note” should be genuine and specific.

Say something like: “Thank you so much for offering me the Partnerships position. I really appreciate the time you took to share information about the company’s goals and to answer all of my questions. It’s clear how passionate the entire team is, and I very much enjoyed getting to learn about how everyone works together.”

Be honest and concise.

Another way to communicate respect is to share an honest and concise reason explaining why you’re declining the job. Hiring managers are people too, and they probably would like to know why you decided to go in another direction. No need to go into detail or to indulge in all of the pros and cons of your decision-making. Keeping it short and sweet is your best bet.

Say something like:

  • “After careful consideration over the past few days, I’ve decided to stay with my current company. “
  • “After careful consideration, I’ve decided to accept another position at a different company.”
  • “While this job is an exciting opportunity, I’ve ultimately decided to accept another position in a role that better aligns with my interests and long-term professional goals.”
  • “After careful consideration, I’ve realized that my current class schedule does not allow me enough time to handle the demands of the role.”

Consider the future.

You want to do everything you can to avoid burning bridges. Who knows what the future may hold? You may cross paths with this company or hiring manager again, so communicating a desire to stay in touch is a small gesture that can go a long way.

Say something like:

  • “It’s been a true pleasure getting to know more about the company over these past few weeks, and I hope our paths cross again in the future.”
  • “I hope to see you at the upcoming PR conference this spring.”
  • “Wishing you and your team the very best on your upcoming projects, and I hope to stay in touch.”

With these tips, you should feel confident in your ability to decline a job offer graciously and to keep your networks intact. Turning down a job offer may be tough, but remember that this is a necessary step in the pursuit of a great and rewarding career.


Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get a Mentor at Work and find answers to common interview questions such as What is Supply Chain Management?.