It is an awkward situation when you turn down a job that you interviewed for – you were literally just telling the hiring manager how much you wanted to be hired. Unless you’re in the habit of wasting your own time, you probably didn’t apply with the intention of giving a “thanks but no thanks,” but circumstances change and perfectly acceptable reasons pop up. Learn how to perfect the art of turning down a job offer in a professional manner,

  • Show Some Respect

As soon as you are certain you don’t want the job, let the hiring manager know. It may seem rude to not seem like you took sufficient time to contemplate it, but by holding out longer than necessary, you could cost them the chance to get their next choice. Approach the topic with as much appreciation as possible. The hiring manager invested time in you and obviously wanted you, so acknowledge that by opening the conversation by thanking them for their offer, but that you won’t be accepting it.

  • Provide an Explanation

How much detail you go into will depend on a few factors, such as: How extensive the interviewing process was, how difficult the decision was for you to make, and whether you want to maintain a chance for future opportunities. Either way, it’s the professional thing to do to let the hiring manager know why. A concise and honest explanation will work, such as “After thinking it over, it doesn’t seem to be the best fit” or “I have opted to accept another position.”

  • Think of Something Nice to Say

Cushion the blow by including something positive about the opportunity or the interview itself. That could be something like complimenting the hiring manager or saying how disappointed you are that won’t be working at such a great company. Don’t be phony, but if have any actual nice things to say about the process, it can keep the interaction from being too awkward or negative.

  • Keep the Door Open for the Future

Make it a rule to never burn bridges or permanently eliminate the opportunity to work for the hiring manager or company – no matter how terrible the offer. If you truly would never want to do business in the future, simply wish them the best of luck going forward – this is professional without giving false hope. However, if you want to maintain a networking relationship, this is the perfect chance to let the hiring manager know to keep your contact information and that you’d love to touch base periodically.


Once you find a position and get a job offer you’re excited about, you’ll forget all about the awkwardness of turning down a previous offer elsewhere. Get started finding your next job with the help of experienced Chicagoland staffing agency Mark/Ryan Associates, Ltd. We carefully match candidates to positions from area employers that align with their backgrounds and career goals. Get started with your job search by contacting us today.
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