No More Ghosting: How to Decline a Job Offer in a Professional Way

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Getting a job offer can make you feel good about your future. But, what happens when you get an offer for a job you just know isn’t going to be a good fit for you? It can be hard to say no to a job, especially if times are tight or you need the income. Declining a job offer is necessary sometimes. The best way to do it is in a professional way that won’t cause you the potential for future trouble. Here’s how you can decline a job offer professionally, so saying no doesn’t put you at risk for problems down the road.

Never Ghost, and Always Send a Response

It can be tempting to just ghost the company, especially if the interview went poorly or you really didn’t like the company. After all, they’ll get the hint, right? The company that offered you the job might understand that you don’t want to work for them…but ghosting isn’t a good way to decline a job offer. Word gets around, especially in a smaller town or a competitive field. If you get a reputation for being difficult or unprofessional, that could follow you to other interviews.

Be Sure to Thank Them for the Opportunity

Saying thank you is always a good choice. Even if the company wasn’t that great, or the opportunity absolutely wasn’t for you, being polite never goes out of style. If you don’t have much that’s good to say, then thank them for helping you learn about the company. You can also thank them for their time or information. There are plenty of ways to say thank you and leave a good impression on a company.

Choose What to Share About Why You’re Declining a Job Offer

Anytime you decline a job offer, you’re not obligated to tell the company why you’re choosing not to work for them. But there’s also no reason why you shouldn’t, if you want to. Some of the most common reasons are that a better offer came along or the company or the job itself simply isn’t a good fit for you. That can provide closure for the hiring manager or interviewer. It can also leave the door open to working with that company in the future. Maybe they’ll make you a better offer. Or, they might contact you if a different job opens up later and they think you’d be a good candidate.

Don’t be afraid to decline a job offer if you know it’s not going to be a good fit for you. After all, it’s better to say no thank you to the offer than to work a few weeks or months and then quit or end up being let go. Those kinds of issues can be harder on your career path and future. They can also be rough on your confidence and mental health. Think carefully about any job you’re offered and the company making the offer, so you can decide if taking that job is really right for you.


About the Author: Michelle Dakota Beck has worked as a professional freelance writer since the 1990s. During that time she has written everything from product descriptions to full-length books. Her areas of specialization include real estate, home services, legal topics, relationships, family life, and mental health issues. You can find her on WriterAccess.

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