If you find yourself in the – let’s face it – enviable position of choosing to turn down a job offer, there is a right and a wrong way to do so.
The wrong way (oh, let us just count the ways):
- Accept it and then just don’t show up when expected. You don’t call, you don’t write and you hope they don’t notice…
- Accept the offer and then change your mind – and let the employer know mere days or even hours before you were to start
- Accept the offer, go to your current employer to see if he’ll match your new salary and, if he does, then write a nasty e-mail or letter to the hiring manager saying your current employer not only matched your new starting salary but raised it, so there!
- Tell the hiring manager you’ll think about the new offer and then never get back to him.
- Laugh in the hiring manager’s face when she tells you the salary she can give you and say you have to decline because it’s such a “poor offer!”
There are legitimate reasons to decline a job offer, even after you’ve accepted it. Some of the reasons?
- The pay isn’t what you expected and the company isn’t willing to negotiate.
- You decide the commute is too long.
- Your current employer hears of your leaving and matches or exceeds your new salary (be very careful about deciding to stay, though, since your current employer now knows you want to leave and could let you go at the first opportunity).
- Your gut tells you it’s the wrong move.
- You discover that the duties aren’t what you’d expected.
The right way to decline an offer:
- Tell the hiring manager as soon as you make the decision to decline the offer.
- Do so with a phone call (followed by a professional and courteous e-mail or letter).
- You should try very hard to make the decision to decline the offer within just one or two days after the offer has been made. If you change your mind just days or hours before you’re scheduled to start your new job, you should let the hiring manager know ASAP.
You don’t necessarily have to explain the real reason why you’re turning the job down. You could just say that you’ve thought about it and feel it’s not the right fit for you at this time. Be sure to add that you’re honored that the hiring manager offered you the position and that you wish the hiring manager and his or her company the best of luck.
But never, under any circumstances, should you “just disappear” and not let the hiring manager know you’ve declined the offer. Doing so shows the utmost in immaturity and lack of professionalism… and can ruin your reputation for years to come.