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The art of graceful decline: How to professionally turn down a job offer

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​As a seasoned Australian recruitment agency, we understand the importance of making the right career move. Often, this involves evaluating multiple job offers and making tough decisions. However, what happens when you need to turn down a job offer? The thought of declining an offer may seem daunting, especially if you have already built a connection with the employer during the recruitment process. Here are our expert tips on how to professionally and gracefully decline a job offer, and some helpful phrasing you can employ for expressing your decision.

Respond promptly

Once you have made the decision to decline the offer, it is important to respond promptly. Don't keep the employer waiting, as they may need to consider other candidates. A quick response is always appreciated by the employer.

Express gratitude

It is crucial to show your appreciation for the offer and the time the employer took to consider your application. A simple "thank you" note or email will go a long way in maintaining a positive relationship.

For example:

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude for offering me the opportunity to join your team. I am honored to have been considered for the position, and I greatly appreciate the time and effort you and your team have invested in the hiring process.”

Be honest

This is often the hardest part of the decline. You don’t need to provide a detailed explanation for declining the offer, but being honest and respectful is important. Explain the reason why you decided to decline the offer. Here are a few examples of wording you can use for specific reasons:

1. Lower remuneration

“After careful consideration and review of the compensation package you have offered, I regret that I must decline the job offer at this time. While I appreciate the opportunity and am grateful for the time and effort you invested in interviewing me, the compensation package does not align with my expectations at this point in my career.”

2. Lack of opportunity for career growth

“After careful consideration, I have made the difficult decision to decline your offer. While I am excited about the prospect of working with your team, I am concerned about the growth opportunities that your company can offer me. I hold high aspirations for my career, and I seek an organization that will provide me with the necessary support, skills development, and advancement opportunities to achieve my professional goals.”

3. Poor interview experience

“Throughout the interview process, I felt that there were certain aspects that compromised its effectiveness. While the information I received about the position was comprehensive, I believe that the approach used to evaluate prospective candidates could be further refined to ensure it aligns better with the position’s requirements.”

Keep the door open

Even if you are declining the offer, you may want to keep the door open for future opportunities with the hiring manager or the company itself. Politely express your interest in staying in touch and ask to be considered for future opportunities that may arise. If you have been working directly with a recruiter, go the extra mile and find the hiring manager on LinkedIn and make a connection by sending a short “thank you” message.

Declining a job offer may seem intimidating, but with the right approach, it can be done gracefully and professionally. Remember, the connection with the employer does not need to end with the decline, so ensure that you maintain a positive relationship for the future. At our expert Australian recruitment agency, we believe that the right career move requires the right approach, even in declining an offer.

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