“Sorry, I can’t accept your job offer” – said no job seeker ever… right? Actually, wrong! Rejecting job offers is actually common, and sometimes in your best interest.
Previously, I talked about why you might want to do that in the event you spot a bad boss in an interview.
You could also just be picky or have multiple offers to consider. Either way, it’s not a bad thing to get rejected or to reject a job offer. It signals there may be some incompatibility on either side.
There is a home for you out there – I am 100% convinced of that. Everyone questions this at times. But I promise, if you keep working at it, believe in yourself, and are patient, you’ll find it.
Here are some important practices for how you can professionally reject job offers.
You can reject a job offer over the phone. But I believe a formal approach (even after a phone rejection) makes you look really professional.
It goes without saying, professionalism should always be your top career goal. It transcends ambition and accomplishment, which can ring hollow without it.
Professionalism always comes back to you in the form of respect, admiration, and trust. And those lead to future opportunities because employers and others will want to help you succeed.
Formal rejections also ensure your decision is articulated more fully and clearly. Sometimes we forget something or maybe we sense the employer is not understanding us very well. This gives you a re-do.
All rejection letters should be customized to the situation. But I do have a free Job Rejection Letter Template you can download to get started.
Rejecting Job Offers Gently
This is also professionalism 101. Never give the impression they are dead to you or that they missed out (even if it’s true).
Take the high road and express disappointment that you couldn’t make it work. Express your well-wishes and consider leaving open the possibility it may work out in the future; even if you are dead-set against it right now.
Share with them Some Positives
Everyone likes positive feedback. Share with rejected employers things you admired or liked about them or their office. Don’t suggest improvements or things you perceived as negative, UNLESS they follow-up and ask for it.
When it comes to offering up why you are rejecting the offer, keep it circumstantial and factual. Again, if they press you further or ask for honest feedback then you can share more.
Here’s an example of circumstantial and factual:
“XYZ company offered me a greater compensation package.”
“XYZ company is located closer to home.”
Finally, try to offer up at least two to three circumstantial and factual reasons. This communicates that you have considered the decision carefully and are not all about money or all about location.
Offer to Help Them
Lots of offices won’t necessarily need your help in finding a different employee. Chances are one of two or three top candidates.
However, it’s good form to offer. If you know of others that would be a great fit, offer that up. Even if you are unsure they are interested or looking, you can offer to check with them.
Never Bad Mouth
Later on, as you describe your interview experience with that office, keep it positive.
Maybe they will clean up their act. Maybe those you confide with will share your distaste with them. Maybe the interviewer will move to a different office that you eventually seek a job with and will learn of something you shared publicly or privately.
Once negativity leaves your mouth it can march off in lots of uncontrollable directions. And you can’t call the words back.
Remember, these are career moves and some communities and industries are very tight-knit. You can’t afford any unnecessary risk that damages your reputation.
The only exception might be to log a formal complaint to a formal licensing board about illegal or unethical practices.
Doug Perry is an expert resume writer and job search coach. He and his wife, Tracie, who is a dental hygienist, created GetHiredRDH in response to the challenging dental hygiene job market and have helped thousands of dental hygienists through tips and individual services. If you need individual, click here to contact Doug.