How to Politely Turn Down a Job Offer I Already Accepted

by Jill Leviticus

    Turning down a job offer after you’ve accepted a new position can be an uncomfortable experience. If you’re absolutely sure that the new job isn’t the right fit for you, it’s important to end your association with the company as soon as possible. While the conversation might be difficult, it’s only fair to let the employer know why you’ve changed your mind.

    Call the employer and let him know that you need to discuss the job offer. Don’t send a text message or email. Similarly, don’t call early in the morning or late at night in the hopes that you can leave a message announcing your decision. The employer is more likely to regard you positively if you are willing to discuss the situation with him. The more you procrastinate in making the call, the more time you waste in resolving the situation. It’s best to make the call as soon as you decide that the new job isn’t right for you.

    Thank the employer for extending the offer to you. Mention that you appreciate the opportunity to join the company and the time that the employer has devoted to interviewing you. Explain that although the job seemed to be a good fit for you at first, you know realize that you must decline the offer. The Harvard Business Review website recommends that you don’t give the impression that the job was beneath you or that you didn’t spend considerable time making your decision. Explain that the decision was difficult, but that you feel it is best for both you and the company.

    Tact is an important consideration when explaining why you chose to turn down the offer after initially accepting it. It is much more courteous to explain that you wouldn’t fit in with the corporate culture than to mention that you thought your future co-workers were obnoxious blowhards. If you had doubts about your ability to perform the job satisfactorily, explain that your skills are not at the level that the company requires. Other possible reasons to turn down a job might include family obligations, low salary, a long commute or lack of advancement potential.

    Let the employer know that you regret the situation, but feel that the company will benefit by hiring someone else to fill the position. If the employer or company impressed you in some way, mention the things that you like about the company. Let him know that even though this position isn’t right for you, you would be glad to discuss any future openings that might be more in line with your skills, experience and career path. Wish the employer well in continuing the search for his new employee.

    About the Author

    Jill Leviticus has been a writer for 20 years. She writes business, health and travel articles for several online publications and worked as a writer for a hospital and a nonprofit research foundation. Leviticus has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Lock Haven University and works as a public relations writer.

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