What If You Don’t Want that Big Job Offer? How to Tactfully Reject a Job Offer You No Longer Want

Thumbs down on a job offer
Image via iStock.

Usually, a job offer is a cause for celebration. But sometimes during the interviewing process, you learn something that sours you on the company. Or maybe you just got a better offer from somewhere else.

Regardless, if the company you lost interest in offers you the job, it’s not polite to just ignore them. That could potentially burn bridges with future contacts.

As awkward as it may be, The Wall Street Journal offers some help for tactfully rejecting the offer.

Keep Emotion Out of Your Response

While the decision to turn down this opportunity very likely have you feeling sad or confused or maybe even angry, you don’t want to bring that into your statement to the job manager.

A statement as simple as, “Upon further consideration, I now realize that I am not in a good space to take on this position due to some personal reasons. I do appreciate being offered this opportunity, and wanted to be transparent so as to value your time rather than take on something that is not a good fit.”

Try to Leave the Door Open

You don’t want your legacy in this manager’s mind to be that of the ungrateful person who left them high and dry at the last second.

Try and inform them of your change of heart as promptly as possible, and don’t say anything disparaging even if you don’t see yourself applying there again. You never know what the future holds and when you might encounter this person again.

Be Honest with Yourself

One of the worst things you can do is grit your teeth and try to make the best with this position you clearly don’t want. You’ll likely only quit later, and then leave the company even more frustrated with you.

Some people push themselves as hard as possible thinking they have to constantly be more ambitious. It’s okay to honestly admit that that’s not you, and you don’t want that life. Maybe you are content where you are. Just because you can go further doesn’t mean you need to. Be truthful with yourself.

A lot of big decisions go into whether or not you should take a job. Take stock of what’s best for you to compose the best answer to the offer.

Still feel uncomfortable thinking of how to say “no” when offered a job you don’t want? Read more ideas via the Wall Street Journal article here.


Career coach Jennifer Brick offers her advice on how to turn down a job offer gracefully.


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