How to decline a job offer after an interview

Written by cynthia measom
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Declining a job offer requires that you follow certain etiquette. Show tact and part ways with the interviewer on a positive note. The moment you decide that a position you have previously interviewed for is not for you, inform the interviewer of your decision in writing. While it may be tempting to pick up the phone, sending a refusal letter -- via postal mail or e-mail -- is more professional.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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    Begin the letter or e-mail with positive remarks about the interview, the position or the company in general. For instance, write "Thank you for offering me the position of lead fashion buyer. The position appears to offer opportunities to learn more about fashion buying, as well as provide valuable hands-on experience in the field."

  2. 2

    Write your reason for declining the job offer. Be honest but tactful. For instance, write "While I appreciate being offered this tempting opportunity, I am accepting a position that will allow me to more effectively use my artistic skills."

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    Close the letter or e-mail with a positive comment such as "Again, thank you for this opportunity. I sincerely appreciate the offer." Even though this opportunity isn't right for you, there may be a time in the future that you are interested in a position the employer has to offer.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are offered a job directly after interviewing, say that you would like some time to consider the offer to avoid delivering a blunt refusal.
  • Send your refusal letter in the same method as the job offer was delivered to you. For example, if the interviewer sends you an e-mail, send an e-mail response declining the position. If the interviewer sends you a letter through postal mail, reply in the same manner. If the interviewer calls you to offer you the position, politely decline on the phone if you are prepared for that and then follow up with a written letter or e-mail.
  • Don't delay in informing the employer of your decision. The employer may have another candidate in mind.
  • If the interviewer asks you to call him to inform him of your decision, do so. Follow up with a letter thanking him for the opportunity.

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